Ribeye steaks, hamburgers, and meatloaf are just some of the everyday beef dishes that pop into mind. But did you know that the humble cow also provides another source of nutritional goodness? Two words: bovine collagen — or what’s commonly known as beef collagen.
We’ll explore what bovine collagen is and its numerous health benefits. We also share whether bovine collagen is better than marine collagen and how to use the former for optimal wellness.
What Is Bovine Collagen?
Bovine collagen (or beef collagen) refers to collagen extracted from the tissues, cartilage, bones, and hides of cattle.
At this point in time, you may be wondering, “Why do I need to consume collagen from cows if my body already produces collagen on its own?”
Yes, you are right — collagen is naturally synthesized in your body. What you may not realize, though, is that your body’s ability to generate collagen gradually declines with age. Given that collagen makes up 25-30% of all the proteins in your body, it’s in your best interest to replenish your body’s dwindling supply.
This is where bovine collagen comes in handy. Its nutritional profile of nonessential amino acids like glycine and proline is similar to those present in your body. What’s more, bovine collagen usually contains a mix of Type I and III collagen present in the human skin, bone, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.
2 Forms of Bovine Collagen You Can Get on the Daily
To the masses, bovine collagen may sound like a hard-to-find item at your local grocery store. But chances are that you’ve come across it.
Here are two forms of bovine collagen you may have heard of — and probably eaten before, too:
- Whole foods, like bone broth, are rich in bovine collagen.
- Bovine collagen supplements, like hydrolyzed collagen peptides (short amino acid chains) and gelatin (partially hydrolyzed collagen).
When it comes to getting your fill of bovine collagen, some of you may think that bone broths are the only way to go.
But a 2019 study explained that specific amino acid concentrations in a standard bone broth recipe were actually lower than that in collagen supplements. Also, different recipes meant there is “a large variability in the amino acid content” of bone broth.
In other words, depending on the recipe you use, you may not necessarily get enough of certain amino acids with bone broths as you would with a carefully formulated bovine collagen supplement.
Does Bovine Collagen Really Work? 7 Benefits for Scientific Proof
Does bovine collagen really work for the skin? Can it help relieve osteoarthritis? Will it improve your sleep quality? If you’re wondering whether bovine collagen really works to improve your well-being, read on for the scientific scoop.
1. It Rejuvenates Your Skin
Did you know that the collagen content in your skin — the protein responsible for smoothness, elasticity, and moisture — decreases at 1% per year once you’ve reached your 20s?
That’s why bovine collagen supplementation is vital to your skin’s health. By topping up your body’s declining collagen stores, collagen supplements are scientifically proven to:
- Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a smoother texture
- Boost the skin’s hydration levels
- Enhance skin elasticity
- Speed up wound healing
- Lower skin inflammation
Some people may have tried topical collagen skincare products to tackle the above beauty concerns. But the collagen molecule is simply too large to bypass the skin’s barrier and only promises localized effectiveness.
Meanwhile, ingesting hydrolyzed collagen peptides gives your body the best chance of absorbing what it needs to holistically improve your skin complexion.
2. It May Relieve Joint Discomfort
Osteoarthritis is a painful joint disorder that affects many people worldwide. Due to the age-related wear and tear of the cartilage surrounding the bone joints, you may experience joint stiffness, aches, and pains. Needless to say, you struggle with limited mobility that prevents you from doing the things you need and want.
But science may have the answer to a better quality of life among those with osteoarthritis. In a 2015 study, test subjects that were supplemented with bovine collagen peptides for 13 weeks experienced significantly less discomfort than those who didn’t.
A recent 2021 systematic review also shared similar findings after analyzing 15 randomized controlled trials. Daily collagen supplementation:
- Significantly lessened joint pain and improved overall joint functionality
- Decreased post-workout muscle soreness for quicker recovery
- Improved overall body composition and strength
The same review highlighted that combining collagen peptides supplementation with exercise may help manage degenerative bone and joint disorders.
3. It Supports Muscle Growth and Strength
Because collagen is one of the key building blocks in your body, bovine collagen is essential to your muscle growth and strength goals.
Here’s how it works: Bovine collagen contains two amino acids called glycine and arginine. These two molecules are needed for creatine synthesis in your body. For those who may not know, creatine is highly valued for its ability to supercharge energy production. It’s the quintessential organic compound to fuel you through high-intensity exercises and maybe even break your PR.
For scientific proof, a 2003 study noted that oral supplementation with creatine raised lean body mass and muscle strength through resistance and high-intensity training. Presumably, bovine collagen will increase your body’s creatine content to help achieve similar athletic benefits.
Last but not least, these favorable changes aren’t limited to the young and fit. In a recent 2021 study, 97 middle-aged, untrained men ingested 15 grams of collagen peptides, placebo, or whey protein. They also completed a 12-week resistance training program.
At the end of the study, the researchers noted that the collagen group showed a “significantly greater increase in fat free mass and a decrease in fat mass” than the placebo group. Also, the collagen group observed more pronounced positive improvements in body composition than the whey protein group.
4. It Boosts Your Gut Health
You may have heard of collagen as a natural remedy for better gut health. Collagen peptides correct intestinal barrier dysfunction, a pathological feature of various gastrointestinal conditions like leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
What’s more, bovine collagen supplements are usually available in the form of collagen hydrolysate, aka hydrolyzed collagen peptides. These short-chain amino acids are easier on your digestive system, so you’re less likely to become bloated or experience other forms of stomach discomfort.
5. It Speeds Up Wound Healing
Bovine collagen also does wonders for the occasional cuts and scrapes.
