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Bovine vs Marine Collagen

Bulk Nutrients' HCP - Hydrolysed Collagen Peptides

Types of collagen

Before we get into the nitty gritty of bovine v marine collagen, let’s take a little crash course in the types of collagen.

Our body naturally produces 28 types of collagen, but there are three particular types that are responsible for the majority of our functioning; they’re called Type I, Type II, and Type III.

Type I

The first type of collagen makes up 90% of our body’s collagen. It’s made of dense fibre and forms the structure of your bones, tendons, connective tissue, teeth, cartilage and skin.

Type II

The second type of collagen is made of looser fibres that make up your elastic cartilage and gives your joints that bounce.

Type III

Lastly, we have type III collagen. This type is pretty similar to Type I collagen in that it helps maintain the health of your connective tissue, tendons, skin and bones.

This type of collagen forms the structure of your arteries, organs and your muscles.

Why is this important to know, you ask? Because each collagen source we unpack below supports different collagen types, which can help us narrow down which collagen source is the best for you.

What is Marine Collagen?

As the name suggests, marine collagen is sourced from marine wildlife.

Most commonly, it’s sourced from the bones and scales of fish, but occasionally, you can find marine collagen made from sea urchins or sponges.

During its production, the proteins from the above sources are broken down into peptides, allowing your body to absorb them better.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, peptides are smaller blocks of proteins made up of amino acids – the building blocks that sustain you.

However, marine collagen only contains eight out of the nine amino acids your body requires for healthy functioning, making it an incomplete protein.

Benefits of Marine Collagen

Marine collagen comes with many health benefits.

Eye health

Marine collagen has been found to support the health of your corneas by accelerating wound healing.

Skin health

Like bovine collagen (which we’ll get into later), marine collagen supports your skin health by improving skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Improved sleep

A 2012 study found that a non-essential amino acid found in collagen sources like marine collagen can actually improve your perceived quality of sleep.

Glycine maintains your body temperature and reduces blood sugar spikes as you sleep, which can make you feel more rested.

Joint health

Lastly, marine collagen supports the health of your joints and can provide perceived relief to joint pain.

What is Bovine Collagen?

Then we have bovine collagen. This type of collagen is generally sourced from cattle, although it may also be sourced from water buffalo, bison, yak or pigs.

It’s the most common source of collagen for supplements and is extracted from skin and bones before being dried into a powder.

Like marine collagen, bovine collagen is also considered an incomplete protein. However, it still plays an instrumental role in providing you with a range of essential amino acids your body can’t produce.

Bovine Collagen Benefits

Like marine collagen, bovine collagen comes with a range of benefits.

Skin health

A randomised, placebo-controlled blind study conducted in 2019 found that taking a bovine collagen supplement actually supported skin health better than topicals can.

Bovine collagen smooths out any roughness along your skin and improves elasticity, plumpness, hydration and collagen density in your skin.

Muscle growth

Alongside skin health, bovine collagen is also great for muscle growth. Many studies have found that participants who took bovine collagen reported a higher body mass and were able to complete strength-based tasks they couldn’t before.

Interested in learning more about how bovine collagen can help you gain muscle and improve your performance? Read our article here.

Improved recovery

Bovine collagen also reduces muscle soreness and joint pain, and helps speed up recovery.

Weight loss

Struggle to feel full and tend to overeat? Bovine collagen actually makes you feel fuller than carbs or fat, all while containing fewer calories. Therefore, it can be a key player in supporting your weight loss goals.

If you’d like to learn more about this, we’ve got a whole article dedicated to bovine collagen and weight loss that you can read here.

Digestive support

Lastly, bovine collagen has anti-inflammatory properties which supports gut health. It can help alleviate feelings of bloating, pain and gas and help restore a healthy gut biome.

Marine Collagen vs Bovine Collagen: What Are The Differences?

You may think that because bovine and marine animals come from such stark environments that their collagen must be worlds apart. But that’s not the case.

There are only three key differences between the two; otherwise both bovine vs marine collagen function quite the same.


The most obvious difference between bovine vs marine collagen is its source. While they share a similar molecular structure, the source may matter when dietary requirements or allergies come into play.

If you can’t consume beef or pork products, then marine collagen may be more suitable for you.

On the other hand, if you are sensitive to fish, then bovine collagen is your best bet.

Collagen type

The most significant difference between bovine vs marine collagen is how they support our bodies.

A 2020 study found that each collagen source promotes slightly different collagen types within our body (remember the ones we ran through above?).

Marine collagen has been found to support Type I and Type II collagen production in our body; that means while it supports our bone and muscle health, it’s better known to support our cartilage and even our corneas.

On the other hand, bovine collagen has been found to support Type I and Type III collagen production in our body, making it more beneficial for our skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels.


Lastly, it’s important to note that bovine collagen has been around for much longer than marine collagen.

We know more about how bovine collagen works and its efficacy rates as it’s been a market staple for years.

On the other hand, marine collagen is newer, and we know less about its benefits and how it works as a result.

Bovine vs Marine Collagen: the takeaway.

So, bovine vs marine collagen, which is best? The answer will all depend on what results you’re looking for.

If you’re after improving your athletic capability by promoting muscle growth and overall performance, then we’d recommend bovine collagen.

Bovine collagen supports the health of your muscles, ligaments, tendons, arteries, bones and connective tissues, and because of that, it’s instrumental in boosting your performance and recovery.

If you’re looking for a bovine collagen supplement you can trust, our HCP Collagen Powder is a crowd favourite. Our high-quality formulation contains 20 grams of protein per serving and comes in eight delicious flavours.

Nick Telesca - Technical Support Officer at Bulk Nutrients

Nick Telesca

Nick is Bulk's Customer Service team's Technical Support Officer.

Which is our way of saying he's the guy whose job it is to answer your obscenely technical supplement questions.

More about Nick Telesca

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