Marine Collagen vs. Bovine Collagen: Which One Works Best?

Marine Collagen vs. Bovine Collagen: Which One Works Best?

Collagen has taken the health and wellness world by storm. Not only this but global demand for collagen supplements is forecast to reach approximately USD 2.8 billion in 2032, according to Future Market Insights. Although collagen is nothing more than a form of vital protein, it does come in different forms. Here come the two primary sources—marine and bovine collagen—with more or less similar benefits; the question is, does it understand your body, or, in other words, do both function equally well according to our pain points? Choosing the right one can feel like navigating a protein-packed maze. This blog will guide you through understanding the line of difference between marine and bovine collagen to help you reach a point. 


What is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, forming the foundation for your skin, bones, muscles, and even the tiny strands of your hair. It makes up 33% of the total protein in our bodies and plays an important role in maintaining the strength and elasticity of the body parts it’s found in, like glue. Collagen production naturally declines as we age, showing signs of ageing and overall stiffness in joints and bones. Collagen is an easily digestible substance consumed in whole foods or as a supplement for skin appearance improvement and joint pain relief. Also, in addition to collagen supplements, the most beneficial ones provide protein. For most possibilities, it is advisable to take a supplement. 

Collagen supplements are often advertised as the missing ingredient in healthy skin. Unfortunately, not all collagen supplements are equally effective. Collagen is usually obtained from animals such as bovine, porcine, or marine collagen, or it can be synthesised in bacterial yeast cultures.

What are the Types of Collagen?

The body produces many kinds of collagen, and around 28 are classified as a result of scientific identification. However, the five primary collagen types include: 

  • Type 1: 90% of the total amount of collagen found in the body is accounted for by this collagen. It will make our bones, teeth, tendons, and ligaments more powerful.

  •  Type 2: It is mostly found in the cartilage, providing a flexible joint.

  •  Type 3: This collagen type is present in our skeletal muscles, organs, and blood vessels.

  •  Type 4: It’s present in one layer of our skin.

  •  Type 5: This is present in our corneas and some layers of the skin and hair.

    Apart from many different collagens, we will only consider Types 1 and 3 since they are essential for our skin, hair, and joint health. 

Where did Marine and Bovine Collagen Come From?

If the name is anything to go by, marine collagen is a natural product extracted from the deepest parts of the oceans and is typically found in the skin and scales of fish like cod, salmon, and tilapia. Collagen bovine is sourced from cow’s hides and bones. Both of them undergo the hydrolysis process, which breaks down large collagen molecules into small peptides that are easily swallowed.

What are the Compositions of Marine and Bovine?

Our body accommodates different collagen types, and every type has its particular role-playing. The primary type of collagen that marine and bovine collagen provide is type 1, which benefits healthy skin, hair, and nails. However, some key differences exist:

  1. Marine Collagen: This marine gem, which is ocean-derived, comes from fish skin and scales, and its type 1 collagen content is 70% higher than any other skin booster, making it a best friend of human skin. This collagen happens through hydrolysis with the help of enzymes. This collagen breakdown causes the peptide formation of amino acids.

  2. Bovine Collagen: This ‘crop-based’ option, obtained from cow hides and bones, combines types 1 and 3 collagen, essential building blocks for healthy skin, bones, tendons, and connective tissues. Frequently, it’s more economical and is also welcomed by those with gut problems due to the large size of its molecules. Did you know? Cow bones or other cattle byproducts are boiled in water to make it. After the collagen is extracted, it’s dried and powdered to form a collagen supplement.

Do They Have Their Own Types? 

Marine collagen is a one-in-all protein package, whereas there are two main categories of bovine collagen supplements on the market: gelatin and hydrolyzed collagen, which differ in form.

  1. Gelatin is cooked collagen. It is powder-shaped and widely used in deserts but forms a gel when added to water. Collagen from a bovine source could be in your diet if you already eat foods like jello, gravy, custard, or commercially made.

  2. Hydrolyzed collagen: Although not a particular type, it differs from the original bovine collagen extract. It is a common collagen broken into smaller proteins, which are easier for your body to absorb. It’s very convenient and can be added to hot or cold liquids like coffee.

What are the benefits of Collagen?

