Collagen is a protein human body makes naturally. It makes up about a third of all of the protein in human body. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons. It’s essential for healthy joints. It also keeps skin elastic to lessen wrinkles. For that reason, collagen supplements are popular.
Endogenous collagen is natural collagen, synthesized by the body. Exogenous collagen is synthetic. It comes from an outside source, such as supplements.
Endogenous collagen has a number of important functions. Breakdown and depletion is linked to a number of health problems. Exogenous collagen is used for medical and cosmetic purposes, including the repair of body tissues.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, accounting for about a third of its protein composition.
It’s one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen is also found in many other body parts, including blood vessels, corneas, and teeth. Collagen’s strong fibers work like glue to hold things together in your body: muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, and skin.
There are at least 16 different types of collagen. The four main types are type 1,2,3 and 4, but 80 to 90 percent of them belong to types 1, 2, and 3. These different types have different structures and functions. Each one has a different job:
Type I provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.
Type II helps to make cartilage, the flexible tissue between bones and in your ears and nose.
Type III helps supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.
Type IV helps with filtration and is found in layers of the skin.
What does collagen do?
Collagen is secreted by various cells, but mainly by connective tissue cells. It is found in the extracellular matrix. This is an intricate network of macromolecules that determines the physical properties of body tissues. A macromolecule is a molecule containing a large number of atoms.
In the dermis collagen helps form a fibrous network of cells called fibroblasts, upon which new cells can grow. It also plays a role in replacing and restoring dead skin cells. Some collagens act as protective coverings for delicate organs in the body, such as the kidneys.
With age, the body produces less and lower-quality collagen. One of the visible signs of this is in your skin, which becomes less firm and supple. Wrinkles form, and cartilage also weakens with age, stiff tendons or ligaments. Women experience a dramatic reduction in collagen synthesis after menopause. By the age of 60 years, a considerable decline in collagen production is normal.
What hurts the collagen levels?
Three main things will lower your collagen levels: sunlight, smoking, and sugar.
- Too much exposure to ultraviolet light makes its fibers unravel. This can lead to sun damage, such as wrinkles.
- Many of the chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage it, which can make skin sag and wrinkle.
- Sugar causes the fibers to cross-link and tangle. This makes your skin less elastic over time.