Collagen is one of the most important proteins in your body. Many people think of collagen as the ultimate ingredient for skin care products, and this is true!

Collagen is often found in creams, powders, and even supplemental pills. Even more importantly, though, it is a part of every muscle, joint, ligament, skin, and blood cell in your body. But how are different types important, and which one should you be taking as a supplement?

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, so it is easy to understand why it is necessary for your health. It also happens to be the second most abundant molecule in your body after water.

Collagen is the building block for your skin, bones, and tendons and can be found in your hair, nails, joints, teeth, muscles, and even your eyelashes.

As the largest organ in your body, your skin relies on the presence of collagen. Your skin is made of 70% collagen proteins. Collagen also makes up 90% of your connective tissue and bone mass.

The long amino acid chains that form collagen help to build and connect the bones, skin, and connective tissues throughout your body. Without collagen, critical body parts would not be able to function.

As you get older, your natural collagen production begins to slow. After your twenties, you typically have to rely on dietary sources to keep your collagen levels up.

Sadly, the typical Western diet contains too much processed, sugar-laden, and high-fat foods, which are not rich in collagen. As a result, the market for collagen supplements has skyrocketed. But which kind should you buy?

The Many Faces of Collagen

You may only know of collagen as a collective protein, but there are actually different types of the protein. Type 1, 2, and 3 collagen can be found within your body and each version has its own abilities, functions, and benefits.

Understanding each type makes it beneficial to your health, as you determine which type you need in your life.

Type 1 collagen and type 2 collagen are typically grouped together in discussions because they are the most abundant versions in your body. Both types are produced by osteoblasts and fibroblasts, the cells responsible for producing bone. Type 2 collagen is associated with cartilaginous tissue and is not found as often as the more abundant versions.

Type 1 collagen is found all over your body and is essential to promoting skin health and reversing the signs of aging. When used in studies, type 1 collagen has been shown to increase skin hydration and firmness, as well as decrease the appearance of wrinkles.

Type 3 collagen is typically found in artery walls and the walls of hollow organs such as your esophagus, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder. You can also find this type in muscle fibers alongside type 1.

The benefits of collagen lay in the important amino acids chains of these vital proteins.

Glycine and proline are essential amino acids that we require for optimal function. Glycine is the most abundant amino acid and possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties to protect your cells and tissues.

The presence of glycine in collagens type 1 and 3 also boosts metabolic processes.

Proline is a non-essential amino acid formed from glycine that plays a role in joint and tendon health. Proline is a main player in the stimulation of collagen synthesis and also delivers antioxidant protection against damaging free radicals in your body.

In addition to these two amino acids, collagen types 1 and 3 contain glutamine, which protects against gut inflammation, and arginine, which helps creatine synthesis. Creatine helps to boost your athletic performance.

Benefits of Types 1 and 3 Collagen

Supplementing collagen as you get older will ensure that you maintain optimal health as your natural stores become depleted. With collagen being found all over your body, there are numerous benefits that both types of collagen provide.

The good news is that even though your natural collagen production is slowing, supplemental support will ensure you get all the benefits below.

Improve Elasticity: Decreased levels of collagen cause your skin to lose elasticity, which makes cellulite more visible and allows for dry, cracked skin. Collagens type 1 and 3 help hydrate your skin, allowing it to remain firm and elastic, so you get soft, smooth skin and your skin cells can renew much more efficiently.

Reverse the Signs of Aging: As collagen levels decrease, your skin becomes thinner and more dry, which promotes the appearance of wrinkles. Defy the aging process with collagen supplements, and promote fresh, glowing, younger-looking skin by minimizing fine lines and wrinkles associated with collagen loss.

Promote Hair Health: The antioxidant properties of collagen type 3 specifically help promote the health of your hair. By reducing the presence of harmful free radicals, collagen protects your hair follicles.

Collagen supplements can boost hair growth and volume, giving your hair a fuller, healthier appearance.

Treat Leaky Gut Syndrome: The presence of collagen in your intestinal lining helps support optimal gut health. Leaky gut syndrome is a common result of poor diet choices and allows particles to enter your bloodstream through small holes in the gut wall.

This can trigger dangerous levels of inflammation in your body, but can be easily corrected with collagen supplements. By infusing the gut wall with essential amino acids, your gut can help heal the damage done by diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s.

Enhance Heart Health: The amino acid proline in collagen promotes arterial health and protects you from atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. With heart disease being the number one killer in this country, the additional support of collagen is a blessing in disguise.

The Essential Element

Whether collagen is used to keep you looking young or to promote health from within, this protein is essential to your overall well-being. With a natural reduction as you age, it becomes important to supplement collagen types 1 and 3 in your life.

Look into collagen supplements today, reap the health benefits tomorrow, and stay young at heart for life.