Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — composed by James McIntosh ~ above June 16, 2017

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the person body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons.

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It is the substance the holds the body together. Collagen creates a frame to provide strength and structure.

Endogenous collagen is organic collagen, synthesized through 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 linked to a variety of health problems.

Exogenous collagen is offered for medical and also cosmetic purposes, consisting of the repair of human body tissues.


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Share top top PinterestCollagen has a sturdy structure. Gram-for-gram, some varieties are more powerful than steel.
Collagen is a hard, insoluble, and also fibrous protein that makes up one-third of the protein in the person body.

In most collagens, the molecules space packed with each other to kind long, slim fibrils.

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

There room at the very least 16 different varieties of collagen, but 80 to 90 percent of them belong to types 1, 2, and also 3. This different species have various structures and also functions.

The collagens in the human being body are solid and flexible.

Type 1 collagen fibrils are particularly capable of being stretched. Gram-for-gram, they are stronger than steel.


Roles: What walk collagen do?

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

It is uncovered in the extracellular matrix. This is an detailed network of macromolecules the determines the physics properties of human body tissues. A macromolecule is a molecule comprise a large number the atoms.


Share on PinterestWith age, collagen weakens, causing wrinkles and also cartilage problems.

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

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

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

Women suffer a dramatic reduction in collagen synthesis after menopause.

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


Uses: Medical and cosmetic

Collagen is resorbable. This means it have the right to be damaged down, converted, and absorbed back right into the body. The can likewise be developed into compacted solids or lattice-like gels.

Its diverse variety of functions and also the truth that it is naturally developing make it clinically functional and an ideal for various clinical purposes.

Collagen for clinical use have the right to originate from humans, cows, pigs, or sheep.

Skin fillers

Collagen injections have the right to improve the contours of the skin and also fill the end depressions.

Fillers the contain collagen deserve to be supplied cosmetically to remove lines and wrinkles indigenous the face. That can also improve scars, as lengthy as these carry out not have actually a spicy edge.

These fillers room sourced native humans and cows. Skin tests need to be done before using collagen native cows, to prevent aggravating any allergies.

Collagen can fill reasonably superficial volumes. More extensive gaps room usually filled v substances such together fat, silicone, or implants.

Wound dressing

Collagen can help heal wounds by attracting new skin cell to the wound site. It promotes healing and also provides a communication for new tissue growth.

Collagen dressings can aid heal:

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

Collagen dressings space not recommended because that third-degree burns, wounds spanned in dried eschar, or for patients who might be sensitive to products sourced indigenous cows.

Guided organization regeneration

Collagen-based membranes have been provided in periodontal and implant therapy to promote the development of specific varieties of cell.

In oral surgery, collagen obstacles can protect against fast-growing cells about the gum from moving to a wound in a tooth. This conservation a an are where tooth cells have the possibility to regenerate.

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

Vascular prosthetics

Collagen organization grafts from donors have been used in peripheral nerve regeneration, in vascular prostheses, and also in arterial reconstruction.

While collagen prostheses space compatible through the human body, some have been discovered to be thrombogenic, or likely to cause coagulation of the blood.

Treatment the osteoarthritis

Collagen supplements or formulations may assist treat osteoarthritis.

A 2006 review found that supplements containing collagen assisted decrease pains symptoms and also improving joint function in people with osteoarthritis.

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

Not all studies have actually supported this findings, however.

Skin revitalization


Share ~ above PinterestCollagen creams are unlikely to work, together collagen molecules are too large to pass v the skin.

Many products containing collagen, consisting of creams and powders, claim to revitalize the skin by increasing collagen levels in ~ the body.

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

Any advantage is probably due to the moisturizing impacts of these products. They execute not directly increase collagen.

Such treatments are likewise not classified as 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 treatment can assist treat large marks, as it have the right to stimulate the growth of collagen, elastin, and also melanin.

A healthful diet can help the body create collagen.

Nutrients that might support collagen formation include:

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

What loss collagen?

Some determinants can deplete the levels of collagen in ~ the body. Preventing them might keep the skin healthy for longer.

High sugar consumption: A high-sugar diet boosts the price of glycation, a process where blood sugars affix to proteins to form new molecules called advanced glycation end assets (AGEs).

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

Smoking: plenty of chemicals current in tobacco smoke damage both collagen and elastin in the skin.

Nicotine additionally narrows the blood vessels in the external layers of the skin. This compromises skin health and wellness by to reduce the delivery of nutrients and oxygen come the skin.

Sunlight: Ultraviolet rays in sunlight cause collagen to malfunction more rapidly, damaging collagen fibers and causing abnormal elastin to build up.

The UV rays in sunlight damages the collagen in the dermis, and the skin rebuilds incorrectly, developing wrinkles.

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

Genetic changes can impact the extracellular matrix. The collagen that is created can it is in lower, or it might be dysfunctional, mutated collagen.

The aging process causes collagen level to deplete naturally over time. Over there is no way to prevent this.

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