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Different Types of Collagen Explained

Published September 10, 2018 (Revised: October 12, 2019)
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

types-of-collagen
<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Ben Kissam, BS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/10/close-up-woman-face-hair-collagen-thumbnail-0004.jpg" } }, "headline":"Different Types of Collagen Explained", "datePublished":"2018-09-10", "dateModified": "2019-10-12", "description":"Your body makes 28 different types of collagen. But for health and cosmetic benefits, or if you’re considering collagen supplements, 3 types matter most.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/10/close-up-woman-face-hair-collagen-thumbnail-0004.jpg" } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is collagen?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Collagen is a protein found in connective tissue. It’s a hard, fibrous material that supports structures in the body. Collagen molecules are very densely packed together, which is one reason it’s the most abundant protein in the body.<br />It helps skin stay firm and supple, and also assists with the renewal of skin and other bodily tissue cells. In humans, collagen is an important building block for bone, skin, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. Think of collagen as the scaffolding, or ‘glue’ that holds our bodies together." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "What is collagen made of?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Like all proteins, collagen is made up of amino acids, and three types in particular: glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. <br />About one-third of the body’s tissues is comprised of these collagen amino acids, which bind together to form fibrils (small fibers)." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "Which form of collagen is best?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Due to sheer abundance, and because almost one-third of your tissues are made of collagen, types I, II, and III are the most important." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the best type of collagen for skin?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Some people take collagen supplements orally or get collagen injections for anti-aging or health purposes. But since there are 28 different types of collagen, you should know which type of collagen specifically impacts skin health.<br />Because they’re largely responsible for the makeup of skin, type I and type III collagen are the most important for skin health and function. These proteins help bind skin cells together and contribute to its elasticity, structure, and vitality." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "Does taking collagen have any negative side effects?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Side effects of taking a collagen supplement may include headache, dizziness, and high calcium levels, which could lead to kidney disorders. <br />But most doctor it to be a safe safe supplement. <br />Keep in mind that many doctors believe the research on collagen is still in its infancy. As with any supplement, check with a doctor before adding it to your diet." } }] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What is Collagen?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">What is Collagen Made of?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Which Form of Collagen is Best?</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">What is the Best Type of Collagen for Skin?</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Benefits of Collagen Supplements</a></li> <li><a href="#section6">Does Taking Collagen Have Any Negative Side Effects?</a></li> <li><a href="#section7">Different Types of Collagen—Wrap-Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>Collagen, the most abundant protein in our bodies, helps keep our tissues strong and healthy <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">1</a></sup>. But not all collagen is the same. There are 28 different types, and each serves its own unique specific function <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5983607/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">2</a></sup>.</p> <p>Some types improve skin health, while others rebuild blood vessels or protect your joints from injury.</p> <p>To understand the specific health benefits, it’ll help you to know exactly what each type of collagen does for your body. If you’re considering a collagen supplement, knowing the difference will help you decide which type to take.</p> <p>Here’s a full guide on collagen: the different types explained, the medical and cosmetic benefits of supplementation, and some side-effects to be aware of.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <h2>What is collagen?</h2> <p>Collagen is a protein found in connective tissue. It’s a hard, fibrous material that supports structures in the body. Collagen molecules are very densely packed together, which is one reason it’s the most abundant protein in the body <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3003457/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup>.</p> <p>It helps skin stay firm and supple, and also assists with the renewal of skin and other bodily tissue cells. </p> <p>In humans, collagen is an important building block for bone, skin, muscle, tendons, and ligaments <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3003457/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a></sup>. Think of collagen as the scaffolding, or ‘glue’ that holds our bodies together.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <h2>What is collagen made of?