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Bovine vs Marine Collagen : What's the difference and which is the right one for you?

Dr Tasneem Mitha  |  13 Sep 2022

Bovine vs Marine Collagen: Which is better for you?


Let’s face it, up until very (very) recently, no one knew much about collagen supplementation or its benefits. 


Now that the beauty and fitness industry has exploded with collagen supplements, there’s so many types and brands out there, you don’t know where to start! I’m letting you in on one thing though….collagen supplementation has been around forever; it’s been the well-kept secret of celebrities and beauty insiders for ages, and now that its more accessible to the general public, more and more people are waking up to its amazing benefits. I’m here to guide you through the “sea” of collagen products, to help you choose the right one for you and your needs.


Let’s go through some of the key factors to consider when choosing a collagen brand. 


Make sure that the collagen is:


  • Sourced responsibly


  • Free from any unclean or nasty harmful additions like sugars (added to make it more palatable), colourants, flavourants and bulking agents. The addition of these things decreases the quality and efficacy of the collagen, and are not good for you in any case.


  • Has a high bioavailability – not all the collagen ingested will be absorbed. Choose a brand that has hydrolyzed(breaking down the collagen into smaller more digestible peptide chains or amino acids) collagen with a good track record on bioavailability.



Ageing gracefully has always been a priority for me, and I have always led an active lifestyle with (relatively) healthy choices most times. Supplementation has always been a big thing for me, so when I decided to add a collagen supplement to my diet, I was very careful in choosing the brand that best met my needs and demands – afterall, I care what I put in my body. The brands I choose to represent in my clinic are well researched, trusted and reputable brands in the industry and are a reflection of my pursuit to giving myself the best chance at ageing positively. 


My collagen brand of choice is Motherkind (bovine), which 100% pure hydrolysed collagen which boasts upto 99% bioavailablity. I have been using it for over 3 years now, and have never looked back. Motherkind Glow from Within is my go-to for healthy skin and hair, and it greatly helps with those niggly joint pains you get at my age! I also use Motherkind Bodygold daily, this assists me greatly in muscle recovery post-workouts, and helps me to have a restful and quality sleep. 

I hope I can shed some light on the collagen debate for you, so that you can make the right choice for you!


But first things first……



Why do we need collagen?


Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, and is the main building block for your skin, ligaments, muscles, teeth, bones,connective tissues AND hair!  Blah blah blah, you know all this, you’ve heard it all before……..BUT I really need to stress it again. It will help you in choosing the right collagen for you.


When it comes to glowing skin, collagen plays a role in strengthening the skin as well as in elasticity and hydration. Naturally, this means less wrinkles, bouncier, healthier, thicker skin and hair. As you age, you produce less collagen (from your mid-twenties by the way), resulting in drier skin which is more prone to sagging and wrinkling (look out for fine lines and wrinkles, dry skin, brittle nails, and thinning hair, they are all tell-tale warning signs of decreased collagen). 


Here are just some of the benefits of collagen on the body:


  • Contains amino acids which are crucial building blocks for muscle development


  • Plays a crucial role in wound healing and in immune function


  • Improves and decreases cellulite


  • Boosts your metabolism, assists with building lean muscle tissue and weight loss


  • Helps the body to absorb calcium and other essential nutrients and minerals needed for bone strength (i.e., reduced risk of osteoporosis)


  • Contains large amounts for glycine which helps balance blood sugar levels (important for diabetics and those who are insulin resistant)


  • Glycine (an amino acid) helps to calm the body and brain and improves sleep quality (I can vouch for this).


  • Reduces inflammation in the gut (great for those with IBS and other inflammatory gut issues).


  • Reduces inflammation in the joints, and slows down joint degeneration (I have first-hand experience with this – great for osteoarthritis and other inflammatory joint issues)


  • Helps hair growth, stimulates keratin production, and increases blood flow to the scalp, all contributing to better quality, healthier, faster growing hair (great for post-partum hair loss, and hair support in general).


“Look at this list, why on earth have I not started taking collagen,” I hear you say?! 


You can get collagen from food but absorption from food may not be efficient, and most of us won’t be getting enough from food alone. This is when supplementation becomes a must.


How much collagen do I need to take?


