It seems like collagen is the latest buzzword on everybody's lips, lauded by beauty experts and celebrity fans alike as an elixir of youth, health, and vitality. But when you look at the source of many popular collagen products, you might be surprised to see it often comes from cows! So why does some collagen come from beef, and why do we use it?
As you may know, collagen is the main and most abundant protein in your body, forming the structure for your skin, muscles, joints, and ligaments. This super-powered protein is also found in animals and fish, and it can be extracted and used to help us humans restore our own collagen supplies.
We naturally lose collagen as we age, resulting in skin that is thinner and more prone to wrinkles, sagging, and age spots. This loss of collagen also affects the health of our joints, muscles, and tissues. Collagen loss is accelerated by external factors like sun damage, pollutants, poor diet, alcohol, smoking, and hormonal changes (especially menopause).
That's where bovine collagen comes in – in recipes and supplements designed to restore your skin's health, reduce wrinkles, and seriously up your glow factor. With celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley jumping on the bone broth bandwagon, it sure is tempting to try it for ourselves.
But does it live up to the hype? Let's take a closer look!
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What Is Bovine Collagen?
Bovine collagen, or beef collagen, is the collagen that has been extracted from the bones, cartilage, and hides of bovine species. Bovine species include yak, antelope, bison, water buffalo, and cows, but when it comes to bovine collagen supplements, it's mainly cows that we're talking about.
The protein is extracted from the bones, hides, connective tissue, and cartilage of cows by boiling them in water, before being dried and powdered for use in either foods or supplements (more on this in a minute).
Bovine collagen is quite similar to the collagen found in the human body, making it a covetable option for anyone looking to replenish their own collagen supplies for health and beauty reasons.
Beef collagen is rich in the amino acids glycine and proline, which are the two essential amino acids for collagen synthesis in the human body. Glycine is an amino acid that plays an important role in DNA and creating healthy body cells, and it is also one of the essential amino acids for creating creatine – a protein that aids muscle growth.
Types of Bovine Collagen
There are a couple of different methods of extracting and processing bovine collagen, making end products that are suitable for different uses. Let's take a closer look:
Gelatin, that ingredient responsible for your wobbly bowls of Jell-O, is a cooked form of bovine collagen. Yes, that's right, your colorful dessert often comes from cows!
Gelatin is made by boiling the bones, hides, connective tissue, and other often-discarded parts of cows until collagen has been extracted. The resulting bovine collagen is then filtered, water is evaporated, and the collagen is dried into sheets or powder.
Gelatin is most commonly used as a food additive to create a gel consistency (hello, Jell-O). It is also often used to add volume and texture to foods without adding calories. You'll find it in puddings, ice creams, yogurts, gummy bears, and marshmallows, to name just a few.
This method of boiling cow bones also feeds into the bone broth trend, where people make their own soups from cow bones. These broths are rich in gelatin, and many believe they can provide some nutrients to your skin, hair, muscles, joints, and more. However, research suggests that homemade bone broth may not be as effective as we'd like it to be and that the alternative option – a hydrolyzed collagen supplement – is a better way to go. 1
Is there collagen in bone broth? RenewSkin Inc. investigates.
This second type of bovine collagen is the type you are most likely to find in health and beauty supplements, as well as in topical skincare products. Hydrolyzed beef collagen is collagen that has been extracted from cows and put through a process called hydrolysis.
Collagen in its native state is far too large to be absorbed by your digestive system. Hydrolysis is the process that breaks these large collagen molecules down into nano-sized particles called peptides. When ingested, this hydrolyzed collagen in the form of peptides is able to quickly penetrate through the intestinal wall and into your bloodstream, where it works to trigger your body's natural processes of collagen production.
Hydrolyzed beef collagen is used primarily as a food supplement to boost your body's collagen content. These collagen supplements are most popular in the beauty and fitness industries, and they often come in capsules and powders that can be dissolved in hot or cold liquids, or in premixed liquid drinks.
