Marine collagen is a healthy source of amino acids, and it’s perfect for pregnant mamas. But is it better than bovine collagen?
When you’re eating for two, you likely focus on good sources of protein, fresh fruits, and veggies — but don’t forget about collagen! Collagen delivers a healthy serving of amino acids, which are essential for your growing baby — and reducing stretch marks. And collagen is also very high in protein.
But which is better for you, marine collagen or bovine (beef) collagen?
In this article, I’ll answer all of your questions, including
What Is Marine Collagen?
Collagen seems to be a trendy buzz word lately, but collagen isn’t just a fad. It’s a protein that makes up much of your body — including your bones, skin, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. Humans aren’t the only animal who have collagen in their bodies. Pigs, cows, fish — they’ve all got collagen!
Some people think of collagen only as a beauty product (or maybe as a joint supplement), but it can be an asset in your pregnancy supplement routine too. Collagen strengthens joints and ligaments to help your body carry your little bundle of your joint during pregnancy. Not only that, but collagen can help stop stretch marks from developing. Woohoo!
So what is marine collagen? Marine collagen is a hypoallergenic protein derived from fish skin or scales. I know what you’re thinking: is that safe or healthy to consume fish scales?! Yes!
Let’s take a look at how marine collagen is harvested:
- Fish are caught
- Fish skins are washed
- Fish skins are then hydrolyzed
Hydrolyzed marine collagen allows us to better digest the collagen. “Hydrolyze” comes from two Greek words: hydro (water) + lysis (break apart). To hydrolyze the fish scales means that water breaks apart the scales into smaller particles, so that the collagen peptides (what’s left over from the hydrolyzation process) are easier for us to digest. (source)
Smaller particles make a big difference when it comes to getting all those benefits from your collagen supplement. Fish collagen is absorbed up to 1.5 times faster (and more efficiently) into your body. This means that marine collagen has superior bioavailability over beef or porcine collagen. This is due to its smaller particle size compared to other types of collagen.
Beef Versus Marine Collagen
The most obvious difference between these two types of collagen is the animal source. Marine collagen, as the name suggests, comes from fish. The most common sources of marine collagen are cod, pollock, and haddock. Beef collagen comes from the bone marrow of cows while porcine collagen comes from the marrow of pigs. The source of the protein isn’t the only difference, though. Marine collagen differs from bovine collagen in a few ways. Most notably, marine collagen is absorbed by the body faster.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between the two:
|What is the source?
|Is it sustainable?
|What is the sodium content?
|Speed of absorption
|Type of collagen
||Type I & III
|Exposure to antibiotics and hormones?
If you do opt for bovine collagen, be sure to look for a brand that pledges to use only grass-fed, antibiotic-free beef.
Different Types of Collagen
If you look at the chart above, you might wonder what “type of collagen” really means. Believe it or not, there are many different types of collagen, and they are all identified by a number. As much as 80-90% of the collagen in your body is made up of type I, II, and III. (source)
Type I is the most prevalent type of collagen in your body. It makes your skin, nails, bones, hair, organs, bones, and ligaments — and marine collagen is an excellent source of type I collagen. Type II is another important type of collagen; it’s responsible for your joint health and digestive lining.
Even though your body makes its own collagen, it’s still not a bad ideal to consider using a collagen supplement. Did you know that you start to lose collagen as you age? After age 30, our collagen levels start to drop by 1.5% per year, and a supplement can help combat this loss. (source)
Benefits of Marine Collagen
Like beef collagen, marine collagen supports healthy skin, hair, and nails. Wild-caught marine collagen offers many additional benefits, including:
- Skin rejuvenation. Collagen helps your skin stay hydrated and supple.
- Improved digestion. Amino acids in collagen, such as glycine, glutamine, and proline support your intestinal tract as well as your stomach.
- Promotes strong bones. Marine collagen helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus — which are essential for your bones and your growing baby’s bones!
- Liver detox. Glycine (which is one of the many amino acids in collagen) promotes liver detox and liver repair. Liver support is a must when your liver is detoxing for two!
- Improved energy levels. What pregnant mama doesn’t need a little boost? You can thank glycine, which helps turn glucose into energy for your cells.
- Safe sources of collagen. Wild caught fish is free from pesticide residue, antibiotic treatment, and GMO-based feed.
And here’s the best perk of marine collagen: it’s oh-so-easy to use. Powder supplements stir easily into coffee, tea, soups, or smoothies. Unlike cod liver oil, which can sometimes taste fishy, this is one pescatarian supplement that is odorless and tasteless. Yay!
Best Marine Collagen
While there are many types of marine collagen on the market, the five key aspects of a good supplement should be:
- Free of any additives, preservatives, or artificial flavors
- Easy to mix in
- Neutral flavor
Looking for a new supplement? Check out these four marine collagen powders: