Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — written by James McIntosh on June 16, 2017

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, discovered in the bones, muscles, skin, and also tendons.

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It is the substance the holds the human body together. Collagen creates a scaffold to carry out strength and also structure.

Endogenous collagen is herbal collagen, synthesized by the body. Exogenous collagen is synthetic. It originates from an external source, such together supplements.

Endogenous collagen has a variety of important functions. Breakdown and depletion is attached to a variety of health problems.

Exogenous collagen is used for medical and also cosmetic purposes, including the fix of human body tissues.


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Share on PinterestCollagen has a sturdy structure. Gram-for-gram, some types are more powerful than steel.
Collagen is a hard, insoluble, and also fibrous protein that provides up one-third that the protein in the human body.

In most collagens, the molecules are packed together to kind long, slim fibrils.

These act as sustaining structures and anchor cell to each other. They provide the skin strength and elasticity.

There are at the very least 16 different types of collagen, yet 80 to 90 percent of lock belong to species 1, 2, and also 3. These different varieties have various structures and functions.

The collagens in the human body are solid and flexible.

Type 1 collagen fibrils are particularly capable of gift stretched. Gram-for-gram, they space stronger 보다 steel.


Roles: What does collagen do?

Collagen is secreted by various cells, however mainly through connective tissue cells.

It is uncovered in the extracellular matrix. This is an intricate network that macromolecules the determines the physical properties of human body tissues. A macromolecule is a molecule include a huge number the atoms.


Share top top PinterestWith age, collagen weakens, resulting in wrinkles and cartilage problems.

In the dermis, or the middle layer of skin, collagen helps kind a fibrous network that cells dubbed fibroblasts, ~ above which brand-new cells can grow. It also plays a duty in replacing and restoring dead skin cells.

Some collagens act together protective coverings for vulnerable organs in the body, such as the kidneys.

With age, the body produces less collagen. The structure integrity of the skin declines. Wrinkles form, and joint cartilage weakens.

Women experience a dramatic reduction in collagen synthetic after menopause.

By the period of 60 years, a considerable decline in collagen production is normal.


Uses: Medical and cosmetic

Collagen is resorbable. This method it have the right to be broken down, converted, and soaked up back into the body. It can likewise be created into compacted solids or lattice-like gels.

Its diverse range of functions and the truth that it is naturally developing make it clinically functional and suitable for various medical purposes.

Collagen for clinical use can originate native humans, cows, pigs, or sheep.

Skin fillers

Collagen injections deserve to improve the contours of the skin and fill out depressions.

Fillers the contain collagen can be offered cosmetically to remove lines and also wrinkles indigenous the face. The can likewise improve scars, as lengthy as these do not have a spicy edge.

These fillers space sourced native humans and also cows. Skin tests should be done prior to using collagen native cows, to stop aggravating any kind of allergies.

Collagen deserve to fill relatively superficial volumes. More extensive gaps are usually filled through substances such as fat, silicone, or implants.

Wound dressing

Collagen can aid heal wounds by attracting brand-new skin cell to the wound site. It promotes healing and provides a platform for new tissue growth.

Collagen dressings can aid heal:

chronic wounds that carry out not answers to other treatmentwounds that expel bodily fluids such together urine or sweatgranulating wounds, on which various tissue growsnecrotic or rotting woundspartial and full-thickness woundssecond-degree burnssites of skin donation and also skin grafts

Collagen dressings room not recommended for third-degree burns, wounds extended in dry eschar, or for patients who may be perceptible to commodities sourced native cows.

Guided organization regeneration

Collagen-based membranes have actually been provided in periodontal and also implant treatment to encourage the development of specific varieties of cell.

In dental surgery, collagen obstacles can prevent fast-growing cells around the gum from moving to a wound in a tooth. This preservation a room where tooth cells have actually the opportunity to regenerate.

Collagen-based membrane can help healing in these cases and also they room resorbable, so this barrier does not should be surgically eliminated after the key operation.

Vascular prosthetics

Collagen tissue grafts from donors have been provided in peripheral nerve regeneration, in vascular prostheses, and in arterial reconstruction.

While collagen prostheses room compatible with the human body, some have been discovered to be thrombogenic, or most likely to reason coagulation that the blood.

Treatment the osteoarthritis

Collagen additionally or formulations may aid treat osteoarthritis.

A 2006 review discovered that supplements containing collagen assisted decrease pains symptoms and also improving joint role in human being with osteoarthritis.

As the supplement was absorbed, collagen built up in the cartilage, and this aided to rebuild the extracellular matrix.

Not all studies have supported this findings, however.

Skin revitalization


Share on PinterestCollagen creams are unlikely come work, as collagen molecules space too large to pass with the skin.

Many commodities containing collagen, consisting of creams and powders, case to revitalize the skin by raising collagen levels in ~ the body.

This is unlikely, however, as collagen molecules are too big to be soaked up through the skin.

Any benefit is probably because of the moisturizing impacts of these products. They do not straight increase collagen.

Such treatments are additionally not classified together drugs, so any kind of claims concerning their efficacy do not should be scientifically proven. Fist is advised as soon as using these products.


Laser therapy can assist treat big marks, as it have the right to stimulate the growth of collagen, elastin, and melanin.

A healthful diet can aid the body produce collagen.

Nutrients that might support collagen formation include:

Copper: In shellfish, nuts, red meat, and some drink water.

What damages collagen?

Some factors can diminish the levels of collagen within the body. Staying clear of them might keep the skin healthy for longer.

High sugar consumption: A high-sugar diet boosts the rate of glycation, a procedure where blood sugars attach to protein to type new molecule called progressed glycation end commodities (AGEs).

AGEs damage adjacent proteins and also can make collagen dry, brittle, and also weak.

Smoking: countless chemicals existing in tobacco smoke damages both collagen and elastin in the skin.

Nicotine likewise narrows the blood vessels in the external layers the the skin. This compromises skin wellness by reducing the shipment of nutrients and also oxygen come the skin.

Sunlight: Ultraviolet beam in sunlight reason collagen to break down more rapidly, damaging collagen fibers and causing abnormal elastin to build up.

The UV rays in sunlight damage the collagen in the dermis, and also the skin rebuilds incorrectly, forming wrinkles.

Autoimmune disorders: some autoimmune disorders cause antibodies to target collagen.

Genetic changes can influence the extracellular matrix. The collagen that is developed can be lower, or it may be dysfunctional, mutated collagen.

The aging process reasons collagen levels to diminish naturally end time. Over there is no method to protect against this.

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Avoiding tobacco and also excess sun exposure and following a healthful dietary and also exercise routine can help reduce clearly shows aging and also protect collagen, keeping the skin, bones, muscles, and also joints healthy for longer.