We all have plenty of questions about health and wellbeing, and some of them seem to have obvious, easy answers. Should I stop smoking? Yes! Should I drink less alcohol? Yes!
And then there’s the tricky questions that we don’t have the intuition or the information to answer. Like this one. Should you take a supplement containing marine collagen or bovine collagen?
That just raises more questions! Questions like “what is collagen?” “do I need collagen?” “is there a difference between the two?”
You can’t be expected to just know the answer without some explanations, so let’s take a look at collagen in general, and the differences between a marine collagen complex and a bovine equivalent.
First things first - what is collagen?
Collagen is one of the building blocks of the human body. It’s quite literally a substance that holds us all together.
Your skin, muscles and tendons are mostly made of proteins, and the most common protein in each of those structures is collagen. It creates a kind of scaffold for your body to build structure around. Without it, you’ll have a harder time repairing injuries and building muscles.
And because it’s such a big part of your skin, collagen is just as important for looking healthy as it is for feeling healthy.
So why take a supplement?
Because your body needs it! And while we do get collagen from our diet, it does involve eating the sort of fatty, collagen-rich foods that we can’t really pop into our daily shake or berry bowl. Kale, sardine and pork skin smoothie in a morning? No thanks!
And breaking down collagen from your food takes a lot of work. Your digestive system will need a lot of Vitamin C to break down that collagen correctly, so better squeeze a dash of orange juice into that terrifying breakfast drink!
But the collagen in supplements has already been broken down into its more easily absorbable form, meaning you can support your skin, muscles, tendons and joints without needing to tuck into a hog roast before the daily commute.
But which type of collagen supplement is right for you? Now we’re on to the trickier questions.
Marine collagen complexes
In a marine collagen supplement, the collagen in question comes from fish. The skin of the fish, to be precise - which is a part that even the most committed pescatarians sometimes avoid. After all, nobody enjoys a mouth full of scales with their salmon filet.
While unsuitable for vegetarians, marine collagen is seen as a sustainable product. Unfortunately not all the fish we catch are sent to the dinner table, so marine collagen is a way of using up some of the leftovers to ensure nothing goes to waste.
Bovine collagen complexes
Bovine collagen, on the other hand, comes from cows. Usually the bones of the cows which, like the fish used in marine collagen, would otherwise go to waste.
This animal collagen is easy for your body to absorb, and can be used to boost your skin, muscle and joint health - especially as your body’s ability to break down and build collagen as you age. Bovine collagen isn’t healthier, or better for you, or easier to absorb than the marine variety. So the supplement you choose is a matter of personal choice.
Should you choose a marine or bovine collagen complex?
It’s simple. If you eat fish, but not beef, choose a marine complex. If you eat beef, but not fish, choose a bovine complex.
And if you’re not sure, give them both a try. With 180 collagen complex capsules costing as little as £5 from the Sealions website, it’s never been more affordable to see which works better for you.