Marine (a.k.a. fish) collagen
- Sourced from fish skin and scales
- Rich in type I collagen
- Rich in glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline
Bovine (a.k.a. cow) collagen
- Sourced from cow hides, bones, and muscles
- Rich in type I and type III collagen
- Rich in glycine and proline
- Helps produce creatine, which is beneficial for building muscle
Aviary (a.k.a. chicken) collagen
- sourced from chicken bones, cartilage, and tissues
- contains type II collagen
Porcine (a.k.a. pig) collagen
- Sourced from pig skin
- Sourced from eggshells and egg whites
- Rich in type I, but also includes types II, IV, and X
Marine and bovine collagen both perform well in studies and get similar results, primarily because both are bioavailable and dissolve great in liquids.
For vegetarians and everyone else who consumes eggs: Egg whites are high in both lysine and proline, so adding more egg whites to your diet could help support your body’s natural production of collagen. Collagen-like proteins have been found in the eggshell membranes of hens, as well. Vegetarian collagen comes from chicken egg whites and eggshells, which offers type I and type V collagen (type V is found in relatively minimal amounts, in hair and placenta mostly, so it’s not one you need to focus on, but doesn’t hurt to consume it if you prefer vegetarian powders).
There is no direct source of consumable collagen for vegans, as collagen is an inherently animal product. Vegan collagen does exist, made from plants that are good for the skin. Many of those on the market include extra vitamins and minerals. The downside is that they may also contain sugars, dextrose compounds, and even preservatives or fillers.
Vegans (and even those who are able to take animal-derived collagen) have still other ways to help their body’s collagen levels flourish: One is by eating foods that help stimulate the body’s production of the vital protein. Another is to consume plant foods that are packed with hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring acid found in the human body that acts as a lubrication agent for our hair and skin. Hyaluronic acid has properties similar to those of animal collagen, and plays a critical role in skin health, with its remarkable ability to bind to 1,000 times its weight in moisture. My favorite source of hyaluronic acid is seaweed: Koreans eat roasted seaweed at almost every meal and I believe it to be a powerful superfood. Other hyaluronic acid and collagen production–stimulating foods include green vegetables for vitamin C; red vegetables, such as tomatoes, for lycopene; mushrooms; and nuts.
I suggest trying each type of collagen source and seeing which kind your body tells you it feels strongest on. Also, listen to your body and see which is the easiest on your stomach.