Collagen protein is naturally present in the body. This protein, composed of amino acids, is the most abundant in the human body. Collagen has different functions in the body. Over time, the synthesis of collagen becomes less efficient, hence the interest in supplementing with marine collagen in hydrolysed form.
The different functions of collagen
One of its functions is to bind calcium to the bones, thus preserving the joints and preventing arthritis.
Collagen is also beneficial for the skin. It allows the skin tissue to regenerate and maintain its elasticity.
A little known fact is that there are at least 16 different types of collagen in the human body. These include collagen types 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10. In the organism, depending on the cells, tissues and protein matrices considered, the combinations of the « building blocks » called amino acids can be different, leading to different structures and functions. Thus, amino acids are classified under different types.
However, the vast majority of collagen – between 80% and 90% – consists of types 1, 2 and 3.
What are the different types of collagen?
Here is an overview of the different types of collagen, the sources of collagen and their main benefits so that you can determine which type of collagen is the most interesting:
- Type 1/Type I: This is by far the most abundant and almost considered the strongest type of collagen found in the human body. It is found in most parts of the body, tendons, ligaments, organs and the skin (dermis). Type 1 collagen also helps form bones and is found in the digestive tract. It is very important for wound healing, to give the skin its elastic and stretchy quality, and to hold tissues together so that they do not tear (connective tissue).
- Type 2/Type II : Type 2 collagen mainly helps to build cartilage, which is found in connective tissue. The health of our joints relies on cartilage made from type 2 collagen. This is why it is beneficial in preventing age-related joint pain or arthritis symptoms.
- Type 3/Type III : Type 3 collagen is composed of reticular fibres and is a major component of the extracellular matrix that makes up our organs and skin. It is usually found with type 1 and helps give the skin its elasticity and firmness. It is also found in the blood vessels and tissues inside the heart. For these reasons, type 3 collagen deficiency has been associated with a higher risk of blood vessel rupture and even early death, according to the results of some animal studies.
- Type 4/Type IV : Type 4 collagen has the important function of forming a basal lamina, which is found in the endothelial cells that form the tissues surrounding organs, muscles and fat. Basal laminae are necessary for various functions of nerves and blood vessels. They line most of our digestive organs and respiratory surfaces. The basal lamina is found in the spaces between the top layer of skin/tissue and the deepest layer. It is a thin layer of jelly-like fluid that acts as a cushion or padding for the tissues above it.
- Type 5/Type V : This type of collagen is needed to make the surface of cells, as well as hair strands and tissues found in the female placenta (the organ that develops in the womb during pregnancy, provides oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby, and removes waste).
- Type 10/Type X : Type 10 helps in the formation of new bone and articular cartilage. It is involved in the process of endochondral ossification, which is how bone tissue is created in mammals. It has been shown to be beneficial in the healing of bone fractures and the repair of synovial joints.