Scientific evidence indicates that beef collagen supplements speed up wound healing and require fewer dressing changes. Bonus: The supplements did not trigger any allergic reactions or wound-related infections.
6. It Bolsters Nail and Hair Health
If you’re suffering from brittle nails and lackluster hair, science suggests that you may want to give bovine collagen a try.
In a 2017 study analyzing the effectiveness of collagen on nail health, test subjects consumed a daily dose of 2.5 grams of collagen peptides for 24 weeks. Here are the jaw-dropping results:
- A 12% increase in nail growth rate,
- A 42% fall in the frequency of nail breakage, and,
- Lasting nail improvements for up to a month after the treatment
Another 2012 study detailed the findings of using collagen supplements for hair growth:
- Significantly improved overall hair volume, scalp coverage, and hair thickness after 90 days
- Enhanced hair shine as well as skin moisture retention and smoothness after 180 days
So, it turns out you can really eat your way to beauty with bovine collagen.
7. It Promotes Better Sleep at Night
People with sleep issues often resort to melatonin aids. Unfortunately, studies have shown that these supplements often misreport their actual melatonin content. In a 2017 study, 31 over-the-counter (OTC) melatonin supplements were tested. The researchers found they contained anywhere from 83% less to 478% more melatonin than what’s stated on their product labels.
Given these shocking discrepancies, it’s in your best interest to look toward other natural sleep aids. One good option would be bovine collagen.
If you recall, beef collagen contains glycine, which has been proven to improve sleep quality when you take it just before your bedtime. Glycine lowers your body’s core body temperature, mimicking your natural physiological reaction to sleep.
Is Bovine Collagen Better Than Marine Collagen?
If you’re undecided on bovine collagen vs. marine collagen, we list the pros and cons of each collagen source below.
First up: Marine collagen. It’s usually sourced from the skins and scales of fish and shellfish, which may be unsuitable for people with shellfish allergies. Marine collagen usually contains a mix of Types I and II collagen and tends to be on the pricier side. That said, if you’re on a pescatarian diet (you only eat plant-based foods and seafood), then marine collagen supplements will likely fit what you are looking for as everyday nutritional support.
Moving over to bovine collagen, it usually contains Types I and III collagen. Beef collagen supplements can be either grass-fed or grain-fed — we highly recommend the former for its superior quality and ethical production method. You may also be happy to hear that bovine collagen is usually less expensive, making it a value-for-money nutritional aid.
No matter which collagen source you go with, rest assured that both bovine collagen and marine collagen are highly bioavailable. They are easily digestible in your body for complete nutrient absorption. What’s more, both forms of collagen supplements usually don’t have any beefy or fishy odor, so they are more palatable to your taste buds.
What Are the Side Effects of Bovine Collagen?
Even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate dietary supplements like bovine collagen, the good news is that collagen supplements are generally recognized as safe (GRAS). The only side effects you need to worry about are when you take too much collagen.
If you’re concerned about potential digestive issues (like bloating), choose bovine collagen supplements in the form of hydrolyzed collagen peptides. Their small molecular size means that your digestive system has an easier time breaking them down for complete absorption within your body.
Also, make sure the supplement you pick has a relatively clean ingredient list that excludes fillers, additives, and artificial sweeteners. You also want to steer clear of any supplements that include hormones, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), pesticides, and antibiotics in their ingredient list.
For peace of mind, only purchase third-party-verified bovine collagen. These are supplements guaranteed to contain exactly what their ingredient lists proclaim. Besides that, check if the product is packaged in a factory compliant with the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Such certifications assure you that the bovine collagen will likely have consistent quality, freshness, and safety from the start till the end of the production process.
If you’re looking for a bovine collagen supplement that ticks all of the above boxes, try Zen Principle’s Beef Collagen Peptides Powder. (We also have bovine collagen gelatin for those who prefer it.)
To get the most out of our bovine collagen supplement, take it in the recommended doses. It’s also a good idea to start small at a low dosage if it’s your first time trying out beef collagen. Most importantly, always consult your doctor whenever you add a new supplement to your diet, especially for those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or currently on medication.
How To Use Bovine Collagen for Optimal Wellness
Ready to supercharge your health and wellness with bovine collagen? As you’ll see, the general rule of using bovine collagen in your diet is that almost anything goes.
- Beverages: A scoop of bovine collagen goes well with your morning coffee, green smoothie, or orange juice. The list of beverages that you can add bovine collagen to is endless, so experiment with your creative juices and let your taste buds be the judge. If you need some inspiration, check out our smoothie recipes.
- Baked goods: Whether it’s homemade banana bread or protein bars, bovine collagen will amp up the nutritional factor of your baked goods. Plus, our unflavored collagen powders mean you don’t have to worry too much about the collagen altering the taste of the finished product.
- Fruit bowls: Another creative culinary use of bovine collagen is to sprinkle some in your fruit bowls. These collagen powders make a great alternative to the usual nut butter, seeds, and spices as toppings. Bonus: The added protein means you’ll feel full for longer.
Of course, the use of bovine collagen in your everyday meals isn’t limited to the above choices. Because our collagen powders can dissolve in both hot and ice-cold liquids, it’s likely that your taste buds will never get bored.
Bovine Collagen: Everyone’s Favorite Supplement
As you can see, bovine collagen is one versatile dietary supplement that covers many of your health needs from head to toe, in and out. Between leveling up your fitness goals, boosting your gut health, and promoting better sleep, it’s easy to see why it’s everyone’s favorite supplement.
If you need some bovine collagen in your life, check out the top-quality ones at Zen Principle today: