Comparing bovine collagen vs. marine collagen is tricky. Both collagen types can provide massive benefits, but there are subtle differences. Below we’ll cover the pros and cons of each type so you can decide which one’s right for you.
Using the whole fish used to be a common occurrence. Our ancestors and more traditional cultures didn’t let anything go to waste. They often cooked or stewed fish with the skin intact and put bones to use in stocks and broths.
This way of eating fish isn’t for everyone, but it has major benefits. Namely, eating this way provides a rich source of fish collagen.
Luckily, there are other ways to reap the benefits of marine collagen that don’t involve boiling fish bones or eating fish skin. You can consume marine collagen peptides instead.
Marine Collagen Production
Manufacturers create hydrolyzed marine collagen peptides from fish scales and other would-be waste products from the fishing industry.
The hydrolysis process breaks large collagen amino acids into short chains that are easy to digest.
The result is a colorless, flavorless, and highly soluble powder that you can mix into any beverage, hot or cold.
Marine Collagen Benefits
Fish collagen or marine collagen contains a hefty dose of type 1 collagen, the most prevalent form of collagen in the human body.
Type 1 collagen is necessary for strong nails and hair. It also plays a beneficial role in our joints.
Taking marine collagen peptides may benefit:
- skin elasticity and hydration
- nail and hair growth
- achy joints
Natural loss of collagen as we age leads to skin dehydration and wrinkles. Collagen supplementation may help counteract that process.
It’s thought that supplementing with collagen may stimulate your body to produce more of its own collagen, leading to fewer wrinkles and better skin hydration.
At the same time, collagen may promote the production of other proteins, specifically fibrillin and elastin, which help skin look more youthful.
Type 1 collagen may also decrease brittleness, allowing your hair and nails to grow longer and stronger.
The type 1 collagen found in marine collagen also helps maintain cartilage, the cushy substance that protects our joints. Some studies suggest that oral collagen supplementation may help maintain the collagen we need to keep cartilage intact as we age.
Plus, marine collagen doesn’t have some of the sourcing concerns that come with bovine collagen.
Marine collagen is suitable for pescatarians and anyone avoiding red meat. It also aligns with zero-waste sustainability strategies because it uses fish parts that would otherwise go to waste.
On top of that, some studies suggest that marine collagen is less likely to transmit disease, has fewer inflammatory markers, and may have a higher absorption rate than bovine collagen.
Bovine refers to cows, and bovine collagen comes from cattle used for beef.
Like marine collagen, bovine collagen was once a dietary staple.
Traditional cooking methods naturally extracted collagen from the beef people consumed. By boiling bones and tough tendinous muscles into stocks and stews, people would have consumed plenty of collagen.
Today, you don’t have to go through the tedious process of boiling down cartilage-rich cow joints to get your collagen boost. Instead, you can add colorless, flavorless, bovine hide collagen peptides to any liquid.
What is Bovine Hide?
Bovine hide refers to the skin of a cow. Like all mammalian skin, the hide is rich in collagen.
The hide is a waste product of the beef industry, so using it to produce bovine collagen peptides is a no-brainer.
To create bovine hide collagen, manufacturers use various extraction methods involving acids and enzymes.
They also hydrolyze the collagen, breaking down the long proteins into short, easy-to-digest, and super soluble amino acid chains.
Grass-Fed vs. Regular Bovine Collagen
If you’re concerned with ethical farming and sustainability, you might consider looking for grass-fed bovine collagen rather than regular bovine collagen.
Grass-fed bovine collagen isn’t shown to have any significant health benefits over regular bovine collagen, but the cows were typically raised in a more ethical and sustainable setting.
So, purchasing grass-fed collagen supports a more environmentally-conscious industry.
Bovine Collagen Benefits
Bovine collagen contains both type 1 and type 3 collagen. As noted above, type 1 collagen is essential for skin, hair, and nail health.
It can also help achy joints.
Type 3 collagen supports type 1 collagen throughout the body and plays a pivotal role in certain structures, including the arteries and bones.
So, taking bovine collagen may:
- Prevent bone loss
- Help achy joints
- Decrease signs of skin aging
- Benefit nails and hair health
Though researchers have yet to prove it in humans, several animal studies show that bovine collagen may prevent bone loss, therefore helping ward off and treat osteoarthritis.
Bovine collagen, like marine collagen, also provides a hefty dose of type 1 collagen. So, it offers the same benefits as marine collagen for hair, skin, nail, and joint health. Like marine collagen, it may reduce wrinkles, provide better skin hydration, help achy joints, and strengthen hair and nails.
Bovine collagen is also less expensive than marine collagen in most cases. Because it’s cost-effective, you’re more likely to be able to take it every day, which may make its effects more noticeable.
Bovine vs. Marine Collagen: The Verdict
Both marine and bovine collagen offer massive benefits when it comes to warding off wrinkles and strengthening hair and nails. They also may help with achy joints.
Bovine collagen is more cost-effective and may help with bone loss thanks to its supply of type 3 collagen. However, its extra benefits stop there.
So, is marine collagen better than bovine collagen?
Marine collagen doesn’t contain type 3 collagen, which isn’t ideal. But, some studies suggest it’s more absorbable, less likely to be contaminated, and has fewer inflammatory markers.
On top of that, marine collagen production supports zero-waste sustainability strategies, and it’s appropriate for those trying to avoid red meat.
However, to say marine collagen is better than bovine collagen is a stretch. The type of collagen you choose will depend on what benefits you’re looking for, your budget, and whether or not you’re okay with supporting the meat industry.