Collagen Peptides are a hot topic of discussion right now, and for good reason. collagen is an amazing nutrient which helps to optimise health and provide essential amino acids which our modern diet often lacks.
Not all collagen is created equal, collagen can be sourced from cows (bovine), fish (marine) or even chicken. In this article we are going to explain what the difference is between marine collagen protein powder and bovine protein powder to determine which is the best option for you.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the human body and it is present in your skin, hair, nails, connective tissues, ligaments, joints, and cartilage. It's important to ensure that you are obtaining enough dietary collagen in your lifestyle to support overall health, especially for healthy ageing.
As we age our natural collagen levels decline (starting as early as our 20's) and supplementing with collagen peptides, can help to keep your collagen levels topped up.
Yes, you could sip bone broth or eat the skin and tendons from animals but for most of us, having an easy to take collagen powder is key to obtain enough essential amino acids and collagen.
There are many associated health benefits of supplementing with collagen peptides, such as improved skin health, thicker hair, longer nails and stronger bones. Collagen can also support muscle repair too.
Collagen peptides are made from cattle (bovine), pigs (porcine), chicken, or fish (marine), with each having its own unique health benefits. The collagen comes from the skin (hide), scales (fish) or bones of the animal depending on what type of collagen you are utilising.
We believe that collagen peptides are a great source of protein that also encourages utilising nose to tail nutrition.
For a more in-depth look at collagen and why you should be utilising it in your lifestyle check this article out here.
What is marine and bovine collagen?
Marine collagen is a dietary supplement made by extracting collagen from the bones, skin or scales of fish.
Hydrolysis is the gold standard of extracting collagen from cows (bovine) or fish (marine). 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 personally solely use the hydrolysis method and we do not use any hexane chemicals in making our collagen.
You will typically find marine collagen in powder, capsule or liquid stick form. Our Hunter & Gather marine collagen is an unflavoured powdered collagen made from wild-caught whitefish using purely the skin.
Marine collagen is composed of almost entirely type I collagen — the primary collagen found in the human body. Marine collagen is also similar in size to human collagen and so highly bioavailable and absorbable. There are some that believe that marine collagen is easier to digest (due to a smaller molecular structure), which is important if you have a digestive disorder or have had digestive discomfort with other collagen sources.
Bovine collagen is made by extracting the collagen from the hide of the cattle and is most frequently found in a powdered format. The taste and smell can vary from company to company, therefore if you are unsure, opt for a company that have good reviews and that provide unflavoured bovine collagen.
Hunter & Gather bovine collagen is made from the hide of grass-fed cattle from the lush pastures of France. When searching for a bovine collagen look for a collagen that is made in the EU from EU cattle as there are many that come from South American cattle (meaning more air miles and potentially less regulations). Our bovine collagen is free from antibiotics and hormones too!
What about Collagen products with other added ingredients?
Some collagen powders are fortified with other nutrients such as Vitamin B7 (biotin), Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid. That's because it is believe that these nutrients work in synergy with collagen to maximise its benefits. Having said this, all of these nutrients are easily obtained from food as part of a real food lifestyle.
We advise to opt for a pure source of collagen peptides (i.e 1 ingredient) as adding additional ingredients to a collagen blend can reduce its purity, bioavailability and digestibility - as well as opening the door for harmful fillers, bulking agents and additives.
You will also see with pills, tablets and sachets that the dosage of collagen is often lower. Our marine collagen is 10,000 mg of collagen per serve and our bovine collagen has 13,000 mg of collagen per serve.
Marine 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.
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.
Overview of each at a glance:
Suitable for pescatarians
Not suitable for pescatarians
Sustainably caught options
Grass fed options
Type 1 collagen (skin & hair health)
Type 1 and 3 collagen (hair, skin, nails, bones, joints & gut health)
Potentially easier to digest
Larger molecular structure than marine
Similar in size to human collagen
Less similar to human collagen than marine collagen
Generally costs more than bovine
Cheaper than marine collagen
Not suitable for those with shellfish or fish allergies or intolerances
Top 14 allergen free
Can I Take Marine Collagen and Bovine Collagen at the same time?
There's no reason why you can't take both marine and bovine collagen together and we know of many that do.
Taking both means that you benefit from the unique benefits of each, with their varying collagen types - adding some marine collagen to your bovine collagen will give your skin & hair a boost, due to the type 1 collagen. We recommended a daily dose of 2 tablespoons per day but to gradually increase over a week to this amount, starting with 2 teaspoons per day.
You can take the bovine and marine together at the same time or split them up throughout the day, however you prefer.
What should I look out for when buying 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 sustainably and wild-caught fish. 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 sustainble whitefish only.
As with any 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 can also lower the potency of collagen itself in the finished product.
Our marine and bovine collagen powders are made using simply one ingredient - 100% wild & sustainably caught deep sea white fish from the Atlantic Ocean or Grass-fed Eu cattle.
Adding fillers and bulking agents drives down the cost of collagen but increases exposure to ingredients you may not expect to see in your supplement such as grains or whey (from milk).
Hunter & Gather marine and bovine collagens are dairy free, gluten free, low carb and paleo but we do not recommend the marine for those with a fish or shellfish allergy. Bovine collagen will be your best bet if you have a fish allergy.
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 collagen supplements will use routine lab testing to ensure that every batch is up to standard.
Every Hunter & Gather batch of collagen is lab-tested for microbes, heavy metals, toxins, mycotoxins, dioxins, PCBs and pesticides.
Whether you opt for marine or bovine collagen, the packaging that the collagen comes in could be a deciding factor for you. Many collagen powders on the market come in plastic pouches or tubs, which are often non-recyclable. This is why we have decided to only use compostable plastic-free pouches for our collagen peptides.
We hope this article has given you a good overview of collagen peptides and the difference between bovine and marine collagen. Whether you decide to take bovine, marine or both you will be getting a super dose of essential amino acids and a pure protein source that can be added to hot or cold drinks as well as soups, stews and baking!
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All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.