Updated Aug 5, 2021
Collagen is an important protein that is in our body. It helps with several different functions, including improved muscle mass (due to its protein content), increased skin elasticity and strengthened skin in the dermis, and stronger hair and nails. It works with other proteins in the body such as elastin and keratin. There are many types of collagen, especially when it comes to supplements. Collagen types include hydrolyzed collagen, collagen peptides, collagen protein, collagen powder, collagen pills, and liquid collagen. There are also several different types of collagen such as type I collagen, (bones, tendons, organs) type II collagen (cartilage), type III collagen (fibrous connective tissues), type IV collagen (found in the basement membrane of cells), type V collagen (hair and nails), and type X collagen. The type of collagen you take as a supplement can be important depending on what issue you are trying to correct, as these types can be found in different parts of the body. Collagen forms also differ in terms of which animal they come from. There's marine collagen, porcine collagen, chicken collagen, and bovine collagen. So, we know it's a protein in our body, but where exactly is collagen found in the body? Read on to find out.
Where is collagen found in the human body?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is an insoluble and fibrous protein. This means its molecules are packed together in order to form fibrils. It is formed with amino acids and vitamin C and starts out as procollagen. It can be found in our connective tissues, joints, tendons, bones, and skin. Collagen production occurs through collagen synthesis, which happens in the cells of fibroblasts. It plays an important role in each of the body parts in which it is found.
Connective tissues / tendons- Collagen provides our connective tissues and tendons tensile strength. Collagen fibrils are what help to give these things strength.
Joints- As we age, the decrease in our natural collagen is one of the causes of joint pain, inflammation, soreness, and more serious problems like arthritis. It's important to be proactive about these issues, and start to increase the amount of collagen-rich foods you consume. Taking a supplement can also help to boost your natural collagen production and alleviate symptoms caused by the depletion of collagen.
Bones- Hydroxyproline is an amino acid found in collagen, which is used as a marker of bone turnover. Collagen plays an important role when it comes to your bones. Bone tissue is a connective tissue, which collagen has been shown to strengthen. Mineralized bone tissue contains mainly collagen (called ossein), as well as a bone mineral that is made up of different salts. A significant increase in collagen levels can greatly help with your bone health. If you have a mutation in your type 1 collagen, it can lead to osteogenesis imperfecta, resulting in weak and brittle bones.
Skin- Collagen can help to transform your skin. From acne to dryness to a lack of glow, there's a lot collagen can improve. Since healthy skin begins on the inside, collagen supplements help to heal internal issues that reflect in external issues. Collagen and elastin are the essential components of glowing, plump skin. When these start to decrease, you begin to see wrinkles and fine lines, as well as sagging. Increasing your collagen intake can help to remedy these issues. Collagen has also been known to help heal your gut lining. Many skin issues are a result of having an unhealthy gut. This is why collagen can help to address issues like acne, once the gut is healed. Because collagen is responsible for keeping skin plump and firm, taking it as a supplement can help once you start to see wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Is collagen present in blood?
Collagen is not directly present in blood, but it is in blood vessels. Collagen surrounds blood vessels in order to protect them from damage. If a blood vessel does not have collagen protecting it, lesions and ruptures can occur in the artery.
How is collagen produced in the body?
Collagen is formed through chains of amino acids. These amino acids act as building blocks in the body. The amino acids are in a triple helix formation. Different amino acids serve different purposes. There are nine essential amino acids that our body needs to thrive. These amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. A key thing to remember is that essential amino acids cannot be produced by the human body, as opposed to nonessential amino acids, which can. This means the essential ones must be obtained through your diet and amino acid supplements. These are the nine essential amino acids and their functions within our bodies: Histidine is used to create histamine, which is involved with our immune response, digestion, and sleep cycles. Lysine is used with collagen and elastin production, as well as protein and hormone synthesis. Isoleucine is mostly concentrated with muscle tissue and muscle protein, as well as immune function. Leucine is used for protein synthesis and blood sugar regulation. Methionine's main functions include detoxification and metabolism-boosting. Tryptophan is needed to maintain nitrogen balance. Threonine is important for the skin and connective tissue, largely being involved with collagen and elastin. Valine helps to stimulate muscle growth. Phenylalanine is involved in the production of other amino acids. A few of the nonessential amino acids (which are still important for certain functions) include proline, asparagine, tyrosine, cysteine, glutamine, glycine, and arginine. Glycine is needed for collagen formation. It is the smallest amino acid with no side chain. These common amino acids can be found both in food and in supplement form. Combined with vitamin C, amino acids form collagen in our cells.
What destroys collagen?
There are two main factors when it comes to the destruction of collagen: aging and diet. These two factors are the most important aspects of maintaining your production of collagen. As we age, we start to produce around 1% less collagen per year. Aging is a part of life, and cannot be prevented. However, you can help to slow the aging process and protect your body from more serious issues. When it comes to your diet, sugar is the biggest destroyer of collagen. It actually works to break down collagen molecules resulting in puffy, dry, and dull-looking skin. While sugar is the worst thing you can include in your diet in regards to collagen, it's not the only thing that affects the skin. Processed junk foods can also seriously deplete collagen, and can cause a variety of other health issues. The key to taking care of the collagen in your body, along with your overall health, is eating clean, real foods and supplementing your diet with collagen supplements. Another thing that is detrimental to collagen is sun exposure. Ultraviolet radiation can damage collagen, specifically collagen fibers, and reduce collagen production. It is essential that you use sunscreen every single day in order to protect the skin from damage and loss of collagen. Smoking is another thing that destroys collagen. It is extremely damaging to your cells throughout your body and especially in the face. In order to make up for the loss of collagen, try collagen dietary supplements. Taking collagen as a dietary supplement can help to remedy damage and prevent future damage from occurring. For example, our Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars contain 8 grams of hydrolyzed marine collagen and 11-13 grams of protein. They also contain other beauty-boosting foods like sweet potato (containing vitamin A and vitamin C), and cocoa butter (containing polyphenols and flavonoids). The formula is designed to help absorb and retain collagen and is a great way to support your hair, skin and nails.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.