Everything to know about Type l Collagen

November 02, 2020

Everything to know about Type l Collagen

In this article:

  • The role of collagen in the human body
  • Benefits of Type I collagen
  • How to get enough Type I collagen through your nutrition
  • Different sources and forms of collagen

Collagen's role in the body

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and is the foundation of our extracellular matrix. These strong and fibrous proteins play a huge role in the health of your skin, hair, and nails and it also strengthens and heals your connective tissues and bones. Collagen molecules are made up of amino acids, primarily glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, which form into a triple helix procollagen molecule (think of it as a rope with three strands). These rope-like molecules are then transported through Golgi, bonded, and combined to form collagen fibrils that make up all the collagen fibers that support your organs, muscles, and connective tissues. Whew! Where can these collagen molecules be found after their long journey to maturation? Oh, just your skin, tendons, joints, blood vessels, teeth, bones, and the tissues that surround and protect your internal organs. No big deal!

While it's true that collagen can be found all throughout the body, various types of collagen are concentrated in different areas and types of tissues. That's because each form of collagen has its own unique strengths and benefits for the body. There are 28 known collagen types, but the most prevalent are of the "fibrillar" aka strong, fibrous category which includes types I, II, and III. From least abundant to most:

  • Type II Collagen: Type 2 collagen is found primarily in the cartilage that surrounds your joints. Collagen supplements high in type 2 collagen are a great choice for supporting the joint health of high-impact athletes and people suffering from osteoarthritis and other conditions causing joint pain.
  • Type III Collagen: Type III collagen is the second most abundant type and is concentrated primarily in your "hollow organs" like the intestines, blood vessels, and uterus. The benefits of type III collagen go hand-in-hand with those of type I collagen, so you'll often find them together in most collagen supplements.
  • Type I Collagen: Type I collagen takes the cake for being the most abundant and widespread collagen type in the body at a whopping 90% of your total collagen protein concentration. It's everywhere from your scar tissues to your tendons, ligaments, bones, skin, and teeth. Type I collagen is an integral player in the health of so many different areas of the body. Below, we'll dive into this extremely versatile collagen type and all its good-for-your-body benefits.

Benefits of Type I Collagen

  • Fight the formation of wrinkles: Collagen, as well as being named after the Greek word for glue, is also referred to as the fountain of youth. Known for its anti-aging benefits, collagen, and particularly type I collagen, is a popular ingredient in skincare products and supplements. When taken orally, collagen has been found to help minimize fine lines and wrinkles, strengthening your skin from the inside out.
  • Reduce skin inflammation and redness: Type I collagen is also great for managing skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.
  • Helps the skin stay hydrated: One particular study found that after just 8 weeks of oral collagen supplementation skin hydration significantly increased. Not only that, the skin remained hydrated and the skin's levels of collagen type I and III remained high weeks after supplementation concluded.  
  • Speed up wound healing: Type I collagen shows promise as a way to manage wound healing. Naturally, Type I collagen synthesis is triggered by an injury. It is then broken down into amino acid sequences that bind to fibroblasts which produce collagen and form the foundation of scar tissue. Emerging studies have also found that it may help with blood clotting. Type I collagen also has medical applications in the form of "collagen scaffolds" that deposit osteoblasts and fibroblasts to help with tissue regrowth!
  • Smooth signs of cellulite: Another skin-based benefit of collagen is that it can help to manage the prevalence of cellulite. This is due to a thickening of the dermis, the mid-layer of your skin. A thinning dermis is the same cause for wrinkles on the face as well.
  • Healthy hair and long locks: Not only does type I collagen help keep the scalp healthy and strengthen the dermis where hair follicles are rooted, but a 2015 study also found high amounts of collagen in the hair follicles. Oral collagen supplements have been shown to protect scalp health, increase the amount of nutrients your hair follicles can absorb, and strengthen the pores holding the follicles. What this means for you is healthier, stronger hair with less fall out!
  • Build lean muscle mass: Both types I and III collagen have been shown to boost muscle cells to create lean muscle tissues. This is due in part to its amino acid content which includes glycine and hydroxyproline.

Where to find it - diet

When collagen levels are high, and the collagen molecules are healthy, it's likely that your skin, tendons, joints, and bones are too. However, inadequate levels of type I collagen can cause skin conditions, wrinkles, hair loss, joint pain, or even brittle bone disease, aka osteogenesis imperfecta, if the collagen molecule becomes mutated. That's why it's so important to make sure you get enough through your diet, using supplements whenever needed!

All collagen products on the market are non-vegan; all collagen supplements are derived from animals. If you're wondering if you can get collagen "straight from the source" by eating fish and other animals, the answer is yes; collagen can be found in many of the foods we eat. Egg whites, protein-rich foods like fish and beef, and bone broths have high contents of collagen. Eating foods rich in vitamin C can also help to boost your collagen synthesis, so make sure to eat lots of tomatoes, citrus, and bell peppers on the side.

How to get more of it

Collagen is synthesized naturally in the body. However, as we age, we experience a steady decline in collagen production of about 1.5% a year after the age of 30. Free radicals can also damage the collagen stores in the body so they perform less optimally. This is why many people turn to collagen powder as a supplement to their daily diet to boost their skin, muscle, and hair health.

If you're looking to tap into the benefits of type I collagen specifically, marine collagen is the ideal source. It is derived from fish, contains primarily type I collagen, and is supplemented with its sidekick, type III. Marine collagen is hydrolyzed down to a much smaller molecular weight, making it 1.5x more bioavailable AKA easier for the body to absorb. Second to marine collagen is bovine collagen, which is derived from cows (ideally grass-fed cows if you're looking for the good stuff). Bovine collagen peptides also contain types I and III collagen.

Lastly, skin creams are another collagen product on the market. There has been a long standing debate, but ultimately, you can get more out of collagen when it's taken orally rather than applied topically. This is due to the higher bioavailability of oral collagen supplements as compared to topical applications. With that said, you don't have to ditch your collagen creams altogether! By supplementing your skincare products with just a scoop of collagen a day, you can maximize its benefits and get collagen goodness coming from outside and inside - it's all about the angles!

If you’re looking for specific benefits from your collagen supplement, check in with your doctor and reach out to one of the product experts at Amandean for a 360 look at what collagen supplement is right for you!

Summary Points

  • Collagen molecules are made up of amino acids, primarily glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, which form into a triple helix procollagen molecule
  • Type I collagen accounts for 90% of the entire collagen protein amount in the body
  • Type I collagen is the most common type of collagen in skincare products and supplements
  • Type I collagen deficiency can cause skin conditions, wrinkles, hair loss, joint pain, or even brittle bone disease
  • Foods rich in vitamin C boost natural collagen synthesis in the body

Article References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collagen,_type_III,_alpha_1#Tissue_distribution
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1185/030079908X291967
  3. https://naturalforce.com/blogs/nutrition/collagen-differences-types-1-2-3
  4. https://www.orthobullets.com/basic-science/9013/collagen
  5. https://www.humann.com/nutrition/different-types-of-collagen/#section2
  6. https://sanaramedtech.com/blog/the-science-behind-hydrolyzed-type-i-collagen-fragments/
  7. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/collagen-food-boost#leafy-greens
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/type-i-collagen
  9. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen
  10. https://us.oxfordbiolabs.com/blogs/news/collagen-supplements-for-hair-growth
  11. https://blog.skinnyfit.com/collagen-for-hair/




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