I’m sure you’ve heard about collagen. Most people add it to their bulletproof coffees for extra frothiness or to their smoothies for a subtle nutrient boost. What many don’t know is that collagen can come from different sources and that there are two main types out there: bovine collagen and marine collagen. So, why does this matter? What’s the difference?
The Scoop on Collagen
First, let’s start with a rundown of collagen itself. What is it? Collagen is one of the main proteins in the body and makes up most of our body’s tissues, muscles, bones, skin, hair, digestive system, and tendons–to name a few. Some refer to it as the “glue” that holds the body together. As we age, our collagen production naturally decreases. Extreme sun exposure and improper diets (mostly high-sugar ones) speed this up. That’s why it’s important for us to get our collagen source via supplementation. It’s usually in powder form, so it works well in beverages. Some ways to incorporate it into our diets are in bulletproof coffees, smoothies, or as bone broth.
Why Is It Good For Us?
Skin and Hair Perks
Collagen is great for a number of reasons. Most notably, it improves skin and hair health. Since our natural collagen production decreases with age and sun exposure, this often shows up in our skin (most commonly as–yep, you guessed it–wrinkles *gasp*).
It also helps repair our intestinal lining. Sometimes referred to as the “superfood of gut health,” collagen is the Superhero for any digestive diseases (such as IBS, Crohn’s, or leaky gut). Basically, it infuses the gut lining with its ample amino acids, and this helps repair any gaps in the lining.
Other Great Stuff
Collagen helps our bodies for a number of other reasons too–it stabilizes blood sugar, improves bone strength, lowers cholesterol levels, and improves wound healing. Basically, it’s great for almost all bodily functions!
Bovine Collagen vs. Marine Collagen: the Differences
So now that we have an idea of what collagen is and what it does for us, let’s lay out the two main types.
Bovine collagen comes from cows. Not to get too graphic, but more specifically from the discarded skin, bones, and muscles of cows. That’s why it’s especially important to choose pasture-raised and grass-fed for the best quality.
Marine collagen comes from fish–either the skin, bones, or scales. If you’re a pescetarian and want to eat collagen, this is the type for you.
Bovine contains both Type 1 and 3 collagen. Type 1 is the most abundant form in the body (mostly in skin, hair, bones etc). Type 3 is found particularly in our intestines and is necessary for gut lining repair. Since bovine contains more Type 3, it might be best for those with intestinal concerns. Also, bovine is slightly cheaper than marine collagen. So, to sum up, if you’re taking collagen to improve gut health and are on a bit of a budget, bovine might be a better choice.
Marine collagen is solely Type 1. Because Type 1 is the most abundant form in the body, marine collagen is the ideal choice for a quick collagen fix. It also has smaller particles, so it’s easier for digestion and quick absorption1. Another bonus is that marine collagen is environmentally friendly (roughly 60% of fish processing by-products turn into waste2). So, if you’re taking collagen supplementation to improve skin and hair health and want fast results (and want to reduce fish waste!), marine might be the winner.
Basically, both bovine and marine collagen provide nearly the same benefits. Both are great for skin, hair, gut and bone health. However, bovine is slightly cheaper and might be the better choice for those with intestinal problems. On the other hand, marine collagen might be a better choice for those wanting faster results from collagen, those with skin and hair concerns, and for those that don’t eat cow products. Either way though both are helpful and provide similar benefits–these are just minor differences. Now that you know the scoop on collagen, the choice is up to you!