Collagen protein powder is a hot topic of discussion right now, and for good reason. Collagen is an amazing protein which helps to optimise health and provide essential amino acids that many of us are lacking. It also encourages a nose to tail philosophy and ensures we avoid food waste!
But not all collagen is the same, it can come from many different sources too such as fish (Marine), Cattle (Bovine) or even Chicken!
In this article we are going to delve into the difference between marine collagen and bovine collagen, which is best for you and the benefits? Read on to decide for yourself!
What Is Marine Collagen?
Marine collagen is a dietary supplement which is made by extracting collagen from the bones, skin and scales of fish. Hunter & Gather Marine Collagen is from wild caught, whitefish from the North Atlantic Ocean - which is sustainably caught and free from GMO's, Antibiotics or Hormones. Do be careful when choosing a marine collage, that you opt for non-farmed fish and that the fish are wild caught and from sustainable fish. Many are not.
You will normally find Marine collagen in either a pure powder, capsules or liquid sticks. With a powdered marine collagen, if there is simply 1 ingredient, then this is likely to be a pure source of collagen without added bulkers or fillers. Many capsules or "sticks" of collagen are lower in the amount of collagen per serving due to added bulkers, fillers etc and is something to watch out for. You can also check by the MG of collagen per serving. For example 10g of Hunter & Gather Marine collagen contains 10,000mg of pure collagen, 20g contains 20,000mg - normally you will see much less in a stick or capsule as it is not a pure source of collagen.
What is Bovine Collagen?
Bovine Collagen is similar to Marine Collagen in that you will normally find this in a powder, capsule or stick too. It is however made from the hide of the cattle. When coming from the hide the collagen type is predominantly type 1 and type 3 collagen. You can also find Type 2 Bovine Collagen but this comes from the tendons and is normally in a capsule (it tastes very strong as a powder).
Similar to Marine Collagen, look for a pure source of Bovine Collagen and ideally pasture raised from EU cattle. That way if the cattle is from the EU, there are stricter regulations in relation to antibiotics and hormones on entering the food chain.
Hunter & Gather Bovine Collagen is from Pasture Raised, Grass Fed Cattle that graze in the EU (France) and are free from antibiotics, hormones or GMO feeds. We also don't add any bulkers, fillers or sugars.
How Is Marine & Bovine Collagen Made?
Not all collagen is created equal and how marine & bovine collagen is made will vary from brand to brand. Hydrolysis is the gold standard of extracting collagen from bovine or fish. This process of extraction breaks collagen down so that it is easier to digest and absorb, maximising the benefits of collagen at the same time as going easy on your digestive system. That's why our collagen is hydrolysed - another term for this is "Peptides".
There are other methods which use heat or solvents and these could expose us to harmful contaminants and make for an end product that's harder to absorb and harsher on your digestive system.
Do I Need A Collagen Supplement?
Natural collagen production declines as we age and lifestyle factors such as nutrient deficiency, a diet high in sugar and even sun exposure all affect how collagen is broken down and synthesised in the body. What's more, our modern diets provide minimal sources of collagen compared with our hunter gatherer ancestors who regularly slurped on bone broth or chowed down on tendons or nose to tail of an animal. So, a collagen supplement such as marine collagen powder is a great way to conveniently and reliably bridge the gap between collagen requirements and intake.
It is also a great protein source for those that prefer not to use a Whey or dairy based protein due to allergies. Collagen is also beneficial at supporting muscle repair post exercise.
What Nutrients Does Marine Collagen Provide?
Marine collagen protein powder contains a great source of protein which is broken down in the body into amino acids. It is a highly bioavailable source of 18 amino acids, 8 of which are essential - which simply means you cannot get them from your diet so must get them from food or supplements. Marine collagen is a particularly good source of the amino acids proline and glycine, which have numerous benefits such as blood sugar regulation, muscle repair and protecting cells from damage.
Some marine collagen powders are fortified with other nutrients such as Vitamin B7 (biotin), Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid. That's because these nutrients work in synergy with collagen to maximise its benefits. Having said this, all of these nutrients are easily obtained with a normal diet, so we think it's just as easy to get them from good old normal food. What's more, adding ingredients to collagen reduces its purity, bioavailability and digestibility - as well as opening the door for harmful fillers, bulking agents and additives. So, we think 100% pure, natural and un-tampered-with marine collagen is the best choice.
Is Marine Collagen Good for You?
