Good for your health: OSU study suggests fish may eliminate wrinkles in human skin

Gelatin in Pacific cod skin may help prevent skin wrinkles in humans caused by UV radiation, a new study from Oregon State University has found.

New research from Oregon State University suggests that fish may help prevent skin wrinkles in humans.

Pacific cod, an abundant fish on the Pacific coast, is caught in abundance in the United States, but consumers know very little about this mild white-fleshed fish, also known as hake.

However, it is very popular in Europe, where it is the eighth most consumed species. In the United States, the 10 most consumed fish species account for 77 percent of total seafood consumption per capita, with Pacific cod not among the top 10.

By studying Pacific cod. Jung Kwon, an assistant professor at the Oregon State Seafood Research and Education Center in Astoria, Ore., is seeking to change that and relieve pressure on 10 fish stocks, including salmon and tuna.

She studies marine life and its potential to improve human health, and is particularly interested in the benefits of marine life parts such as fish skins, which many U.S. consumers choose to discard rather than eat.

“Fish skin is a rich resource that we already know has valuable nutritional properties,” Kwon said. “But we wanted to find out the additional potential value that might be found in what has traditionally been considered a by-product.”

In a recent paper published in the journal Marine Medicine, Kwon and a team of researchers investigated the molecular pathways that cause skin wrinkling at the cellular level. These wrinkles are promoted by long-term exposure to UV rays, which break down collagen in the skin.

The researchers extracted gelatin from Pacific cod and then studied its effects on antioxidant and inflammatory responses as well as pathways known to degrade collagen and promote collagen synthesis.

They found Pacific Lightening Skin:

  • Reactivates the collagen synthesis pathway inhibited by UV radiation to a certain extent.
  • Prevents activation to a certain level of the collagen degradation pathway, which has been accelerated by UV radiation.
  • Promotes additional antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow cellular damage.
  • Promotes additional anti-inflammatory effects.

Kwon cautions that these are preliminary results obtained by her lab from a human cell model system. Further studies using animal models are required.

“We see some potential for positive responses in cellular model systems,” she said. “This gives us good evidence to take the next step.”

Co-authors of the paper are Elaine Ballinger of Oregon and Seok Hee Han and Se-Young Choung of Kyung Hee University in South Korea.

The research was funded by Pacific Seafoods, a harvester, processor and distributor of seafood.

Sean Nealon is news editor for OSU’s Department of University Relations and Marketing.He can be reached at


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