</h2> <p>Like all proteins, collagen is made up of amino acids, and three types in particular: <i>glycine</i>, <i>proline</i>, and <i>hydroxyproline</i>.</p> <p>About one-third of the body’s tissues is comprised of these collagen amino acids, which bind together to form <i>fibrils</i> (small fibers)<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">5</a></sup>.</p> <h3>What are the different types of collagen?</h3> <p>There are 28 different types of collagen <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">6</a></sup>. They are:</p> <ul> <li>Type I </li> <li>Type II</li> <li>Type III</li> <li>Type IV</li> <li>Types V - XXVIII</li> </ul> <p>Types 5 through 28 collagen don’t serve the same purpose or function the same, but are listed this way because 80 to 90 percent of all collagen in the body is either type I, type II, or type III.</p> <p>Different collagen proteins vary in their responsibilities and level of abundance, which we’ll look at in the next section.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <h2>Which form of collagen is best?</h2> <p>Due to sheer abundance, and because almost one-third of your tissues are made of collagen, types I, II, and III are the most important.</p> <p>Here are the responsibilities and tissues each collagen protein impacts <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">7</a></sup>:</p> <ul> <li><b>Type I</b> - Binds together skin, tendons, ligaments, and dentin (tooth tissue).</li> <p>Of all of the types of collagen, type I has the most tensile strength (resistance to breaking under pressure). It can stretch without breaking, which is a major reason our bones and skin are so strong and durable.</p> <li><b>Type II</b> - Binds together cartilage.</li> <p>Without type II collagen, our joints would be far less capable of bearing heavy loads or handling an impactful shock, such as jumping or falling.</p> <li><b>Type III</b> - Binds together skin, muscle, and blood vessels.</li> <p>Type III has a similar molecular structure to type I collagen. This protein has immense anti-inflammatory properties and helps fight off liver, kidney, and blood vessel disorders.</p> </ul> <p>The remaining types of collagen are far less abundant, but still serve important roles. For example, type IV collagen helps form the <i>basal</i>, or base, layers of your skin.</p> <p>Some other functions of less abundant collagen include:</p> <ul> <li>Binding together fetal tissue <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/table/A6543/?report=objectonly" rel="nofollow noreferrer">8</a></sup>.</li> <li>Holding together <i>interstitial space</i>, or the space between your blood and lymph vessels <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.britannica.com/science/interstitial-tissue" rel="nofollow noreferrer">9</a></sup>.</li> <li>Connecting the back of the eye to the brain <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/table/A6543/?report=objectonly" rel="nofollow noreferrer">10</a></sup>.</li> </ul> </section> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-face-close-up-collagen-0004.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-face-close-up-collagen-0004.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-face-close-up-collagen-0004.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-face-close-up-collagen-LR-0004.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="woman-face-close-up-collagen"> </picture> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>What is the best type of collagen for skin?</h2> <p>Some people take collagen supplements orally or get collagen injections for anti-aging or health purposes. But since there are 28 different types of collagen, you should know which type of collagen specifically impacts skin health.</p> <p>Because they’re largely responsible for the makeup of skin, type I and type III collagen are the most important for skin health and function <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/table/A6543/?report=objectonly" rel="nofollow noreferrer">11</a></sup>. These proteins help bind skin cells together and contribute to its elasticity, structure, and vitality.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section5"> <h2>Benefits of collagen supplements</h2> <p>Collagen is naturally <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/foods-high-in-collagen/" rel="noreferrer">found in many foods</a>, like bone broth and shellfish. But you can ensure you’re getting enough (and the right type) of collagen by supplementing with it. It can be taken orally or in the form of injections.</p> <p>Here’s a brief look at 4 specific benefits of taking collagen.</p> <h3>1. Improves skin health</h3> <p>We don’t always think of our skin as an organ. But as a matter of fact, it’s the largest organ in the body <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.aad.org/public/kids/skin" rel="nofollow noreferrer">12</a></sup>. And since it’s the barrier protecting your insides, skin health should be a priority. Adequate nutrients, like certain vitamins, minerals, and collagen, allow it to function properly. </p> <p>And if you’re mostly concerned with the way your skin looks, skin health has a say in that, too. Collagen hydrates your skin and keeps it free of spots and blemishes. It also helps prevent wrinkles <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/skin-care-and-aging" rel="nofollow noreferrer">13</a></sup>.</p> <p>According to one study from the <i><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1606623/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">American Journal of Pathology</a></i>, our body peaks in production of collagen around 18. Somewhere between age 25 and 29, we stop producing as much type I, II, and III collagen, which eventually leads to things like wrinkles <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1606623/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">14</a></sup>.