Both marine collagen and bovine collagen supplements are a great source of collagen depending on your requirements. They both offer huge benefits to your health but they do have their differences.
In this article we take a look at the differences between the 2 to help you make a decision about which one is right for you.
Marine collagen vs. Bovine Collagen: What's The Difference?
Marine collagen is sourced from marine life. Specifically it is mainly sourced from fish and sometimes is referred to as fish collagen. The collagen usually comes from the bones, skin, scales and fins of fresh saltwater fish. Sometimes marine collagen can also be sourced from jellyfish and shellfish, so read labels so you know exactly what you are getting.
Type 1 Collagen
Marine collagen contains almost exclusively Type 1 collagen. Type 1 collagen is the most abundant in the body and believes to be the strongest and most effective type. It is the foundation of healthy bones and is imperative for keeping the skin elastic.
Why You Should Marine Collagen
Marine collagen closely resembles human collagen much more than animal collagen does.
It is the most absorbable and bio-available type of collagen. As a result, if you tend to have absorption issues, this is probably the better option to pick for a supplement.
This is because it smaller particles and a lower molecular weight than other types such as bovine. This means it is much more efficiently and effectively absorbed - in fact 1.5 times more absorbent, giving you better nourishment.
Fish collagen is most know for digestion which makes sense given its absorbency.
As marine collagen contains Type 1 collagen in abundance along with the amino acids proline and glycine; it is perfect for those looking to support bone health, skin health and their vital organs like the heart.
As marine collagen is mainly Type 1 collagen (which makes up 80% of the collagen in our body), it remains a key component for maintaining the firmness and elasticity of the skin.
Marin collagen also contains the imino acid proline, which insists in replacing damaged muscle and skin tissue. As a result it is used in many skincare products due to its ability to plump up the appearance of the skin.
If you care about the look and feel of your skin, and want to delay the effects of aging, then marine is a good choice.
Marine collagen contains the imino acid proline which makes up around 15% of collagen. It primarily serves to decrease the risk of heart disease and keep skin healthy.
Proiline also acts to decrease pressure of fatty build ups around the arteries. It also breaks up larger proteins and redistributes them as necessary.
Bovine collagen comes from cows and is the most common supplement form. It can also be known as grass-fed collagen depending on how those cows were fed. Grass fed cows tend to be healthier which means you should get a far superior product to one that doesn't use grass fed cows.
After cows are harvested for their meat, the cow hides are removed. They are then treated to extract the collagen protein from them. The proteins are hydrolyzed which breaks down the collagen proteins into smaller particles making them easier to digest.
Both conventionally fed cattle and grass fed cattle are used for their hides in this way. For better quality collagen you want to opt for grass fed cattle collagen which will be obvious as its something companies love to shout about on their packaging.
Why You Should Bovine Collagen
Like marine, bovine collagen contains Type 1 collagen but also contains Type 3. Along with type 1, typ3 collagen is responsible for firm and elastic skin but it's also present in the blood vessels and vital tissues in the heart.
Bovine collagen also contains the amino acids proline and glycine which are essential for healthy muscles and encourage the body to produce collagen naturally.
These amino acids are responsible for most parts of the body and are also an important factor in healthy teeth and gums.
Beef collagen can also improve gut health and promote restful sleep patterns.
Great for All Round Health
As bovine collagen contains both type 1 and 3, it is a better supplement to take for all round health compared to marine.
Benefits of Both Marine and Bovine Collagen
May Reverse Skin Aging
As we keep saaying collagen is know for its ability to promote healthy vibrant skin. This essential protein provides elasticity to the skin helping it appear smooth and youthful. A 2014 study had 46 women take collagen hydrosylate supplements while a contro lgroup took a placebo. The women who took the supplement showed an improvement in the elasticity of their skin within 4 weeks (1). A similar study showed that collagen can significantly reduce wrinkles (2).
Can Help Build Muscle
Collagen plays a major role in the health of muscle tissue. It also contains plentiful amounts of glycine which creatine incorporates into its biosynthesis. This can help your muscles through a workout but also can help them recover.
One study had 53 men with sarcopenia (a condition in which you lose muscle mass to aging) take collagen supplements for 12 weeks. Those who tok the supplement and also did resistance training saw an increase in muscle strength as well as fatloss compared to a control group who took a placebo (3).
May Help Improve Digestive Health
Collagen is in the connective tissue of the gut and helps strengthen and support the lining of the digestive tract. One study looked collagen levels in patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. They found that they had lowered serum levels of collagens (4). This suggests that by increasing collagen intake, you could potentially help the tissues that line your gastrointestinal tract and help improve its health.
Which One Should You Take?
Either one is going to provide a whole host of benefits to your body when you consume it regularly.
Marine collagen is usually a great choice because of how easy the body absorbs it. So if you have problems with absorption it's probably the better pick over bovine.
If your priority is skin, hair and nail health then marine is generally the type which is considered the best option to take, while bovine is best for overall health. Marine collagen has been shown to be reduce wrinkles and improve skin smoothness in many studies (5). So by in the large would be the right one to pick if your main concern is skin care.
A mixture of 2 may even be an option - rotating to get the best of both worlds.
Bovine collagen also tends to be easier to find as a supplement and cheaper than marine. So if cost is a factor then opt for bovine.
Bovine vs Marine Collagen - The Verdict
Both marine and bovine collagen offer some great benefits. In most part they offer very similar benefits to your health because they both offer an abundance of type 1. Bovine is only different in that it also contains type 3 as well. However studies back both types of up when it comes to health benefits.
Bovine collagen is also not as bio-available and absorbent as marine collagen either, so marine may be the better option as you will likely absorb the nutrients much more effectively and thus being able to reap the benefits that collagen supplements offer.
Bovine may also be a cheaper option if your budget is a concern. This is because it is much more readily available with a lot more brands and choices on the market.
Overall you can't go wrong with either supplement if increasing your collagen intake is important to you.