Types of Collagens and Their Benefits
Collagens are the most abundant proteins in our body, comprising close to 30% of the total protein mass. They play a crucial role in providing structure to the skin and helping the blood clot.[i] Apart from being a vital part of our anatomy, collagens have gained immense popularity as a nutritional supplement in recent years. In 2020 alone, the value of the global collagen market was $8.36 billion.[ii] Over the next 8 years, analysts expect it to grow at a CAGR of 9.0%.
As the demand for collagen increases, more and more dietary supplement brands are looking to enter the market with collagen-based supplements. Consumers choose collagen supplements because they promote skin hydration, elasticity, and density. However, different types of collagens can support other specific areas depending on the health goals.
What are the 5 types of collagens found commonly in supplements?
So far, at least twenty-eight types of collagens have been identified and numbered with Roman numerals. Among these types, I, II, III, IV, and V are the ones typically found in supplements due to their desired benefits.
Here are the most common types of collagens and their benefits:
Type I Collagen
Type I collagen accounts for 90% of our body’s collagen and is composed of densely packed fibers.
Type I Collagen Structure:
The structure of type I collagen consists of three polypeptide chains termed alpha (α[I]) chains. Additionally, two α1(I) chains and one α2(I) chain are coiled together in the form of a triple helix.[iii]
Functions of Type I Collagen:
The function of type I collagen in the body is to assemble into fibers that form the structural and mechanical scaffold (matrix) of the bones. This collagen also forms the structure of the skin, tendons, cornea, blood vessel walls, and other connective tissues.[iv]
Benefits of Type I Collagen:
- Helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Aids in the maintenance of skin elasticity and hydration
- Promotes stronger and healthier nails
- Supports the growth of stronger and thicker hair
Type II Collagen
Type II collagen is composed of more loosely packed fibers. This collagen is found in elastic cartilage that cushions the joints.
Type II Collagen Structure:
The type II collagen structure is quite similar to type I. However, the chain composition of this collagen is a homotrimer with the chain composition of [α1(II)]3.[v]
Functions of Type II Collagen:
A major function of type II collagen is to give the cartilages their tensile strength and elasticity. Additionally, this collagen enables the cartilages to support the joints.[vi]
Benefits of Type II Collagen:
- Supports joint health
Type III Collagen
Type III collagen is found in substantial quantities in the blood vessels, muscles, intestines, and uterus.
Type III Collagen Structure:
Structurally, this collagen is a homotrimer composed of three (III) chains. Additionally, the structure resembles other fibrillar collagens.[vii]
Functions of Type III Collagen:
The function of type III collagen is to interact with platelets in the blood clotting cascade. This collagen also helps in wound-healing as a signaling molecule.[viii]
Benefits of Type III Collagen:
- Promotes a healthy gut and digestion
- Aids in the maintenance of skin elasticity and hydration
Type IV collagen helps with the filtration process in our body and is found in the layers of the skin.
Type IV Collagen Structure:
The type IV collagen is composed of three long triple-helical collagen α-chains.[ix]
Functions of Type IV Collagen:
Type IV collagen, along with laminin, has an important role in cell adhesion. This collagen also contributes to cell migration, growth, and differentiation.[x]
Benefits of Type IV Collagen:
- Promotes mental health
- Improves skin elasticity and hydration
Type V collagen is a fibrillar collagen that is found within the dermal/epidermal junction of our skin. This collagen is also majorly found in placental tissues and tissues containing type I collagen.
Type V Collagen Structure:
The two chain compositions of type V collagen molecules that have been isolated in normal tissues are:
Type V collagen contributes to the fibrillation of types I and III collagen. Additionally, this collagen contributes to the bone matrix and corneal stroma. The type V collagen also helps maintain the interstitial matrix of muscles, lungs, liver, and placenta.[xi]
Benefits of Type V Collagen:
- Supports the health of the placenta in pregnant women
- Helps promote bone health
These collagens play an important role in improving our skin, gut, and joints. However, with growing age, collagen production in our body declines. Many people use collagen-based nutritional supplements to help increase their collagen levels naturally. This has led to more interest from supplement brand owners in adding collagen-based supplements to their product portfolios.
Start Your Own Line of Collagen Supplements
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