Collagen is the single most abundant protein in the body. Our bodies work to naturally produce collagen by combining the amino acids glycine and proline found in protein-rich foods such as beef, chicken, fish, beans, eggs and dairy products. The process also requires essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, Copper and Zinc. However, our body’s collagen production and structural integrity naturally declines as we age, so incorporating more collagen into our diets to maintain strong bones, healthier joints and radiant skin is simply a no-brainer.
Today, we are going to take an in-depth into all-things collagen, including comparing the different types of collagen, all of their marvelous benefits, and how best to incorporate more of this powerful protein into your daily routine. Welcome to Collagen 101!
So, what actually is collagen? Collagen is a hard, insoluble, and fibrous protein that makes up one-third of the protein in the human body, making it without a doubt, the most abundant protein in the body. We need protein for many various processes including building and repairing muscle, to transport fat soluble vitamins and even to provide satiety. Collagen is the main structural protein that forms the connective tissue throughout the body, from the skin to bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. It also plays a leading role in our overall health and well-being. Think of collagen as the glue that holds your body together. It helps you maintain and repair healthy bones, skin, muscles, tendons, cartilage, joints, ligaments, blood vessels, eyes, hair and even your digestive tract.
What are the different types of collagen? There are 16 different types of collagen. However, the most researched and utilized types of collagen in supplements are types I, II, III, V, and X, so those will be the focal points of this blog.
Type I Collagen:
Type I collagen protein is the most abundant protein in the human body and accounts for around 90% of your body’s naturally-occurring collagen. Type I works to provide structure and makes up a large part of your skin, bones, connective tissues and teeth. Even though it’s fantastic for rebuilding your muscles, bones, eyes, and even your spine, it’s incredibly popular for diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin hydration and elasticity, and is also great for strengthening your nails and helping you grow stronger, thicker hair.
Type I collagen is also present in scar tissue. This fact, along with findings from certain studies, suggests type I collagen aids in wound healing and possibly blood clotting as well.
Type II Collagen:
Although type II collagen is somewhat less prevalent in the body than type I, it is still extremely important and vital. Type II collagen protein is the main structural component of healthy joint cartilage which is the connective tissue that protects joints from age and activity-related wear and tear. It's also is extremely healthy for the skeletal system. There's also high amounts of type II collagen in your spinal discs and in your eyes as well.
The deterioration of joint cartilage creates joint pain; Type II collagen is comprised of glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid and provides targeted joint-support by repairing, replenishing and restoring this active joint protein. Active people who need to rely on their joints, or anyone experiencing joint discomfort/pain/swelling can benefit from adding type II collagen into their diet.
Type III Collagen:
Type III collagen provides structure and strength to connective tissue, is found in many places in the body, especially skin, lung, intestinal walls and the walls of blood vessels. Type III is the second most abundant type of collagen found in your body. Its most abundant in your digestive system, muscles, bones, blood vessels, and the uterus. Most often type 3 collagen is found with type 1 collagen. It supports gut healing, builds lean muscle mass and promote bone health.
Type V Collagen:
Collagen type V is a fiber-like collagen found in some layers of skin, hair, and most importantly the tissue of the placenta. It is the best collagen types particularly important for women who are pregnant or are hoping to get pregnant. This type of protein is necessary for the development of the placenta which is an organ the body creates and attaches to the uterine lining in order to supply a growing baby with nutrients and oxygen.
Type V collagen co-exists with type II collagen in joint cartilage, while supporting healthy collagen fibers of type II collagen. It plays a significant role in regulating the development of collagen fibers of connective tissue. It is also found in the cornea of the eye. Deficiency of type V has been associated with decreased transparency in the cornea, which may impact vision and overall eye health.
Type X Collagen:
Much like collagen type II, collagen type X is another key protein for bone and joint health. It has similar functions to type 2 collagen and, therefore, similar benefits in regard to joint health and arthritis care.
Type 10 helps with new bone formation and forming articular cartilage. It’s involved in the process of endochondral ossification, which is how bone tissue is created in mammals. It’s been found to be beneficial for bone fracture healing and repairing of synovial joints.
As you can see, these collagen types present a plethora of astounding benefits and can truly be a life saver when it comes to supplementation!
Which collagen type is right for you?
You'll first want to assess your specific health issues and/or goals, and what you are looking to get out of collagen.
If you're looking for a youthful radiance and to maintain skin elasticity and hydration, eye health, lean muscle, bone strength, and accelerated wound healing you'll want a collagen product high in type I and III.
As a preventative measure or to improve joint mobility and recovery from exercise a collagen product high in type I and III will be perfect!
For chronic joint pain (such as arthritis) and inflammation issues such as tendonitis, a collagen product high in type II collagen will be perfect here.
To improve gut health, collagen types I and III are best for healing the gut lining, and type I from marine sources is especially useful for healing the tight junctions of your intestinal tract.
Collagen Peptides by Sports Formula is an example of a high quality collagen peptide supplement that delivers 9 grams of hydrolyzed collagen protein all from the 3 most necessary collagen: Types I, II, and III. It is composed of all Cold Processed, Grass Fed, Free Range, Hormone Free, Non GMO Collagen Peptides to help you feel stronger by promoting leaner body mass, looking younger by providing smoother skin, hair, and stronger nails, providing comprehensive joint support and help eliminating joint pain to keep you mobile and performing at your best! It can be drank straight, added to coffee, or added to your favorite drink/smoothie.
Hydrolyzed collagen peptides means the collagen is broken into smaller more easily absorbed and utilized compounds, making it the simplest and most efficient way to get more collagen in your diet! Either way, make sure your collagen supplement is fully hydrolyzed collagen. When hydrolyzed, collagen is reduced to smaller, more digestible peptides. Studies indicate properly hydrolyzed collagen peptides are available in the bloodstream within two hours of ingestion, usually within only one hour!
Not only can hydrolyzed collagen be dissolved in both hot or cold water, but it’s also much easier for your stomach to break down and digest. It also has a high bioavailability and can be absorbed into the bloodstream more readily than regular collagen protein, giving you more bang for your buck when it comes to nutrition. Best of all, it boasts the same set of collagen peptides benefits as collagen protein, meaning it can help improve skin and hair, relieve joint pain and optimize the health of your gut!