You might also find hydrolyzed collagen in topical skincare products like serums, face masks, or night creams. However, when applied topically, the dermis may still struggle to absorb collagen properly.
What is Bovine Collagen Used For?
So what exactly can bovine collagen supplements do for you? Let's take a closer look at the benefits of collagen supplements and products:
Improves Skin Elasticity & Thickness
Collagen is the 'it girl' of anti-aging supplements today, and for good reason. It's the number one protein that forms the structure of your skin, and its decline over time is the reason your skin begins to wrinkle and thin.
By replenishing your supplies of this essential protein through supplements containing bovine collagen, you can restore some strength and flexibility to your skin. You don't have to take our word for it either – multiple scientific studies have shown that oral supplementation with collagen hydrolysate (peptides) does improve skin elasticity, hydration, thickness, and density. 2, 3
A collagen supplement is a great option for smoothing out fine lines, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, improving skin moisture, and lifting sagging skin for a more youthful, taut complexion.
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Aids Wound Healing
Collagen supplements work by activating a 'wound repair response' in the body. When you eat or drink hydrolyzed peptides, they are absorbed into your bloodstream where they trigger specialized cells called fibroblasts to produce more collagen, which is helpful for wound healing and strengthening your skin.
This effect isn't only helpful for wounds, it also helps get rid of stretch marks and reduce the appearance of scars and cellulite.
It also strengthens your collagen supplies in the dermis, resulting in plumper, stronger skin which, in turn, is less prone to wrinkling and sagging.
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Improves Muscle Health
The reason that collagen powders and pills are loved by the fitness industry is their ability to speed up muscle repair and aid muscle recovery after training.
Since between 1 and 10% of your muscle tissue is made up of collagen fibers, it makes sense that this is an essential nutrient to maintaining muscle health and strength. This isn't just important for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, however, the amino acids in collagen can also help anyone suffering from muscular degeneration that comes with age – a universal part of aging known as sarcopenia. 4
Because the most abundant amino acid in a bovine collagen supplement is glycine, an element essential to both collagen and creatine synthesis, it has a double-whammy benefit of helping your body to create not one but two of the proteins essential to muscle health.
Relieves Joint Pain
Cartilage is the essential cushioning in your body that protects your joints from harm, absorbing shock from the impact of walking, running, or other movements. Cartilage is, as you may have guessed, made up of collagen fibers, amino acids, and other proteins.
As we age and our collagen supplies decline, our joint health often suffers some of the biggest impacts and our risk of developing osteoarthritis increases.
Studies have shown that collagen hydrolysate, or hydrolyzed collagen supplements, are an effective way to treat osteoarthritis, as they strengthen cartilage and add more of this essential cushioning, which in turn can relieve joint pain and improve overall joint health. 5
Better Gut Health
The link between dietary collagen and digestive health is strong, as hydrolyzed collagen has a multitude of functions that can improve gut health.
First of all, collagen and the many amino acids it contains can help the digestion process, assisting the breakdown of other proteins and carbohydrates in the intestines. These amino acids can also help repair the stomach and intestinal linings and reduce inflammation, which means that collagen supplements can help ease the symptoms of inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and leaky gut syndrome.
Lastly, collagen regulates the production of acid in the stomach, which can help reduce nasty incidences of heartburn, prevent stomach ulcers, and help treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What's the best food for skin? RenewSkin Inc. explains.
Last but not least, you can also consume bovine collagen to help you sleep better!
This is because collagen is rich in glycine, an amino acid proven to improve sleep quality, especially for people who suffer from disturbed sleep patterns or insomnia. 6
Glycine works as a natural sleep aid thanks to its calming effect on the brain, regulation of blood sugar levels, and its ability to reduce your overall body temperature, which promotes deeper sleep and leaves you feeling better rested come morning time. So sipping on collagen and its amino acids an hour before bedtime can help you get your much-needed beauty sleep! 7
All of this also ties back into the beauty benefits of collagen supplements, as better and deeper sleep gives your skin cells more time and opportunity to rest and ,repair, which in turn helps reduce inflammation, puffiness, and under-eye circles and promotes a healthier, more youthful complexion.
