Spend £50+ and save 5%. Use code MULTI5 at checkout
PatchWorks logo

Which is best: bovine collagen, marine collagen, or even vegan collagen!? And what’s the most effective way to take it?

by Laura Palmer

Considering taking a collagen supplement? Join the club! The UK collagen market is expected to grow from £21.5 million in 2023 to £30.4 million by 2028! Research shows consumers take collagen to help with everything from boosting protein levels to joint care, improving bone and gut health, and reducing inflammation and pain. By far the most popular reason though is: 'beauty from the within'. To enhance your complexion and help turn back the clock on wrinkles and declining skin volume. But should you be topping up your collagen with bovine collagen, marine collagen, or synthetic vegan collagen?

And once you've determined which type is best for you, there's another dilemma. How should you take it? Oral tablets or gels? Powders you dissolve into a drink? Via your food? Or by using a patch on your skin? Each method has different levels of effectiveness and suits different people. But considering how expensive some forms of collagen are – with many collagen oral gels setting you back around £30 for a 2-week supply (that's £780 a year!), it's crucial to do some delving and fully understand the different types of collagen and what research suggests is most beneficial.

Who should take collagen?

Collagen has become hot property in the wellness sector, with everyone from Jennifer Aniston to the ubiquitous Kardashians singing its praises. From youthful radiant skin, to stronger hair and nails. This must-have supplement is linked with a whole host of beauty benefits.

It's often the supplement women and men turn to if you're getting older and noticing changes in your skin. Women can lose up to 30% of collagen in the first five years after menopause! Plus declining oestrogen levels can leave skin thinner, nails brittle, and bones and joints creakier. And that's without factoring in skin-damaging lifestyle factors like smoking, sun exposure, and pollution. All of which can speed up the process even more.

Why is a collagen supplement helpful?

Taking a collagen supplement won’t prevent your collagen levels from dropping, but it can help to slow the process down. Studies have shown a daily dose of bovine collagen, marine collagen, etc can put the brakes on the body breaking down collagen by up to a third – well worth a go! And it's not just looking fresher that should have you reaching for the collagen.

Collagen is also one of the main proteins in cartilage. So collagen supplements help stimulate your body’s production of joint collagen too. This can help to ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis and improve joint, back, and knee pain – yay! There's also evidence to suggest collagen can also help to heal a leaky gut, reduce bloating, and improve IBS symptoms. The benefits really do go on and on.

Which is best: bovine collagen, marine collagen, or vegan collagen?

Marine collagen is a type 1 collagen derived from fish collagen peptides and is often touted as the most bioavailable (and therefore most effective) type of collagen. This is because it's readily absorbed by the gut. But if you choose to top up your collagen transdermally, with a patch like our Patch Aid Collagen Plus, this isn't an issue. And it's worth looking into the effectiveness of each type of collagen more deeply. Because it turns out the science says bovine collagen could be your best bet.

If you take a deep dive into collagen, marine collagen and bovine both contain type 1 collagen. But, bovine also contains type 3 collagen, which can be especially helpful for repairing muscles, blood vessels, and organs like the gut. Bonus benefits ahoy!

Even more interestingly, studies suggest that bovine collagen peptides are the closest match to human DNA. Their structure is also much closer to human collagen peptides. Makes sense, when you think about it: we're a lot closer to mammals than we are to fish! This similarity aids the bioavailability of bovine collagen and makes it much easier for our bodies to use and absorb this type of collagen. Perhaps why studies have shown it's particularly helpful for improving the condition of chronologically aged skin and can have a significant positive impact on skin collagen quality.

Really want to cover all bases?

It's worth investing in a supplement that contains type 2 collagen as well. This type of collagen is excellent for repairing connective tissue, reducing joint pain, has autoimmunity benefits, AND improves your skin health. So it's a must if you're looking for some of collagen's broader benefits.

Our Collagen Plus patch just so happens to contain all three and you can get yours by clicking here. Couldn't be easier!

And when it comes to vegan collagen, the jury's still out…

Because it turns out, unlike bovine collagen, marine collagen etc, it's not actually collagen! Plant-based collagen doesn't contain any collagen at all. Instead, it's packed with the amino acids needed for the production of collagen and vitamin C. Something that isn't always obvious unless you read the small print. This can present an issue because topping up these amino acids will only have a positive effect on your collagen levels if your body can still produce a decent amount of collagen. Something that declines with age and is hindered by things like pollution, smoking, and having a sedentary lifestyle.

What's the most effective way to take collagen?

You can't scroll through your socials or pick up a glossy magazine without being bombarded with different collagen brands competing for your custom. Impressive before and after photos can convince you that fashionable collagen gels are the way to go. But they come with a hefty price tag and can often taste unpleasant. Similarly, collagen powders make a lot of bold claims about their effectiveness, but can also be very pricey and pretty unappetising.

Most importantly, it's worth considering both these types of collagen are taken orally. Whether you've opted for bovine collagen, marine collagen, or another type, ingesting the collagen orally often means the collagen gets broken down by the body’s digestive processes before it can benefit your skin. This is because collagen is a huge molecule that often doesn’t make it through the intestinal barrier. A patch is a superior way to supplement because collagen patches offer slow release, transdermal delivery of the collagen, straight into the bloodstream. Avoiding the stomach and liver means much more of the collagen will make it into the body. Then it can be absorbed in areas that need repair the most.

How much collagen (marine collagen or bovine) do you need?

Studies have shown that you only need a very small daily dose of collagen to see a difference. Just 2.5 grams per day could benefit joint pain, skin health, and hydration. But if you opt for a patch then remember, you need even less than this, because these studies were conducted with oral supplements. As discussed, if you get your collagen in patch form, much more collagen is absorbed into your bloodstream, so you don't need to take such a high dose.

The Patch Aid Collagen Plus patch contains the ideal amount of collagen, plus vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, your other essential skin saviours. And if joint health is important to you, you'll be delighted to hear it also contains glucosamine and chondroitin – ideal for improving joint pain and stiffness. One patch with everything you need to get all the collagen benefits the easy and cost-effective way. Get your hands on yours here.