Collagen has ruled the roost in the beauty world in the past decade. Specifically, marine collagen in Australia has been making significant headway as a reliable source of collagen. In the next few years in Australia, marine collagen sales are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.4% compared to the sales growth rate of bovine collagen at 4.6%.

Yet, there is still ambiguity about marine collagen and its benefits. This article will clarify your doubts and list some of the benefits of marine collagen over bovine collagen.

What is collagen?

Collagen is a type of protein that makes up 33% of the total body protein and 75% of the dry weight of skin. Collagen helps to repair and maintain joints, muscles, and skin. As the body’s ability to produce collagen decreases over time, it is beneficial to substitute body collagen with an external supplement, such as marine collagen.

Where does the external collagen come from?

The most common external source of collagen is bovine or porcine tissue. Due to dietary restrictions, many people – the nearly 3% of Australians who practice Islam or the almost 2% who practice Hinduism – cannot consume porcine or bovine collagen. A recent, improved alternative is marine collagen – which is hydrolyzed collagen sourced from fish. Hydrolyzation breaks the collagen into dissolvable amino acids for easy absorption by the body. In this form, marine collagen is unflavoured, contains no artificial colors, dairy, sugar, or gluten.

Is it safe to consume?

The Food Standards Australia New Zealand, that is, the FSANZ has laid down a code for Food Standards. Companies making health-related claims regarding their products need to conduct a scientific, systematic review before making such a claim and inform FSANZ. The best suppliers of marine collagen notify their products and benefits to FSANZ after completing hundreds of meticulous studies.

What are the benefits vis-a-vis non-marine collagen?

  1. Marine collagen is more readily absorbed: 

Studies have, in fact, shown that the human body absorbs marine collagen more efficiently than bovine or porcine collagen. This is attributed to the smaller particle size of the collagen peptides in marine collagen.

  1. Safer for biomedical use:

Studies show that marine collagen is safer for pharmaceutical and biomedical uses. They consider a major factor that fish are generally not susceptible to transmittable diseases such as Prions disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy). Collagen sourced from cows infected with BSE will risk infecting humans with the deadly Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Although Australia and New Zealand are strict non BSE zones and import from countries with an anti-BSE mechanism, imported bovine collagen can still pose the risk of diseases.

  1. Significantly less damaging to the environment:

Cattle farms raise a set of well known environmental issues. Native vegetation is cleared out for pastures; poor soil management leads to sediment run-off in rivers, affecting the sensitive Great Barrier Reef. Additionally, cattle are significant emitters of greenhouse gases. Bovine collagen, being a product of the same supply chain, poses the same set of issues. 

Cultivating and harvesting fish biomass, on the other hand, is significantly less damaging to the environment. Scores of by-catch organisms, such as undersized fish, and sponges do not make it to the market. They can instead be used for collagen production.

If you have found it difficult to choose between bovine collagen and marine collagen in Australia, the above pointers should make the task easier for you. With a great set of health benefits and little to no known side effects, incorporating marine collagen in your diet is an excellent way to improve the health of your skin, hair and nails.

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