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Bovine Collagen vs Marine Collagen: What is the Difference?

by Veronica Hughes
We compare the two types of supplemental collagen available, bovine and marine, to help you work out the best choice for your needs.
Bovine Collagen vs Marine Collagen: What is the Difference?

Collagen is an integral protein in the human body, essential in keeping hair and skin looking healthy and smooth, and increasing bone strength and muscle mass. 

We compare the two types of supplemental collagen available, bovine and marine, explaining the unique benefits of each.

The role of collagen in the human body

There are as many as 28 different types of collagen. With its role as a supportive protein, collagen is often considered the glue that helps bind the body together. The word ‘collagen’ is derived from the Greek word ‘kólla’, or glue.

Collagen is the most abundant structural protein produced by animals, comprising one-third of the total protein in the human body. It’s an essential component in numerous organs. 

  • Skin: Collagen is abundant in the skin and is a crucial component of the dermis layer. It provides strength, elasticity, and support, contributing to the skin's structure and maintaining its plump, youthful appearance.
  • Tendons and Ligaments: Collagen forms the majority of tendons and ligaments, connecting muscles to bones (tendons) and bones to bones (ligaments). This structural protein is essential for maintaining the integrity and flexibility of these connective tissues.
  • Cartilage: Collagen is a major component of cartilage, the flexible tissue that cushions joints and allows for smooth movement. It plays a vital role in joint health and function.
  • Bones: In bones, collagen provides a framework for mineralisation, contributing to bone strength and density. It is a key component of the extracellular matrix in bone tissue.
  • Blood Vessels: Collagen provides strength and flexibility to blood vessel walls, contributing to cardiovascular health. It is a crucial component of the connective tissue in arteries, veins, and capillaries.
  • Cornea: Collagen fibres are present in the cornea of the eye, contributing to its transparency and structural integrity.
  • Lungs: Collagen is found in the connective tissue of the lungs, providing support and elasticity to lung structures.
  • Gastrointestinal Tract: Collagen is present in the connective tissues of the gastrointestinal tract, including the walls of the esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
  • Kidneys: Collagen is a component of the renal extracellular matrix, providing structural support to the kidneys.
  • Liver: Collagen is present in the connective tissue framework of the liver, contributing to its structural organisation.
  • Bladder: Collagen is found in the connective tissues of the bladder, providing support and maintaining bladder structure.

There are as many as 28 different types of collagen found in nature. However, only three of these (collagen types I, II, and III) make up the bulk of collagen naturally found in the human body.

  • Up to 90% of the collagen in our bodies consists of collagen Type I, making it the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen Type I is found in skin, bones, ligaments, tendons, and teeth.
  • Collagen Type II is the major type of collagen found in cartilage, and it plays an important role in protecting the joints.
  • Collagen Type III is abundant in the skin and provides structural support to connective tissues like intestinal walls and blood vessels.

Why does collagen decline in the human body?

As you age, your body’s ability to build healthy collagen declines. Studies show that by the average age of 20, our body’s natural collagen production begins to decrease by 1% each year.

Although this decrease in collagen production can start as early as the age of 18, the effects are most prominent by the time we're 40, when most people start developing wrinkles and thinning hair. By around 80, your body’s natural collagen production will have decreased by 75%.

The causes and reasons are not well understood. Some lifestyle factors can accelerate the natural decrease in collagen production. These include exposure to UV light, smoking, and eating too much sugar and processed carbohydrates.

Collagen supplements: How to they work?

Collagen supplements don't just provide the required nutrients that go into collagen. It’s thought that they work by stimulating the body to repair its own collagen from the nutrients in everything you eat. There's currently research taking place into compounds in collagen supplements that may drive this process. 

This explains why a 1,000mg daily dose of collagen is sufficient, and you don’t get a greater benefit from a higher dose than this. 

What to look for in any good collagen supplement

Select hydrolysed collagen with low molecular weight. Opt for hydrolysed collagen, as it is the most easily absorbed. Look for products with a molecular weight below 2,000 daltons, as this superior form offers greater benefits.

Take the right dose, which is around 1,000mg daily. Collagen supplements work by prompting your body to internally rebuild collagen, utilising nutrients from your diet. Around 1,000mg of bioavailable collagen is sufficient to trigger this effect, and exceeding this dose won't enhance the benefits.

Verify product purity with third-party laboratory certification. Choose supplements that have been officially certified as free from harmful contaminants. Opting for pure collagen supplements ensures you receive the highest quality for your health.

Bovine Collagen and Marine Collagen Compared

Below we list the main points of difference between bovine and marine collagen, to help you make the right choice for you. 

