Hydrolyzed fish cartilage may boost skin from within, says RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images
© Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

Related tags skin health Collagen beauty from within

Daily supplementation with hydrolyzed fish cartilage may reduce wrinkles and improve collagen morphology in the skin, says a new study from scientists in France and Brazil.

Ninety days of supplementation with 500 mg per day of the Cartidyss NG​-branded hydrolyzed fish cartilage, produced by French company Abyss Ingredients, led to improvements in “skin microrelief, dermis echogenicity, and collagen structure as well as a significant reduction in wrinkles, effects that were perceived by the study participants”,​ according to a paper published in Molecules​.

“In the clinical evaluation, the participants also perceived a reduction in wrinkles and an improvement in skin texture as well as a moisturizing effect and an improvement in skin firmness and appearance,”​ added the researchers, led by Dr Patrícia Maria Berardo Gonçalves Maia Campos from the University of São Paulo.


The research adds to the growing body of science supporting potential beauty-from-within ingredients for skin health and physical appearance. The beauty supplement market is dominated by formulations based on collagen.

The researchers noted that collagen in broken down by enzymes called peptidases and the resulting collagen peptides are absorbed in the intestine. However, there are many different types of collagen, and bioavailability is impacted by the type, source, and molecular weight of the collagen.

“… marine sources generally have a low molecular weight, which could improve absorption,” ​said the researchers. “Thus, the benefits of oral supplementation with hydrolyzed fish cartilage could be associated with its bioavailability when compared to other collagen sources.”

Study details

To test the potential skin health benefits of the hydrolyzed fish cartilage, the researchers recruited 46 health women aged between 45 and 59 to participate in their double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study. The women were randomly divided two groups: One groups received a placebo and the second group received the hydrolyzed fish cartilage supplements.

After three months of intervention, the researchers found that the fish cartilage supplements were associated with improvements in the skin with respect to the number and width of wrinkles. However, the researchers note that these improvements did not reach statistical significance, “probably due to interindividual variation”​.

Statistically significant improvements in wrinkles were observed around the eyes (periorbital) and the nose/ mouth (nasolabial) when high-resolution imaging analysis was used. A reduction in wrinkles was also observed in the forehead, said the researchers.

“Thus, the results obtained showed that hydrolyzed fish cartilage was effective in wrinkle reduction, an effect probably due to improved dermal density,” ​they wrote.

The scientific team also used a technique called reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) image analysis, which provides a non-invasive, in vivo​ imaging of the skin nearly down to the cellular level. RCM data showed that the “hydrolyzed fish cartilage improved the morphological and structural characteristics of the dermis when compared to the baseline and placebo, since it increased coarse collagen and reduced elastosis”​.

“The present study showed the clinical benefits for the skin obtained with oral supplementation with a low dose of collagen peptides from hydrolyzed fish cartilage,” ​they concluded.

Source: Molecules
2021, 26​(16), 4880; doi: 10.3390/molecules26164880
“Oral Supplementation with Hydrolyzed Fish Cartilage Improves the Morphological and Structural Characteristics of the Skin: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Study”
Authors: P.M. Berardo Gonçalves Maia Campos et al.