Sure is! Whether you choose marine or bovine sourced collagen - or both! - there are some pretty amazing health benefits of supplementing your diet with collagen powder. Let's explore in more detail.
- Marine Collagen for Skin
Marine collagen is particularly high in hydroxyproline, an amino acid which helps to stimulate skin cell production. Marine Collagen is classified as Type 1 Collagen, the most abundant type found in skin. It helps to accelerate your body's usual collagen synthesis to help skin repair itself and minimise environmental damage from things like sun exposure, dryness and pollutants. One study found that 8 weeks of collagen supplementation improved skin hydration, elasticity, density and appearance.
- Marine Collagen for Hair
Collagen is known for its amazing benefits to hair health and marine collagen in particular has been shown to mirror this fact (you'll be reaching for the mirror yourself!) Marine collagen has been shown to regenerate dormant hair follicles to stimulate hair growth, prevent hair loss and make for more luscious locks. Marine collagen may also help to slow the inevitable greying of hair as we age, thanks to its amazing antioxidant activity which fights against the impact of ageing on the colour of our hair.
- Marine Collagen for Joint & Bone Health
Marine collagen is a building block for joints and bones. Supplementing your diet with a marine collagen supplement provides your body with the tools it needs to repair, replenish and regenerate bones and joints. This is good news for all of us as our bones and joints can really suffer the impact of ageing, something which declining collagen levels have to answer for. Studies have also found that collagen supplementation can lessen the impact of heavy exercise on our bones and joints, helping to justify the benefits of an active lifestyle without worrying about what impact it will have on your bones and joints in later life.
Marine Collagen for Gut Health
Collagen is known for its beautifying and anti-aging benefits, but did you know that it's also super important for gut health? As a key structural protein, collagen is used throughout the gastrointestinal tract to strengthen the lining of the stomach and the intestinal wall. Not only does this help to optimise gut function but marine collagen has also been found to help alleviate the symptoms and severity of gut problems such as IBD, IBS and Leaky Gut Syndrome in the process. Studies have also found that collagen helps to regulate stomach acid production, aid digestion and prevent stomach ulcers. Looks like there's more to collagen than the benefits you can see!
- Marine Collagen for Muscle Repair & Recovery
Amino acids provided by collagen are used by the body to repair, rebuild and strengthen muscle fibres post-exercise. The Type 1 Collagen provided by marine collagen in particular is also incredibly bioavailable which means that the amino acids it contains are readily absorbed and utilised. Taking a marine collagen supplement post-exercise gives your body the tools it needs to repair and rebuild muscle as efficiently as possible, coming back stronger every time.
Combine these fitness friendly benefits with the fact that collagen also helps to strengthen ligaments and joints, prevent injury and reduce joint pain post-exercise, and marine collagen shapes up to be a great sports supplement as well as an all-round health optimising nutrient.
When it comes to the amazing benefits of collagen, the list doesn't end there! Studies have also shown that collagen can help to aid weight loss, reduce cellulite and improve liver function and wound healing.
Marine Collagen vs. Bovine Collagen
The main difference between marine and bovine collagen is the types of collagen they contain.
Bovine collagen is mainly comprised of Type 1 and Type 3 collagen, which are both abundant in the human body, but Type 1 is predominant. Marine collagen is almost entirely composed of Type 1 Collagen, which is the main collagen in the human body. It could be argued that as marine collagen contains a higher amount of Type 1 collagen than bovine collagen, it could make it easier to absorb and digest - allowing you to reap maximum benefit. Personally we have seen lot's of you with amazing results from taking our Bovine Collagen in relation to hair, skin, nails, bones and joints. Bovine collagen is still the favoured type of collagen in the UK for many however Marine Collagen could be ideal for you if you have an allergy to beef, dietary preference, lifestyle choice or you really want to focus on Type 1 collagen. You can also take Bovine and Marine collagen together for an added Type 1 collagen boost.
Fish collagen is also similar in size to human collagen and so highly bioavailable and absorbable. This also means it's easier to digest, which is important if you have a digestive disorder or get digestive discomfort after taking bovine collagen. The added bonus of this is that collagen is super supportive of gut health, so could help to heal your gut from within and ease any digestive symptoms.
Is Marine Collagen Better Than Bovine?
The ultimate answer to this question will vary from person to person. Collagen is an amazing health optimising nutrient in any format, but whether you will benefit most from marine or bovine sourced collagen will depend on your dietary preferences, allergies, intolerances, gut health, lifestyle and even budget.
