Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in your body that helps provide a structure to your skin and improves bone health. It has been gaining a lot of attention lately due to its presence in nutritional supplements and cosmetic products. In this article, we explore what collagen is and how it can help you. Ready to dive in?
What is Collagen?
Collagen makes up one-third of the protein in a human body. It is a form of hard and fibrous protein that helps in building bones, skin, ligaments, and muscles. Collagen can be better explained as the glue that holds your body together. Made up of amino acids, collagen contains glycine, proline, arginine, and hydroxyproline - they help with various important functions, such as immunity, wound healing, heart and liver health, and skin care.
Types of Collagen
The human body contains around 16 different types of collagen, and they can be further divided into 4 types. Let’s take a look at them below.
- Type I: 90 percent of our body’s collagen is made up of this type of collagen - which is densely packed fibers. It provides a structure to our skin, bones, cartilage, teeth, and connective tissues.
- Type II: The second type of collagen is made up of loosely packed fibers and it is mainly found in our soft or elastic cartilages, that help cushion the joints.
- Type III: The third type supports the structure of your muscles, arteries, and other organs.
- Type IV: The fourth type is what forms the outer layers of our skin.
The important thing to note here is that, as our body ages, we start to produce less collagen and also of lower quality. This is what results in the visible signs of ageing, such as wrinkles and less firm and supple skin. Our cartilage also starts to weaken as we age, due to the lack of collagen.References:
- A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study, Liane Bolke, Gerrit Schlippe, Joachim Gerß, and Werner Voss, Nutrients, 2019, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102494, (https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/10/2494)
- The Collagen Family, Sylvie Ricard-Blum, Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology, 2011, doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a004978, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3003457/)
- Collagen Structure And Stability, Matthew D. Shoulders and Ronald T. Raines, Annual Review of Biochemistry, 2010, doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.77.032207.120833, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2846778/)