It will depend on your diet i.e.. how much collagen you are getting from food sources, as well as your activity level (the more physically active you are, the higher your needs). On average, my recommendation is anywhere between 2.5-15g per day in 1 or 2 divided doses. It takes about 8-12 weeks of consistent use to see skin, hair, and joint benefits. I take 15mg every day, mixed in water with orange juice, or in herbal tea or coffee.




Bovine collagen


So it goes without saying that bovine collagen comes from cows (cows’ hides actually) and is the most common source of collagen in supplements. In this world of ever-increasing awareness on sustainability, its good practice to look for collagen that is sourced from grass fed cattle, who are treated humanely, and not treated with artificial growth hormones or excessive antibiotics.



How does bovine collagen work?


Ok, here’s where it gets a bit technical. Bovine collagen consists mainly of types 1, 2 and 3 collagen. 


Type 1 collagen is considered the “beauty collagen” - best for skin, hair and nails. It maintains skin elasticity and hydration, as well as healthy hair, bones and wound healing. 


Type 2 collagen is the main component of cartilage and is important for maintaining the health of your bones, joints and cartilage. 


Type 3 collagen is usually found alongside type 1 collagen thus has similar skin benefits. Because it’s found in large quantities in your intestine and blood vessels, it’s also important for its gut healing properties.




Health Benefits of using BOVINE Collagen


  • Reduced joint pain – thanks to the type 2 collagen 


  • Improved Gut Health – thanks to type 3 collagen


  • Better muscle recovery – post workout, again thanks to type 2 collagen content


  • Improved muscular tone and strength – helps build lean muscle


  • Improved skin, hair and nails – elasticity and hydration


  • Improves and reduces cellulite


  • Repairs bones, tendons, ligaments and regenerates connective tissue – great for elderly women who are prone to osteoporosis, anyone who has suffered an injury, and for runners, gym goers and athletes, to improve their recovery.



Here’s a PRO TIP – consuming collagen with Vitamin C gives the body the best shot at taking full advantage of the collagen, as Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis and absorption to occur.



Why you should choose BOVINE Collagen


  • Its easy to find – can be purchased from most health stores 


  • Relatively inexpensive because the beef industry is a large one


  • It’s a great choice in people who have shellfish allergies


  • It has important gut healing properties that may be absent in marine collagen due to the availability of type 3 collagen.





Marine collagen


Although stocks and stews made from fish bones have long been consumed, marine collagen supplementation is a relatively new addition to the supplement scene. Marine collagen is extracted from fish scales, bones, skin, and all the things that used to be thrown away as waste in the fish industry…these are hydrolysed in the same way as cattle hides in bovine collagen production. Look for marine collagen that is sourced via sustainable fishing practices, or wild caught sources.



How does marine collagen work?


Marine works pretty much the same as bovine, with just a few small differences between them. Unlike bovine, marine collagen is almost exclusively made up of type 1 collagen, so its benefits are largely “beauty” focused. It has smaller peptide molecules so marine is slightly more bioavailable and absorbable than bovine, possibly making it slightly more effective.



Health Benefits of using MARINE Collagen


  • Mainly skin benefits – thanks to abundance in type 1 collagen, expect fewer wrinkles, increased skin hydration and elasticity.


  • Improved skin ageing and healthier glowing skin.




Why you should choose MARINE Collagen


  • Ideal for pescatarians or those who avoid animal or beef products (for religious reasons or otherwise)


  • Great for those who do not lead an active lifestyle, and who’s main focus is mostly on skin health and vitality 







Whichever one you choose, you’re already doing your body a huge favour, and you can’t really go wrong. 


I think the key difference lies in the range of benefits that each provides. Bovine collagen has more collagen types in it (type 1,2 and 3), so it can give you a more global advantage, by addressing not only skin, but also joint, gut and muscle health and strength, while marine (which is made of mostly type 1 collagen) is mostly focused on skin health benefits.


It obvious though that both provide powerful health and skin benefits, and with regular use will help your skin and body to heal and stay beautiful and strong. The deciding factor will depend on your lifestyle, dietary restrictions, any allergies, and personal preferences.


I hope this was helpful, and please feel free to pop me your collagen comments or questions on Instagram @dentalandfacialaestheticsbw



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