Animal Source

Marine Collagen: Sourced from fish, usually fish skin or scales. Our marine collagen does not contain shellfish, meaning you are safe if you have a shellfish allergy. 

Bovine Collagen: Derived from the skin, bones, or cartilage of cows. Our bovine collagen is halal and kosher. 

Conclusion: You will need to make the right choice based on your animal source preferences. 

Type of Benefits

Marine Collagen: Contains primarily Type I collagen, which is abundant in the skin and provides structural support.

Bovine Collagen: Bovine collagen is rich in Type I and Type III collagen, which are abundant in the skin, bones, and cartilage.

Conclusion: If your goal is to specifically target joint health and muscle development, bovine collagen may be your best choice. If skin rejuvenation is your main concern, our marine collagen may have more impact for you. 

Absorption and Bioavailability

Marine Collagen: Often considered more bioavailable and easily absorbed due to its smaller particle size. Despite this, we have our marine collagen hydrolysed to make it even more easily absorbed. 

Bovine Collagen: May have a larger molecular size, potentially impacting absorption. Our bovine collagen is hydrolysed to make it far more easily absorbed. The molecular weight is just 2,000 daltons, which you will notice if you pick up the tub, which is very large but surprisingly light!

Conclusion: Both our marine and bovine collagen products offer maximum absorbability. 


Marine Collagen: Can be considered more sustainable, as it is often a by-product of the fishing industry, using parts of the fish that might otherwise go to waste.

Bovine Collagen: The sourcing of bovine collagen can have environmental considerations related to cattle farming.

Conclusion: For sustainability, marine collagen is the more popular choice. 

Allergy Concerns

Marine Collagen: Suitable for individuals with beef allergies or dietary restrictions.

Bovine Collagen: May not be suitable for those with beef allergies or who prefer to avoid beef. Some people with dairy allergy have noted a reaction to beef collagen and may prefer marine collagen for that reason. 

Conclusion: We do all we can to minimise allergens in our products. If you have allergy concerns, please play it safe and avoid taking anything that could trigger a harmful reaction. 


Marine Collagen: Tends to be slightly more expensive than bovine collagen due to the extraction process and sourcing.

Bovine Collagen: Generally the more economical choice.

Conclusion: Both our collagen products are priced to be highly competitive compared to alternatives. We give extra for the price by making sure our products are better absorbed and more potent.

VitaBright Bovine Collagen and Marine Collagen supplements

VitaBright Marine Collagen Complex

Our potent 1,000mg dose of superior quality hydrolysed type-1 marine collagen is enhanced with a complementary blend of soft-tissue supporting nutrients including 100mg Hyaluronic Acid, Iodine, Zinc, Copper and Vitamins C, E, B7 and B2. This formula gives you all the nutrients your body needs to moisturise skin from within, increase plumpness, reduce wrinkles, improve bone & joint health and boost collagen production throughout the body to fight the signs of aging.

Buy VitaBright Marine Collagen Complex now 

VitaBright Bovine Collagen Peptides Powder

Our 500g tub of highly potent Bovine Collagen Peptides powder contains 50 servings of 100% pure, Hydrolysed, Type 1 & 3 bovine collagen with 19 amino acids, and high levels of all 8 essential amino acids including BCAAs.

Buy Vitabright Halal and Kosher Bovine Collagen Peptides Powder now


Research Sources & More Information

A series of four research studies has shown that hydrolysed collagen can reduce symptoms of osteo-arthritis and even help the bones to repair themselves. In the four studies, hydrolysed collagen supplements have been shown to be absorbed intestinally and to accumulate in cartilage. There, they caused a noted increase in tissue regeneration by chondrocytes, the cells that build new cartilage and collagen.  

Bovine Collagen Supplements

Research has determined that bovine collagen peptides can increase collagen types I and III. These are the types involved in reinforcing the skin and cartilage. This makes bovine collagen supplements especially important as our natural collagen reserves begin depleting as we grow older.

A study conducted in 2013 determined that consuming hydrolysed collagen supplements containing 2.5 to 5 grams of collagen enhanced skin elasticity and hydration after four weeks.

Recent studies have also suggested that bovine collagen could help relieve the pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis by increasing cartilage production that helps in cushioning the joints.

Marine Collagen Supplements

Marine collagen peptides help diminish the signs of aging as they are a good source of antioxidants. This means that they grant skin protection from free radical stress and injury.

Studies have determined that marine collagen supplements can achieve measurable improvement in strengthening hair and nails, as well as stimulating  stronger hair growth. 

by Veronica Hughes
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