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Collagen: Types, Benefits, Functions and More

Team AckoOct 14, 2022

Collagen makes up about 30% of the protein in your body. It is a protein found in your skin, muscles, bones, connective tissue, and organs. What does collagen do?

It:

  • Provides structure, elasticity, and support

  • Forms a protective lining in organs

  • Helps in the formation of skin and new cells and helps replace dead skin cells

  • Makes up the structure and framework of cells as it is a structural protein

Keep reading to learn about the different types of collagen.

Collagen

Contents

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What Are the Types of Collagen? 

Collagen is made up of different amino acids. These amino acids together form fibres of protein in the form of a triple helix structure. There are about 28 different types of collagen. These types differ based on how the molecules are assembled, and where the collagen is present in the body. 

TYPE I

Type I collagen comprises around 90% of the total collagen in your body. It is present in most tissues, including the tendons, skin, bones, and connective tissues. It is made up of tightly packed fibres.

It has a lot of elasticity and firmness. When this type of collage begins to wear out, it usually shows on your skin in the form of wrinkles, and lines. 

TYPE II

Type II collagen is mainly present in the cartilage. It has more loosely wound fibres as compared to Type I. This is one of the types ofcollagen that provides supportive and protective cushioning in the cartilage of your bones and your joints. 

TYPE III

This type of collagen is usually present with Type I. It is found in your muscles, organs, and blood vessels. It is also found in specific connective tissues in the liver, spleen, uterus, and other organs.

TYPE IV

Type IV collagen does not form a triple-helix structure like the above-mentioned types. It forms a web-like structure. This type is present in the thin layer that lines cells and gives cells their structure. It is also found in the skin and specific internal organs. 

TYPE V

Type V collagen is present in your cells' surfaces and hair. It is a special kind of collagen that forms cells that make up a placenta in a pregnant woman's uterus. 

What Are the Benefits of Collagen?

Collagen has various benefits for your body, whether naturally present or in collagen supplements. These benefits include the following: 

Stronger Bones

Collagen helps boost the density of your bones. As you grow older, your bone density reduces, and your bones become more brittle. This means they can get damaged quickly and take more time to heal. Collagen can support bone density and slow down this process of ageing. It also helps in the process of producing new bone tissue. 

Better Skin

Collagen improves your skin by reducing wrinkles and lines. It makes your skin smoother and gives it elasticity, which helps prevent wrinkles and ageing. It also keeps it firm and prevents it from losing its structure. Collagen can also help keep your skin hydrated and supple. 

Hair Texture and Health

Collagen can contribute to hair texture and health. It can improve your hair's thickness and make it stronger and less brittle. This helps prevent hair breakage and damage. It also helps prevent hair thinning and hair loss. As you age and your collagen begins to degrade, your hair can grow thinner with reduced scalp coverage. 

Healthy Nails

Collagen helps promote healthy nails and makes your nails more robust and less brittle. It can promote healthy and stronger nail growth with less chipped and broken nails. 

Helps Relieve Joint Pain

Collagen helps support the structure of your cartilage and cushions your joints. It can help improve joint pain and discomfort by enhancing this cushioning. As you age, the production of this protein in your body reduces, and you may develop conditions like osteoarthritis.

Collagen supplements can help reduce the pain and stiffness in the joints caused by osteoarthritis. 

What Are the Functions of Collagen In the Body?

Collagen plays many vital functions in the body. These include the following:

  • It provides structural support, firmness, and strength to different parts of the body.

  • It helps in the formation of new skin cells and the removal of dead skin cells.

  • It provides a protective lining for organs, particularly internal organs.

  • It provides elasticity and strength to your skin and gives it a supportive structure.

  • It helps in the process of blood clotting.

What Are the Signs of Reducing Collagen? 

With age, collagen in your body reduces or degrades. The signs that the collagen in your body is decreasing include the following:

1. Wrinkled or Droopy Skin

When your skin begins to show wrinkles, lines, signs of drooping, or losing its structure, it indicates that the collagen in your body is reducing. This can also manifest as hollowing around your eyes and cheekbones. 

2. Weakening of Muscles and Muscle Aches

When your muscles start to weaken or shrink, it can be a sign that the collagen is reducing. This is because collagen forms a part of the muscle connective tissue and structure. It can also lead to muscle aches because there is less cushioning and less structural support for the weight. 

3. Stiff Joints and Joint Pain

Since collagen contributes to the cartilage in joints and tendons, reduction of it can result in joint stiffness and pain.

This is because the protein loss causes the cartilage to wear out. It can also lead to loss of bone and reduced bone density, which causes these symptoms. There can be a greater risk of joint damage and bone damage. 

4. Digestive Issues 

Although digestive issues are not usually associated with collagen, in some instances, they can indicate reduced collagen, which causes thinning of the lining of your digestive organs. This is because it forms a part of the organ tissue and lining of many organs, including the digestive tract. 

Conclusion

Collagen is a vital protein that preserves the integrity of structures. The different types of collagen provide support and strength to various body parts.

It also contributes to your skin, hair, and nails' health and appearance. Reduced collagen will usually lead to visible signs and effects in the body. 

FAQs

What Are the Sources of Collagen?

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Collagen-rich foods include certain kinds of seafood (especially fish skin) and meat. In addition, consuming protein-rich food like poultry, beans, dairy products, and mushrooms can help boost collagen production.

This is because it provides your body with amino acids that it can use to make the protein. Vitamin C also plays a role in collagen production. Hence, it's essential to consume lots of Vitamin C. Foods like green leafy vegetables, citric fruits, and berries are a source of Vitamin C.

What Causes Collagen Loss?

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As you age, your body naturally starts producing less collagen. The collagen in your body also degrades or becomes less tightly packed. In addition, your diet and lifestyle can also affect collagen production.

These factors can include consuming highly processed foods or foods with high sugar content, smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, and a lot of exposure to the sun without protection like sunscreen. It can also be caused by genetic changes, chronic diseases affecting skin and bones, and autoimmune disorders.

What Are Some Side Effects of Collagen Supplements?

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Although the side effects of collagen supplements are not familiar, in certain instances, they may occur. These side effects include diarrhoea, stomach pain, bloating, and allergic reactions. They may also lead to a sensation of heartburn or fullness in some instances.

How Does Collagen Help with Blood Clotting?

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Collagen forms a part of the structure of the blood vessel wall. When a blood vessel is damaged, collagen becomes exposed. This attracts blood platelets to the area, which begins the blood clotting process.

What Are Collagen Peptides?

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Collagen peptides are pieces of animal collagen. The body cannot absorb collagen in its entire form. For this reason, collagen is broken down into smaller protein pieces called peptides. 

Collagen supplements usually come in the form of peptides. Your body quickly absorbs these peptides during digestion.

Which of the Types of Collagen Is Most Commonly Present in the Body?

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Out of the types of collagen, Type I is most commonly present in our body. It is found in the body cells and the skin.

References 

  • https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/23089-collagen

  • https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-for-hair

  • https://cbsupplements.com/cc/what-are-5-types-of-collagen/

  • https://www.godigit.com/health-insurance/nutrition/what-is-collagen

  • https://www.webmd.com/diet/collagen-health-benefits

  • https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-benefits#side-effects

  • https://www.bhf.org.uk/research-projects/collagenlike-peptides-synthetic-tools-to-investigate-vascular-cell-function-in-health-and-disease-renewalxmlnamespace-prefix--o-ns--urnschemasmicrosoftcomofficeoffice-opop

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. As this content piece is not vetted by a medical professional, please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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