Marine Collagen Versus Bovine Collagen - Which Supplement is Best?

marine collagen vs bovine collagen

OK, so you’re interested in collagen supplements, and you know that they can come from different sources (mostly fish or cow). As a result, you want to dig a bit deeper and understand marine collagen versus bovine collagen. 

Let’s get into it...

Marine and bovine collagen are equally effective - one is not better than the other

So we will cut straight to the chase!

Don’t believe otherwise; each of these sources is equally good and equally effective as the other. 

As long as the quality of the supplement is high, as is the case for all Edible Health UK products, then its source won’t ultimately matter. 

Why? 

We’ll get to that in just a second. But firstly let’s wrap our heads around collagen in general before we start looking at the two types in more detail. 

OK - time to jump briefly back to our school science days... 

Amino acids, peptides & proteins - a quick overview 

In a nutshell: 

  • Peptides are short chains of amino acids.
  • Amino acids make proteins. 
  • Proteins are molecules that serve all kinds of purposes in our bodies. 
  • Collagen is a protein. 

Peptides, amino acids and proteins are essentially the building blocks of life in our bodies.  They are hard at work maintaining our cells and they are responsible for cell structure, function and regulation of our organs and tissues.

When the body digests proteins from external sources, amino acids are what remain. The body then uses these amino acids to make protein. 

So what is collagen?  

As it turns out, it is the number one most prolific protein in the human body.  It makes up about a third of our total protein content. 

Found in our bones, muscles, skin, ligaments, cartilage, tendons, it is our structure and our strength and it literally keeps our bodies together. 

So it’s no wonder that when our naturally-occurring levels begin breaking down or they are depleted, then a number of health issues can arise.  

What factors can compromise/decline our collagen? 

There is a range of factors that can trigger decline. For example:

  • poor nutrition
  • environmental toxins
  • compromised sleep quality
  • ageing
  • exposure  to UV rays

It’s therefore no surprise that supplements can become important to help maintain well-being. 

Different types of collagen 

To date over 40 different types have now been identified. The volumes in which they are present in the human body depends on the type. For humans, the three most prolific are:

  • Type I - this is the most abundant (90%) in our bodies and it’s this type that is responsible for providing structure to the bones, dermis, connective tissue, ligaments, tendons, cornea and teeth
  • Type II - present in elastic cartilage and serves to cushion the joints 
  • Type III - the muscles, organs (including of course the skin), vessel walls, and arteries are all given structure through the support of this one 

Now we have a good overview, we can start to look at where differences might - or might not - lie. 

What is marine collagen? 

Just like us, fish also produce collagen proteins, which are largely in their skin and scales. Our Edible Health product takes only fish skins and uses a cutting-edge, solvent-free, alkaline manufacturing process.  

It is a source of mostly type I and some type II collagen. 

What is bovine collagen? 

Cows also produce it, with the best sources located in their bones and hides. Edible Health product sources entirely from cow hide, again using the same cutting-edge, solvent-free, alkaline manufacturing process. 

This is a source of types I and III collagen.  

So depending on our collagen needs, we might use one form of supplement over the other or take both? 

Well, no. But it’s understandable to think that at first! 

Just because, for example, bovine is a source of types I and III doesn’t mean your body will use it to then create types I and III. Instead, your body will take the supply and use it for whatever is most necessary for you and your present needs. 

So in this respect, it doesn’t matter which one you take. 

But wouldn’t different sources of collagen break down to create different amino acids? 

Good call, and yes. There is a slight difference between the two, but that relates only to the quantity of each amino acid. 

Marine typically has more of the following:

  • Alanine (increases immunity and provides energy for the central nervous system, muscle tissue and brain)
  • Arginine (for wound healing) 
  • Aspartic acid (has a role as a neurotransmitter) 

Bovine typically has more:

  • Glycine (provides strength for muscles, skin, bones, blood) 
  • Hydroxyproline (plays a role in collagen stability) 
  • Proline (helps maintain and strengthen heart muscles) 

But if you’re using an Edible Health powder then these differences are not significant. As long as you take the supplement at the recommended dosage every day, then the efficacy will be the same. 

Well, if that’s the case then why create two different products? 

It’s a fair question. 

If the body is ultimately going to disregard the source or type of collagen and use it for whatever it needs at the time, then why bother with creating a choice? Because it’s not just our biological needs that matter…

Allergies, ethics and religion - which collagen is best? 

Good news - if you’re allergic to fish or fish products then the bovine supplement will be for you. 

You don’t eat red meat or red meat derivatives? You’re a pescatarian who eats fish but no other animals? No problems at all; the fish supplement is the way to go for you. 

And some religions prohibit the consumption of any part of the cow, which therefore makes the marine supplement an acceptable alternative. 

So what determines the molecular weight? 

Every factory has its own way of manufacturing and some are more advanced than others. Only factories with state-of-the-art equipment can produce the smallest molecules. So the quality of collagen produced is what actually determines how good it is, regardless of whether it is fish or cow. 

A marine collagen with 5,000 Dalton weight will be less effective than a bovine collagen with 2,000 molecular weight. Both our bovine collagen and marine collagen products have a 2,000 Dalton molecular weight.

Which one tastes and smells better? 

This question is totally subjective and it’s a shame we can’t demonstrate over the internet! At least, not yet…! 

But regardless the good news is that when it comes to marine collagen versus bovine collagen, both smell and taste are hardly noticeable in either product. That said everyone is different and some people might experience a slight taste or smell from either product. 

However, when mixed in smoothies, juices, soups, coffee, stews, salad dressings or even pre-mixed shots, there should be no taste at all! 

Which one is more sustainable? 

Importantly, we source both our marine and bovine supplements from materials that are by-products from the already established fish and cattle industries. Using fish skin and cattle hides that were to be discarded helps reduce waste and environmental impact. 

Our Edible Health marine product relies mainly on the Tilapia and Pangasius species, due to their higher collagen content. We use fish skins from farms in Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, Iceland, Vietnam, Indonesia and Taiwan. 

Granted sometimes the precise species might differ pending availability, but all our farms are registered by the EU. All fish on these registered farms are fit for human consumption, something official vets guarantee by way of health certificates. Moreover, the product is certified not to contain carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic components. 

Our bovine collagen comes from cows mainly farmed in Europe. Occasionally we may source from South America if stocks get low. As is the case with our fish, the cows are under official veterinary control and managed according to international regulations. They are all deemed fit for human consumption and free from BSE, hormones, antibiotics, toxins and heavy metals. 

Which one costs more? 

OK, here’s one clear difference! 

Raw material for the marine supplement is over double the cost of its counterpart, so bovine is cheaper to buy.

Marine versus bovine collagen - both are best!

So the verdict is in! Aside from any personal, dietary or religious preferences, the only real varying factor here is cost. 

As long as you choose a high-quality product that is:

  • Fully certified 
  • Low in molecular weight 
  • From a trustworthy company 

… then taking marine or bovine makes no difference to efficacy. Whatever choice you make, the outcome will be the same for your body. 

But don’t forget! 

Persistence and consistency are key to success. So take the recommended dosage daily for optimum benefits. 

Enjoy!