As the most abundant protein in our bodies, collagen is like the glue that holds it all together from hair to toenails. Collagen is found in mammals (and other animals) as the structural foundation of skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and teeth. However, from the age of 25-30, the human body produces less and poorer quality collagen, resulting in saggy skin and weakened joints, as well as other health ailments.
Collagen is divided into several types depending on the structures they form. There are 28 different types of collagen that scientists have identified, the most common are types I through IV, with type I comprising over 90% of the collagen in the human body. Below is a chart describing the benefits of types 1 through IV, as well as types V and X.
Collagen Types & Benefits at a Glance
|Type I||Up to 90% of the collagen in your body is type I, which is found in skin, tendons, cartilage, vasculature, organs, connective tissues, and bones.||Assists in wound healing, decreases cellulite, minimizes wrinkles and improves skin elasticity.||Bovine peptides, egg whites, marine collagen, bone broth, protein-rich foods like beef and fish|
|Type II||50% of cartilage is comprised of type II collagen as is the vitreous humour of the eye.||Best absorbed through oral ingestion; benefits joint health.||Bone broth, protein-rich foods like chicken, chicken cartilage, collagen protein powder|
|Type III||Provides structure of organs, muscles, and blood vessels.||Improves muscular structure, may aid in intestinal health and blood clotting.||Bone broth, protein-rich foods like beef and fish, bovine collagen peptides, collagen protein powder|
|Type IV||Fiber-like collagen that supports kidney filtration as well as other organs.||Improves multiple layers of skin health, assists also in wound healing and the digestive system.||Egg whites and other protein rich foods; this type is very difficult to find in supplement form.|
|Type V||Found in the tissue of the placenta, but also in layers of the skin and hair.||Promotes eye health and supports neonatal development.||Egg whites and other protein rich foods; collagen protein powder|
|Type X||Plays a key role in bones and joints.||Similar to type II, benefits bone and joint health.||eggshells, collagen protein powder|
Taking collagen is generally safe. Always talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements or increasing the use of any existing supplement. Although rare, considering every body is unique, side effects exist. Some may feel stomach discomfort like bloating, gas, or diarrhea, while others with allergies may find themselves more susceptible to reactions. People with allergies to foods like fish, shellfish, and eggs should avoid collagen supplements made with these ingredients. Otherwise, for most people, taking collagen supplements should not pose any significant health risks.
Supplementing your diet with collagen is not for the vain. As you see the benefits range from joints and bones to cell formation. Feel free to check the sources below to dive deeper into the subject. You will find, for most, collagen should be a staple in your diet just like Vitamin C.
Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial – PubMed (nih.gov)