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What exactly is collagen?

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Collagen is the scaffolding glue that makes up your body and basically keeps you ‘together’. The various types of collagen are labelled as such according to the specific area where the collagen is found and their function. 

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF COLLAGEN? 

As of 2011, there are around 28 different types of collagen that have been identified in the human body. Collagen has been used medically for many years and only now, in recent years, has it become the popular health and beauty tonic that we associate it with today. Medical uses include various applications from bone grafts, cardiac applications, cosmetic surgery, reconstructive surgery, and even wound healing technology. For the health and wellness industry only specific collagen types have been utilised in the creation of supplements to benefit and assist with every day, common ailments.  

TYPE I 

The most abundant collagen in the human body, comprising over 90%. Found mostly in skin, but also found in tendons, ligaments, and most connective tissue. Its main function is to provide tensile strength to the connective tissue. Most common sources are bovine, porcine, and marine. Taken as a supplement to help improve the structure and appearance of skin, hair, and nails.  

TYPE II 

The main collagen found in cartilage and bones. Its main function is to provide tensile strength to the connective tissue. Most common sources are bovine, porcine, and chicken. Taken as a supplement to assist with osteoarthritis problems and maintain joint health. 

TYPE III  

The most abundant collagen found in elastic tissue. Found mostly in muscles, embryonic connective tissue, skin, blood vessels, and lymphoid tissue. Its main function is to provide tensile strength to the connective tissue. Most common source is chicken. Usually included into supplements to promote skin health, however its main function is to enhance muscle, intestinal and organ structure. 

TYPE IV 

Type IV collagen is less common and found in the structural membranes within various tissues including the eye lens. Its main function is forming filtration systems in the capillaries including the kidneys. Most common sources are bovine and porcine. Usually included into a blend of collagen supplements and not as a singular ingredient supplement as it works similarly to type I and type III in promoting wound healing. 

TYPE V 

Type V collagen is less common and forms the core of Type I fibrils. Found in blood vessels, ligaments, skin, and dentin. Its main function is to provide tensile strength to the connective tissue. Usually included into a blend of collagen supplements and not as a singular ingredient supplement. This collagen is essential for eye health and neonatal development. 

TYPE X 

The newest kid on the block in terms of supplements, type X collagen is found in cartilage and its main function is to bind calcium thereby supporting joint health. Usually included into a blend of collagen supplements, however it is also sold as a singular ingredient supplement. Most common source is found in eggshell membranes. This collagen is essential for bone health, wound healing, and healthy joints. 

About the author Toni Carroll 

Article author: Toni Carroll

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