Marine collagen big in Japan now going west

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Chinese supplier Fenchem said its new collagen peptide extracted from fish scales, an ingredient used in the joint health food and drinks market in Japan, is aimed at food and supplement manufacturers in the US and Europe.

Company spokesperson Junny Liu told that the collagen supplement is available in tablet, capsule and oral liquid form and has wide applications for use in supplements, functional foods and cosmetics, in particular for joint and skin health.

Food and drink usage

Collagen is widely used in skin health products or in multifunctional lines for both skin and joint health on the Japanese market, claims a report from Leatherhead Food Research.

“It is now also featuring in some bone health products, where calcium, vitamin D and other bone health ingredients are joined by glucosamine to add joint/cartilage health benefits to the existing bone benefits,” ​said the analysts in the report The Market for Anti-Ageing Foods​.

In the West, they added, more companies emphasise antioxidant content for skin beautifying benefits.

Pollution free

Liu maintains that compared to collagen from cattle or pigs, fish collagen is considered as safe.

She said that the peptide, as it is extracted from fresh deepwater cod skin or scale, is derived from sources that are pollution and disease free.

“The cod skin and scales are the byproduct of food, and, as such, we believe our collagen is an environmentally friendly product,”​ added Liu.

Supporting evidence

Liu said that Fenchem has not conducted any clinical trials to support the marine collagen’s health claims but she maintains these are backed by clinical trials undertaken by other collagen suppliers, particularly those based in Japan.

However, she did not provide further details on these.

According to Leatherhead analysts, awareness of benefits of collagen in Asia means that claims do not need to be used on products.


As a structural protein, collagen has great tensile strength, and is the main component of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bones and teeth. In addition to retaining the firmness of skin, it is also responsible for strengthening blood vessels as well as connective tissues.

According to the company, its fish collagen peptide product has a molecular weight of around 3,000 Dalton, which aids its absorption in the small intestine.

Smaller molecule size can lead to a more efficient collagen synthesis in different parts of the body such as joint tissue, bone, blood vessels, and skin dermis.

Liu said that the protease technology used to degrade the protein into a peptide avoids the destruction of the space structure of the collagen peptide as well as the loss of the effective components resulting from using traditional acid and alkali techniques.

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