More helpful reading:
Choosing Collagen Supplements: Is Bovine Collagen Right For You?
With all of these amazing health and beauty benefits, you're probably wondering how you can get in on the action. Before you start, there are a few things to consider when choosing a collagen supplement.
First of all, it's important to remember that bovine is not the only type of collagen out there. While bovine collagen, particularly grass-fed collagen, can have an array of health and beauty benefits, it may not be the most efficient or best option.
Research suggests that marine collagen is in fact a better, safer, more efficient, and more sustainable option than bovine collagen. 8
Marine collagen is collagen that has been extracted from fish skin and bones. This might already sound more appealing if you prefer avoiding red meat in your day-to-day lifestyle, but that's not its only benefit! Marine collagen is also becoming more and more popular in the beauty industry for its proven anti-aging results for skin and as a more sustainable alternative to beef products.
Is marine collagen good for you? RenewSkin Inc. has the answers!
Bovine Collagen vs. Marine Collagen
So what's the difference between bovine collagen and marine collagen, and why does research suggest that marine is best? Well, there are three main things to think about when purchasing a supplement: bioavailability, the types of collagen you really need, and sustainability. Here's the scoop:
Bioavailability is all about how quickly and easily your body can use the collagen that you have just ingested or applied.
As we have mentioned, collagen in its native state is much too large a molecule to be absorbed into your bloodstream, whether that's through the intestinal wall or the dermis. Hydrolysis is the process that reduces the molecular weight of these molecules down into a more usable state.
There is a growing body of research that suggests that marine collagen does, in fact, have a much better bioavailability than bovine. This is because marine collagen begins at a lower molecular weight than bovine, so the hydrolysis process can make it much smaller and more easily used by the body. Research suggests that marine collagen absorbs up to 1.5 times faster than bovine collagen. 9
So, although bovine collagen can offer powerful health benefits, marine collagen is a clear winner in terms of how quickly and easily your body can use it. So if you want to get the best results, fast, and without waste, then marine collagen is the way to go!
Tried & Tested Marine Collagen by Taut
Taut Liquid Collagen is our expertly formulated supplement containing a potent 13,000 mg of hydrolyzed marine collagen peptides, which are in nano-sized particles designed to reach your bloodstream almost immediately. This means that as soon as you sip our delicious orange drink, your body gets straight to work on creating more collagen to enhance your skin.
We've combined our hydrolyzed collagen with 6 other skin-loving ingredients; elastin peptides, hyaluronic acid, grape seed extract, vitamin C, ceramide, and vitamin B6. This dream team works synergistically to plump, hydrate, and smooth out your skin. Antioxidants like grape seed extract protect your skin against the elements, brightening and lifting your complexion. Hyaluronic acid acts as a super moisture magnet to plump and hydrate, while vitamin C supports your body's natural collagen synthesis processes.
Just one bottle a day for three weeks can have drastic anti-aging impacts on your complexion, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin moisture and elasticity, and maximizing radiance.
So what are you waiting for? Ready, sip, glow!
What are the benefits of a liquid collagen drink? RenewSkin Inc. explains.
Types of Collagen
When it comes to choosing collagen supplements (and topical skin care products), it's important to remember that not all collagen in the body is equal.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and there are actually around 16 types. However, just three main types make up approximately 80-90% of the collagen in your body. 10
Type I – the main and most important type that forms the structure of your skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, hair, nails, and teeth
Type II – more loosely-packed fibers that form protective cushioning for your joints
Type III - collagen found in your muscles, arteries, and organs
Bovine collagen contains mostly types I and III collagen. Because type III collagen is the main type needed for healthy muscles, bovine collagen's combination of types I and III collagen is a popular choice for fitness supplements.
Collagen from marine sources, on the other hand, is made up entirely of type I collagen, making it a more potent option for skin and hair health. There is also slightly more glycine in marine collagen than in bovine collagen, making it a great option if you're trying to improve your sleep, too!
