Key to Elastic Blood Vessels

Elastin is a primary extracellular matrix (ECM) protein that provides elasticity and resilience to tissues, including arteries, tendons, ligaments, skin and lungs. Elastin is approximately 1000 times more flexible than collagen, and it is the second most common protein in the body after collagen. Due to its ability to stretch and recoil, elastin is indispensable for body tissues that move and flex, enabling them to resume their original shape. In arteries, this elasticity is vital to accommodate force and large volume of blood being pumped out of the heart. In the skin, elastin is the component that provides suppleness and springiness. The presence of elastin in the lungs allows it to function as an elastic bag when breathing takes place. In the joints, the elasticity of ligaments (connect bone to bone) and tendons (connect muscle to bone) allows us to move and stretch.

Elastin in the aorta

The aorta is the largest artery in the body branching off the heart. It is the main artery that transports oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. If any problems happen to the aorta, the heart and the whole body’s blood supply can be jeopardised.

As aorta is the first part of the systemic circulatory system nearest to the heart, it experiences extremely high pressure and hence, elasticity is crucial to prevent its collapse. Henceforth, the aorta is the most elastic artery in the body, with elastin contributes to almost 50% of its dry weight. When the heart contracts, the high abundance of elastin fibres in the aorta wall enables it to stretch readily and accommodate the extreme high pressure and large volumes of blood pumped from the heart. It is this elasticity that helps maintain a relatively constant pressure in the aorta despite the pulsating nature of the blood flow.

As we age, elastin within the walls of the aorta and other arteries degenerate, causing them to stiffer and less resilient. When the arteries lose elasticity, they could not relax as quickly when the heart contracts (systole), leading to increasing blood pressure. Unsurprisingly, an elevated in systolic blood pressure, but not diastolic blood pressure (when the heart relaxes), is the most common type of hypertension in those aged 50 and above. In addition to high blood pressure, loss of elasticity in blood vessels could also strain the heart to pump harder. Progressive stress on the heart could subsequently result in a heart failure. Many studies have also reported the association between arterial stiffness and stroke1,2,3.


  1. Atherosclerosis 225(1): 216-219 (2012)
  2. J Cerebrovasc Endovasc Neurosurg 16(1): 11-19 (2014)
  3. Stroke Vasc Neurol 2(2): 65-72 (2017)

What is Elastin F?

Sourced from bonito fish caught in Shizuoka and Kagoshima prefectures in Japan, Elastin F is a low-molecular-weight elastin peptide that helps support “young” and elastic blood vessels. Extracted from bulbus arteriosus of the fish, which is a small chamber connecting gill and heart, Elastin F is particularly high in elastin. Hence, elastin F extracted from it can be clearly distinguished from other types of fish elastin, which are commonly extracted from fish skin that is high in collagen.  Based on EVG staining, bulbus arteriosus is rich in elastic fibers that are stained dark violet. In the fish skin, elastic fiber is rarely seen and mostly are collagen fiber that are stained red. Thus, bulbus arteriosus of the fish is a suitable raw material for elastin.

Elastin derived from bovine ligaments has long been used for nutraceuticals and cosmetics. However, the increased concerns for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, has urged researchers to look for a safe, alternate source of elastin. Elastin F derived from fish is a highly safe alternative. This superior, low-molecular-weight elastin peptide contain two specific amino acids – Desmosine and Isodesmosine that are crucial to the elasticity of cross-linking elastin fibres. These two amino acids do not occur in proteins other than elastin. The concentrations of Desmosine and Isodesmosine and their crosslinks decrease with age. Together with degradation of elastin fibres, this would lead to the stiffening of arterial wall and reduced elasticity in other body tissues. Dietary intake of Elastin F sends “signals” to the body to trigger elastin synthesis, which in turn:

  • Improve elasticity of blood vessels
  • Stimulate skin fibroblast to synthesize collagen and elastin
  • Improve skin firmness and texture
  • Reduce platelet aggregation
  • Reduce knee pain