The Difference Between Marine & Bovine Collagen

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Carla Oates The Beauty Chef Founder

By Carla Oates

As demand for collagen (and marine collagen) increases both in Australia and globally—and the available offerings within the category itself continues to expand in terms of type, origin and purported benefits—it can be understandably confusing to determine which collagen is best for you.

With the launch of our brand new marine collagenDEEP COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Support—we have also already received countless questions as to what the difference is between marine collagen and ‘other’ collagen. While in the first instance it is simple enough to explain that marine collagen is derived from fish whilst bovine collagen derives from cow hides—the differences between them are more subtle and the reasons we chose to utilise marine collagen peptides is more complex.

Where It's Sourced

Most collagen supplements on the market are made from hydrolysed collagen—a process where larger proteins are broken down into smaller structures known as collagen peptides—which are more bioavailable and easier for our bodies to digest. However, the first thing to consider when selecting a collagen supplement—no matter its form—is its source.

Bovine collagen—which is arguably the most common collagen supplement available these days—is sourced from the hides and bones of cattle. As with the beef we eat, however, not all bovine collagen comes from grass-fed cows and so as a conscious consumer, it’s vital to investigate how the cows were raised, what they were fed and the farming philosophy and practices used in the product’s development.

The other type of animal-derived collagen is marine collagen—which comes from fish skin. The source of marine collagen peptides however, can be from wild-caught fish—which are caught in their natural environment—or aquaculture fish—which are sourced from managed farm-raised fisheries. As with bovine collagen, it’s important to do your research and as a consumer, ensure that the fishing practices employed are both ethical and sustainable.

Sustainability Factors

When comparing bovine collagen and marine collagen—one of the main reasons many consumers are now opting for the latter in terms of supplementation is due to its sustainability factors. Recent data indicates that carbon emissions from marine fisheries are relatively low when compared to the environmental cost of red meat production. The fish skins used in marine collagen are also considered by-products of the food industry and are therefore under-utilised.

When developing our own pure marine collagen powder—DEEP COLLAGEN—these were certainly some of the considerations we took into account. For us, it was important to adhere to our brand values and strict ingredient selection criteria. As a result, it has taken until now for us to exclusively and sustainably source marine collagen that is supported by Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards. The hydrolysed marine collagen peptides used in our formula, which make up 99.3% and 97% of the blend for our Unflavoured and Berry versions respectively, also derive from wild-caught fish—specifically deep-sea, North Atlantic cod and have a smaller molecular weight, making its bioavailability.

Benefits of Collagen & Marine Collagen Peptides

While collagen is the most abundant protein and building block in the human body—and is essential for healthy skin, hair, nails, bones, muscles, ligaments, joints and connective tissues—it unfortunately declines as we age. This is why it’s so important to include a variety of amino-acid-rich proteins and sources of collagen in our diet regularly and select a collagen supplement that helps to boost our natural stores and support its synthesis.

What’s important to note, however, is that although collagen supplements have been around for a while—the scientific literature to support their consumption has been limited until fairly recently. Now though, it seems that the research is catching up, with studies illustrating its health benefits including how hydrolysed marine collagen can help to improve skin elasticity as well as skin hydration, boost collagen production, collagen density—for plumper skin—and promote wound healing.

It’s also valuable for protecting, preserving and bolstering the collagen that lies deep within the skin—meaning it can help to firm skin and reduce the visible signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles. But the benefits of marine collagen go beyond skin deep as it contains both glutamine and glycineamino acids which are proven to help repair and bolster the intestinal barrier

Given that the gut is at the centre of our health, beauty, immunity and overall wellbeing—the health benefits of including collagen in our diet regularly are incredible, and can truly promote wellness and beauty from the inside out. To further supercharge its digestive benefits, The Beauty Chef’s DEEP COLLAGEN powder also contains Bioavailability Factors™—the digestive enzyme bromelain and our exclusive probiotic strain, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GUT5Y™—for enhanced absorption.