Get Your Collagen Fix On The Go With Taut Collagen Powder
If you're looking for a quick hit of collagen rejuvenation and the health benefits that come with it, look no further than Taut Premium Collagen Powder. These convenient collagen sachets are designed to complement your busy lifestyle, replenishing your skin collagen, whenever and wherever you go.
Each sachet of our hydrolyzed collagen powder contains 1,300 mg of marine collagen peptides for healthy skin, hair, and nails. We've combined this collagen goodness with hyaluronic acid and grape seed extract to create a triple-action formula that strengthens, repairs, and hydrates with ease.
Just dissolve a sachet in a glass of water or pop it directly on your tongue and let the delicious powder melt away. It's a simple, delicious, and effective way to rejuvenate your skin throughout the day!
Last but certainly not least is the question of environmental impact.
As you may know, beef farming is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in the U.S. This is a major driving force in climate change, and reducing our intake of red meat and bovine products can have a positive impact on the environment. 11, 12
Marine collagen, on the other hand, is typically sourced from wild-caught fish from oceans, rivers, and lakes. With sustainable fishing procedures in place, marine collagen has a lower carbon footprint than bovine collagen, and it is a better option for any environmentally conscious consumer.
Bovine Collagen vs. Marine Collagen: The Verdict
When you're considering bovine collagen vs. marine collagen, you can rest assured that both types can provide health benefits. Bovine collagen contains types I and III collagen, making it a good option for fitness supplements. But when it comes to fighting skin aging, marine collagen is the clear winner, containing 100% type I collagen for a more potent hit of specific collagen peptides for skin health.
Marine collagen, overall, has a better bioavailability (absorption rate), meaning that it can get to work faster and more effectively.
Marine collagen also carries less risk of toxins and disease, and you are less likely to find antibiotics, steroids, or pesticides in marine collagen. Bovine collagen is also linked to concerns with disease outbreaks (such as mad cow disease), as beef products carry the risk of transmitting diseases to humans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, has naturally placed regulations on the animals used in beef farming and the bovine collagen industry, in order to minimize this risk. 13
There is also evidence that marine collagen has fewer inflammatory effects than bovine collagen. 14
Of course, this doesn't mean that all bovine collagen products are bad! But if you do decide to use a bovine collagen supplement, try to opt for grass-fed collagen. Grass-fed collagen, rather than grain-fed, means that the cows who produced your collagen supplements and products were healthier.
Grain-fed cows tend to have worse immune systems than grass-fed, and this is often offset by the use of antibiotics that filter into the bones and cartilage, which then sneak into your collagen supplements. Grass-fed collagen is also less likely to contain toxins, parabens, or steroids. So check that your bovine collagen label specifies that the cows have been grass-fed, and if it's organic, even better!
Transform Your Skin With Collagen You Can Trust
If you're looking for the right collagen supplements to revitalize your skin and reduce the signs of aging, look no further than our Intense Transformation Program.
This is your new favorite skincare bundle containing a 24-day supply of our Taut Liquid Collagen, which you can use every time your skin needs a little boost. A daily dose of Taut Liquid Collagen provides your body with a potent boost of 100% type I collagen that kicks your body's collagen production process into high gear.
With an added hit of elastin peptides, hyaluronic acid, grape seed extract, vitamin C, ceramide, and vitamin B6 in each and every bottle, Taut Liquid Collagen works hard to improve your skin quality and texture from the inside out.
Taut's collagen supplements provide the perfect potency of marine-sourced peptides, which work to fight decreased collagen production and the signs of aging that come with it. Our supplements offer the best of the best when it comes to bioavailability, potency, and sustainability – you can rest assured that all of our collagen is sourced from red snapper, wild-caught in the Indian Ocean.
After 24 days of Taut Liquid Collagen, you can achieve firmer, fuller, and more radiant skin, with visibly reduced fine lines and wrinkles. And no one has to know your secret!
Still not sure? Check out our reviews and some impressive before and afters to see what Taut can do for you!