Bovine or Marine Collagen? Which is best?
This is one of our most frequently asked questions and we don’t see that changing any time soon. The buzz around collagen is only going to get bigger as more and more products are brought to market. But what use is this to you!
Bovine or marine. Powder or tablet. Before exercise or after exercise. There are too many questions and choices for even the smartest of people to comprehend. There are a lot more brands out there using marine collagen in their supplements. These brands can then confuse everyone with their seemingly endless misinformation that they use to market their products.
So, without floating our own boat here, we’re going to strip it back down to basics and end the debate once and for all…
Bovine vs. Marine
The U Perform collagen journey started almost 2 decades ago when two fresh faced young athletes Greg Whyte and James Greenwell started trialling the very first ingestible collagen supplement after James suffered a near career ending Achilles tendon rupture.
Since then, James and his company On-Group Ltd., have been studying and using bovine collagen. But the decision to use bovine collagen was not taken lightly. Having taken advice from leading physiologists, scientists, research facilities and conducting our own research into which type of collagen delivered the best results that you could both see and feel, we chose bovine collagen!
This research was robustly challenged and tested when we created our sports nutrition range – U Perform – by Professor Greg Whyte OBE PhD DSc FBASES FACSM, who is a Professor of Applied Sport and Exercise Science at Liverpool John Moore’s University, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on Exercise Physiology and Exercise Performance.
We also consulted with Dr Steffen Oesser, who has published over 50 research papers on collagen and its effects; Dr Oesser is the director of the Collagen Research Institute (CRI).
So, what are the main differences and why do we use bovine collagen?
Difference A: Bovine collagen’s composition is far more similar to human collagen than marine, and therefore not only is it absorbed more readily by the body, but it is also easier for the body to distribute it to where it’s needed most – your body more easily recognises it to put it simply.
Plus. if you think about it this way, genetically and physically speaking we are much more similar to other mammals such as cows than we are to less complex vertebrates such as fish and so when choosing nutrients derived from either of those it makes sense to choose the former of the two.
To get a little more technical (deep breaths you can do this), collagen consists of amino acids (primarily glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, alanine) bound together to form a triple helix of elongated fibril, known as a collagen helix. It is mostly found in fibrous tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and skin and the primary determinant of tensile strength and flexibility in almost all the connective tissues in the body.
Not only that, the triple helix that characterises a bovine collagen peptide prevents it from being broken down by enzymes, in the gut for example, which means that the bioavailability is far higher.
Did you know, there are over 30 different types of collagens, and each type performs a slightly different role in the body. Over 90% of the collagen in the human body is type I collagen with the second and third most abundant collagens being Type III (skin, blood vessels, organs, and other elastic tissue) and Type II (articular cartilage) respectively.
Difference B: Bovine collagen contains 14% more proline and 41% more hydroxyproline than marine collagen.
This is important because these two amino acids make up about 25% of all collagen molecules and are the most abundant amino acids after glycine. Hydroxyproline and proline play key roles for collagen triple helix stability. Hydroxyproline in particular is important as a crucial component of collagen strength and elastin.
Difference C: U Perform’s collagen is highly targeted using our cutting-edge Bioactive Collagen Peptides®. This is innovation backed by established science and growing research and real-world evidence.
Using extensive clinical studies and a highly controlled process of enzymatic hydrolysis, all our Bioactive Collagen Peptides® have been optimised to maximise the stimulation of the specific human cell types involved in collagen biosynthesis. Whether that’s in the skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, or muscles.
This makes U Perform collagen more bioavailable than most marine collagen products. Absorption studies show up to 95% absorption (true digestibility is on average 98.4%) within 12 hours of ingestion of Bioactive Collagen Peptides®.
Here’s just one (out of the hundreds and hundreds) that clearly demonstrate the efficacy and value of bovine collagen supplements like ours…
Australian Institute of Sport – Achilles Tendinopathy (TENDOFORTE®)
A study conducted by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) looked at people with long-term symptoms of chronic Achilles tendinopathy, who were not responding to any traditional therapy and were unable to train. Within 3 months, 12 out of 20 participants were able to return to running after starting a therapy of 5g of bovine collagen daily. The collagen used in the study are the same Bioactive Collagen Peptides® that we use in our Active Collagen (TENDOFORTE®).
Still think marine collagen is for you? Ask the brand you’re thinking of using to produce clinical evidence that has been approved by the Federation supplement Europe (FSE) and/or European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Hopefully we’ve provided you with a bit of an insight into why bovine is our preferred collagen for optimising your performance, optimising your recovery, and more importantly optimising your quality of life!
We are constantly researching which ingredients we should use to help you perform to your very best, and the questioning the evidence behind them.
Thank you for choosing U Perform.
So, you know now to choose a Bovine collagen supplement, now all that’s left to do is get to the nitty gritty and pick out the perfect recovery supplement for you. And lucky for you, we pride ourselves here at U Perform by having a range of options for you to consider. But not only that, each one is like having a different tool for a different job; meaning you can build the most optimal recovery nutrition routine for you… and only you!
Below is an excerpt from another article available on the U Perform Knowledge Hub – check it out below and click the links if you would like to read the complete article!
Understanding which collagen product is right for you and that will suit your needs for training and competition is key to performing and recovering optimally every day. Whether you are completing your first ever parkrun, an already avid gym goer or experienced athlete, optimal recovery and nutrition can make or break your progress towards your goals.
But before we go any further…
Here’s 3 key considerations to keep in mind (in case you want a quick read):
- Bovine over Marine. The vast majority of peer reviewed studies on collagen supplementation are based on collagen products from a bovine source and it is from these studies that the specific collagen peptides we use here at U Perform are based on.
- Different tools for different jobs. Not all collagen is made equal, much to the dismay of many other brands who would have you believe otherwise. That’s why it’s important to select the right tool (peptide) for the right job. Each tissue, fibre in the human body is built differently and as such requires a different type of collagen to support them.
- Quality not quantity. In every collagen product we produce we ensure that we follow the science to not only deliver the right peptide for the right job, but also to deliver the correct dosage of collagen too.