Dr. Kassam Bovine Or Marine Collagen?

Bovine OR Marine Collagen?

By: Dr. Saira Kassam. ND

Collagen without a doubt is one of the hottest supplements in the wellness industry right now!  Collagen is the main structural protein in the body – it makes up the gut, skin, joints, bone and ligaments.  It literally holds the whole body together. Unfortunately, as we age, not only does the body’s ability to produce new collagen decline, existing collagen also breaks down! Without good production of collagen, the highly anticipated signs of ageing, like sagging skin, wrinkles, weak muscles and/or joint pains start to develop. Supplementing with collagen is a great way to replenish stores and get some extra protein in the diet. 

The 3 most common types of collagen found in the body are:

Type I: Found in skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, intestines and bones

Type II: Found in Cartilage

Type III: Found in muscles and arteries

Collagen can be a tricky supplement to shop for as there are so many different sources with variations in quality. Collagen comes from various different animal sources, including Bovine, Porcine, Poultry and/or Marine, all of which contain different types of collagen.  Bovine and Marine Collagen are two of the most popular ones on the market right now. Here is a breakdown of the differences between both to help in the decision of picking one that best suits your needs! 


Bovine Collagen

  • Bovine collagen peptides are sourced from the joints and bones of Cattle
  • High in Type I and Type III Collagen which helps to maintain the health and structure of skin, bones, muscle, tendons, ligaments and intestines
  • Most similar to what we have in our bodies
  • Consists of 18 amino acids, 8 of which are essential
  • Great for improving digestion and gut health
  • Used for all-around body health and to recover from injuries
  • Ensure there is a ‘grass-fed’ label on bovine collagen (the more humane and natural way to treat cows)
  • Usually comes at a lower cost


Marine Collagen

  • Marine collagen peptides are from wild fish scales and skin 
  • Anti-ageing, environmentally friendly and sustainable as the parts that are used would normally be discarded during processing of the fish
  • High in Type I Collagen, which has the highest bioavailability in the body
  • Best for skin health, as increasing Type I Collagen helps skin cells repair quicker
  • Marine collagen peptides help absorption of calcium and other minerals
  • Beneficial to stabilize blood sugar levels due to the high glycine levels in Marine Collagen
  • Slightly better absorbed vs. bovine collagen due to its lower molecular weight
  • Make sure to check the source of the marine collagen as jellyfish, shellfish and even sharks contain larger peptides that are not easily absorbed
  • Usually comes at a higher cost


Assessing Quality

  • Collagen powder should be clear and tasteless when dissolved in water
  • Should not contain any fillers or additives
  • Ensure products are pesticide free, grass-fed and hormone free
  • Ensure the product contains hydrolyzed collagen peptides as this allows for optimal absorption and efficient use by the body


Choosing which source is best for you comes down to your health goals, whether it be primarily focused on skin health or just all-around body health.  Both types of collagen are great at just increasing daily protein intake. When purchasing collagen ensure to read all labels so as to assess for optimal quality. 




The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician. 


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