Pros and Cons of Each at a Glance
Suitable for Pescatarians
Not Suitable for Pescatarians
Sustainable Whitefish Wild Caught
Grass Fed in EU
Type 1 Collagen
Type 1 and 3 Collagen
Potentially easier to digest & lower molecular weight
Larger Molecular weight than marine
Similar in Size to Human Collagen
Less Similar to Human Collagen than Marine Collagen
Higher Cost (for a good source)
Not Suitable for those with Shellfish or Fish Allergies or Intolerances
Should I Take Marine Collagen and Bovine Collagen?
There's no reason why you can't take both marine and bovine collagen together. Taking both means that you benefit from the unique benefits of each, with their varying collagen types. However, it's always best to stick with the recommended daily dose. For example we recommend between 10-30g per day. So, you could take 1/2 of that with Bovine and 1/2 of that with Marine. We would also recommend starting slowly and gradually increasing your daily collagen intake. If you are unsure please do speak with a medical professional.
If you're looking to take one or the other, check out our pros and cons section above which will help you to decide which is best for you.
What should I look out for when buying a Marine or Bovine Collagen?
Not all collagen supplements are created equal and choosing the best requires a multifactorial approach! Let's take a look at some of the key things to look out for when choosing the best marine or bovine collagen.
Marine collagen powders can be sourced from wild caught or farmed fish. The latter is worse for the environment and has a negative impact on finite fish stocks. The best marine collagen will be from a single source of fish or seafood which has been sustainably and wild-caught. Many on the market make you think they are from wild fish but look closer, as most are farmed fish.
Hunter & Gather marine collagen is sourced from 100% wild-caught whitefish only.
As with anything food or supplement, the fewer the ingredients the better! More ingredients mean more room for bulking agents, additives, synthetic ingredients and harmful fillers. Not only are these bad for you but they also expose you to allergens and lower the potency of collagen itself in the finished product.
Our Marine Collagen Powder is made using just one ingredient - 100% wild & sustainably caught deep sea white fish from the Atlantic Ocean
- Type of Collagen
Marine collagen is usually near enough 100% Type 1 Collagen. So, if your marine collagen provides a mixture of collagen types, you need to be asking yourself what else it may contain.
Our Marine Collagen Powder is derived from 100% white fish, meaning it provides a potent source of Type 1 Collagen and isn't blended with any other collagens
- How it is Made
Hydrolysis is seen as the gold standard process when it comes to extracting the amazing nutrients from collagen. This process of extraction breaks collagen down so that it is easier to digest and absorb, maximising the benefits of collagen at the same time as going easy on your digestive system. Other methods which use heat or solvents expose us to harmful contaminants and make for an end product that's harder to absorb and harsher on your digestive system.
We use an innovative enzymatic process without the use of solvents or other contaminants to create an unflavoured collagen
Adding fillers and bulking agents drives down the cost of marine collagen but increases exposure to ingredients you may not expect to see in your supplement such as grains, whey (from Milk).
A marine collagen supplement which is free from bulkers is a good indication that it is a purer and more natural of un-tampered-with collagen! However, a word of warning, most marine collagen powders are not recommended for those with a shellfish or fish allergy.
Hunter & Gather Marine Collagen is dairy free, gluten free, Low Carb and Paleo but we do not recommend this for those with a fish or shellfish allergy. Bovine collagen will be your best bet if you have a fish allergy.
- Laboratory Tested
As collagen is a natural ingredient, it will vary from batch to batch in taste, consistency and odour. What you don't want is it to vary from batch to batch in terms of nutrition. The best marine collagen supplements will use routine lab testing to ensure that every batch is up to standard and contains a rich source of marine collagen.
Every Hunter & Gather batch of collagen is lab-tested for microbes, heavy metals, toxins, mycotoxins, dioxins, PCBs and pesticides.
One of the great things about marine collagen is just how sustainable it is. Did you know that it is estimated that around 60% of fish products are wasted by the fishing industry. Taking the discarded bones, skin and scales of fish and transforming them into a healthful, nutrient dense protein powder is something we can't get enough of!
PLUS, going on to package them in none-biodegradable, single use plastic defeats the whole object of this incredibly sustainable product. That's why we think recyclable packaging should be on your list when choosing the very best marine collagen powder.
Our pouches are 100% plastic free and compostable - good for you, good for the environment!
We hope this guide has helped you in your quest for knowledge about Collagen Peptides!
Do check out our Marine Collagen or Bovine Collagen Powders too, or why not see our recipes page with some tips on how to use them as part of your daily routine.