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Bovine Collagen vs. Marine Collagen: Which Is Better?

There are two types of collagen that have been battling it out since hitting the market in the late 20th Century…

 

Bovine Collagen and Marine Collagen.

 

In this article, we’ll break down the key differences between the two along with which one you should reach for in order to experience maximum results.

What Is Bovine Collagen?

Aerial image of cattle in a green pasture in a farm in central Illinois, United States

Before diving into what Bovine Collagen is, let’s define Collagen.

 

Collagen is the single most abundant protein in the animal kingdom. It’s an insoluble fibrous protein that’s found in the extracellular matrix (ECM) and connective tissue. Put simply, it’s the glue that holds your body together—providing structure, support, and protection (1, 2).

 

Here’s where things get interesting…


Your body naturally produces collagen on its own. In fact, it makes up 33% of the body’s total protein and a whopping 75% of the dry weight of skin (3). However, beginning in your 20s, your natural collagen production begins to decline by 1% with each passing year. Which means that by 50 years old, your collagen levels have been cut in half. This explains why wrinkles develop, skin sags, joints ache, and bones lose their strength.

Collagen Decline By the Decade

Bovine Collagen is derived from cowhides. It has garnered much attention due to its profound health benefits—including stronger bones, firmer skin, ache-free joints, and more (4, 5, 6).

 

These health benefits come down to one thing: The type of collagen that bovine contains.

 

If you didn’t yet know, there are actually 28 different types of collagen…

 

Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, 4, and 5, and so on.

 

Each of these 28 types is found in the human body.

 

However, there are three types that make up the majority of collagen in the body (80 to 90%, in fact): Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3. Each of these three types is responsible for keeping you youthful, pain-free, and healthy.

Types of Collagen In Bovine Collagen

Bovine Collagen contains both Type 1 and Type 3 Collagen. Here’s the difference between the two:

 

Type 1

Type 1 Collagen represents the most abundant long-lasting protein in humans—making up 90% of the collagen in the body (7). It’s found in several tissues including skin, bone, tendon, and the corneas (8, 9).

 

Without enough Type 1 Collagen, skin can become loose and saggy; joints can become stiff and achy; bones can feel as if they’re rubbing together.

 

Type 3

Type 3 Collagen is largely found in the skin, lungs, intestinal walls, and the walls of blood vessels, while also making up 10% of the collagen in cartilage (10, 11).

 

Type 3 Collagen mutations are linked to Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, vascular deficiency, and aortic and arterial aneurysms (12, 11).

What Is Marine Collagen?

Yellow and orange Jellyfish dancing in the dark blue ocean water.

Marine Collagen is made from the skin of fish. However, it’s often unclear as to what species of fish the collagen product is derived from.

 

It can be sourced from jellyfish, sponges, sea urchin, octopus, cod, snapper, or anything under the sea, really (did someone say...fishy?) (13).

 

The cosmetic industry has found success in using marine collagen to treat burns, open wounds, and as an anti-microbial. And in surgery, it has been used for bone regeneration and cartilage tissue engineering.

 

Although it boasts the same health benefits, amino acid count, and collagen types as bovine collagen, there is a downside to it...

 

With marine collagen comes a high probability of contamination with heavy metals—which can be especially harmful knowing that it’s used in both the cosmetic and surgical industry (14).

Types of Collagen In Marine Collagen

Marine Collagen contains both Type 1 and Type 2 Collagen. Here’s a detailed breakdown between the two:

 

Type 1

Type 1 Collagen represents the most abundant long-lasting protein in humans—making up 90% of collagen in the body (7). It’s found in several tissues including skin, bone, tendon, and the corneas (8, 9).

 

Without enough Type 1 Collagen, skin can become loose and saggy; joints can become stiff and achy; bones can feel as if they’re rubbing together.

 

Type 2

Type 2 Collagen is found in cartilage—the rubber-like padding that covers and protects the ends of long bones at the joints. It provides the cushion that your bones and joints need to move with ease (15).

 

Without enough Type 2 Collagen, bones become weaker and more prone to fracture (i.e. osteopenia and/or osteoporosis) while joints become less fluid, leading to a “popping” or “clicking” sound (16).

The Main Difference Between Bovine and Marine Collagen

The key difference between Bovine Collagen and Marine Collagen is where they are both sourced from.

 

Bovine Collagen is sourced from the hides of cattle whereas Marine Collagen is sourced from the skin and scales of fish.

 

Both have their pros, however, marine collagen has a higher probability of heavy metal contamination.

Bovine Collagen or Marine Collagen: Which Should I Take?

There’s a reason why we only sell bovine collagen here at NativePath. It’s because we believe that it’s the highest quality collagen out there.

 

Having a marine collagen supplement would simply go against the standards of excellence we’ve set for ourselves and our products.

 

Thus, we believe that bovine collagen is ideal for achieving optimal health benefits. However, not all bovine supplements are created equal. It’s absolutely crucial that you opt for grass-fed bovine. Grass-fed means that the cattle were raised ethically (they weren’t pumped full of hormones), sustainably (grazing in the open pasture), and with a grass-fed diet (i.e. no grains or GMOs!).

Certified Health Coach and Head of Content at NativePath (aka I’m the gal responsible for ensuring that every blog we publish helps you live life a little more #OnThePath).

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Medical Disclaimer
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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