There are many benefits of collagen. It is like the glue that holds your body together, keeping your skin smooth, joints flexible, and gut healthy. But with two main types—marine (from fish) and bovine (from cows)—choosing the right one can be confusing. Here's a breakdown to help:

 As Skin Saviours

  • Both types can help with wrinkles and moisture, but marine collagen, with its high amounts of type 1 collagen, might be slightly better for keeping your skin youthful.
  • One study showed that participants taking fish collagen combined with antioxidants for just two months showed remarkably improved skin elasticity, moisture, and dermal ultrasonic markers. These results could be because fish collagen also contains higher levels of a certain amino acid, hydroxyproline. Hydroxyproline is unique in that several of its peptides are not digested completely, which allows them to be detected in your blood. Because of this, they help stimulate collagen synthesis by activating skin, joint, and bone cells.
  • On the other hand, because of its natural fat content, bovine collagen, with both type 1 and type 3 collagen, can also help with skin elasticity, making it less prone to sagging. Bovine collagen may improve the symptoms of aging skin, rebuild collagen fibre, and have rich antioxidant properties by raising the quality and quantity of skin collagen.

 For Joints 

  • Both marine and bovine collagen can reduce joint pain and stiffness. However, bovine collagen, with its type 3 collagen, might be slightly more effective due to its specific role in building cartilage, which cushions your joints.
  • Bovine collagen contains type I and III collagen, which promote ligaments and tendons' elasticity while maintaining healthy bones. Furthermore, in a 13-week study of 30 people with osteoarthritis affecting their knees, those given 5 grams of bovine collagen twice daily experienced symptom improvements.

NOTE: Whether you take marine or bovine collagen supplements for your joints, ensure they contain high-quality hydrolysed peptides, which are more easily absorbed into your body.

For Guts 

  • Leaky or weaker gut? Collagen can help! Both types can strengthen your gut lining, but bovine collagen might stay longer in your gut due to its larger molecules, potentially offering longer-lasting benefits.

Is Marine or Bovine Collagen Better Bioavailable?

If you are choosing between the two, you must decide according to your specific health and beauty goals and tastes. Bovine collagen contains Type 1 and Type 3 collagen for the hair, skin, nails, and joints. Marine collagen is mainly made up of type 1 collagen and is recommended to people interested in taking collagen supplements for their skin and overall health. Nevertheless, one should consider that marine collagen is bioavailable to a greater extent than bovine collagen. This implies that marine collagen is due to its easy absorption by the entire body, which is 1.5 times more efficient. This explains why the collagen peptides derived from the marine source are more readily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Factors While Choosing the Right Collagen

Does looking for the "best" collagen depend on your needs and tastes? The simple answer to this is yes. Let's break it down into simple factors according to your needs for easier decision-making while purchasing your collagen supplement. 

  • Primary concern: Skin health? Marine collagen could be a perfect partner for you. Joint and muscle support? Bovine collagen may be the full solution.
  • Dietary restrictions: Are you on a fish diet? Marine collagen wins. Following a meat-inclusive diet? Bovine collagen could be a choice.
  • Taste: The smell of bovine collagen is mild, while the marine one is without odour or taste. Analysing bovine collagen versus marine collagen in terms of texture, it is apparent that bovine collagen usually has a thicker texture than marine collagen when it comes to liquids.
  • Sustainability: Adopting brands promoting responsible and ethical sourcing, whether marine or bovine, is highly recommended.
  • Budget: Preferring bovine collagen will not burn a hole in your pocket but keep the quality high to reach lower prices.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What's the difference between marine and bovine collagen?
    Marine collagen comes from fish skin and scales, boasting high levels of type 1 collagen, which is great for your skin. Bovine collagen originates from cowhide and bones, offering a mix of type 1 and 3 collagen that benefits skin and joints.
  2. Which collagen absorbs better?
    It is evident that marine collagen, with its smaller molecules, absorbs within your body much faster and better.
  3. Is bovine collagen just beneficial for joints?
    While its type 2 collagen supports joint health, it also helps with skin elasticity, keeping it supple and helping you regain elasticity and hydration.
  4. Are there any risks involved?
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognised bovine collagen as safe. Always consult your doctor before starting new supplements, especially if you have allergies or medical conditions. Some people might experience mild allergic reactions to either type of collagen.

Final Take

Different forms of collagen have different properties and benefits. While marine collagen is highly bioavailable, bovine collagen is better for joint pain. But both produce the same effect as any collagen would. The benefits are numerous; it is up to your diet and lifestyle goals. Collagen supplements are just one piece of a complete, complex puzzle. Balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management are critical for collagen optimisation and general quality of life. But before that, always talk to your doctor, especially if you have health conditions.

Are you based in Dubai and looking for a collagen supplement to try out as a beginner? Rawafed has your back. We make no compromise in delivering high-quality imported products so that you can lead a healthy life. After all, health is wealth that keeps us going.

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