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/joint-knees-sock-spray-0004.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/joint-knees-sock-spray-0004.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/joint-knees-sock-spray-0004.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/joint-knees-sock-spray-LR-0004.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="joint-knees-sock"> </picture> <h3>2. Relieves joint pain</h3> <p>Some studies have found that supplementing with collagen may reduce joint pain<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17076983" rel="nofollow noreferrer">15</a></sup>.</p> <p>This makes sense if you consider that, in anatomy, a human joint is the connection between two bones. Collagen is largely responsible for the formation of ligaments and tendons (two types of connective tissue) inside the joints, which hold together bones and connect bones to muscles.</p> <p>Thicker, stronger ligaments and tendons support your joints and protect them from injuries <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2014/06/protect-your-tendons" rel="nofollow noreferrer">16</a></sup>.</p> <p>Collagen also makes up much of our muscle tissue. Stronger muscles also protect the joints from injury, which is one reason many protein powder supplements are now made or mixed with <a target="_blank" href="http://www.warriormade.com/go2protein/shop" rel="noreferrer">collagen protein</a>. </p> <p>One early study on type II collagen also found that it might reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in joints <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8378772" rel="nofollow noreferrer">17</a></sup>. Besides improved skin health and fewer wrinkles, there’s another example of the anti-aging benefits of collagen.</p> <h3>3. May prevent bone loss</h3> <p>As we age, the cells in our body’s tissues (like bone, muscle, ligaments, etc.) lose strength and durability <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004012.htm" rel="nofollow noreferrer">18</a></sup>. </p> <p>This is a natural part of aging—but these cells deteriorating may make it harder for us to participate in physical activities like exercise, work, or even odd jobs around the house.</p> <p>Your bones, which are primarily made of collagen proteins, are another example of a tissue that deteriorates. As these cells die off and disappear, you’re more likely to lose bone mass and density, which opens you up to higher risks of bone fracture <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16341622" rel="nofollow noreferrer">19</a></sup>.</p> <p>One study found that supplementing collagen and calcium reduces blood proteins that are largely responsible for bone deterioration <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25314004" rel="nofollow noreferrer">20</a></sup>.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/man-jogging-outdoors-0004.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/man-jogging-outdoors-0004.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/man-jogging-outdoors-0004.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/man-jogging-outdoors-LR-0004.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="man-jogging-outdoors"> </picture> <h3>4. May improve heart health</h3> <p>Like skin, you may not immediately think of your blood vessels as a tissue that needs to stay strong. </p> <p>But like bone and muscle, arteries and blood vessels that pump blood through the heart and body need to stay strong, and believe it or not, they too are comprised mainly of collagen. </p> <p>A study from <i><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4188798/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Biochimica et Biophysica Acta</a></i> showed your arteries are likely to weaken over time if they lack collagen <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4188798/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">21</a></sup>. Your body needs these proteins for cardiovascular and heart health, too.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section6"> <h2 >Does taking collagen have any negative side effects?</h2> <p>Side effects of taking a collagen supplement may include headache, dizziness, and high calcium levels, which could lead to kidney disorders. </p> <p>But most doctor it to be a safe safe supplement <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30681787" rel="nofollow noreferrer">22</a></sup>. </p> <p>Keep in mind that many doctors believe the research on collagen is still in its infancy. As with any supplement, check with a doctor before adding it to your diet.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section7"> <h2>Different types of collagen—wrap-up</h2> <p>Type I, type II, and type III collagen mainly offer the cosmetic and health benefits most people are after. There are 28 different types of collagen, but these three are most abundant, making up 80 to 90 percent of your total amount.</p> <p>Each type of collagen serves a unique purpose in the body. For example, type I binds together skin while type III binds together muscles and blood vessels. In general, the health benefits of supplementing with collagen include improved skin and heart health, alleviation of joint pain, and a reduced risk of bone loss.</p> <p>If you’re considering taking collagen as a supplement, ensure the type you’re taking matches with the benefits you’re after. For example, you want something with type I collagen in it if your goal is to combat wrinkles or improve skin elasticity.</p> </section> </article>

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