What are they, what do they do, and which collagen types do you need?
Collagen is the main structural protein in our bodies, and the most abundant, but after the age of 25, our natural collagen production slows, along with our speed in repairing any damaged collagen fibers.
Although the effects of depleted collagen are often first observed in the skin, hair, and nails, your tendons, organs, and bones are experiencing the same effects internally. To counteract this effect, we often take supplements, but with so many different collagen types, it’s hard to know exactly what we need.
Here is a rundown of the five most common types of collagen and their functions in our body:
Type I Collagen
Type I Collagen is by far the most abundant in our body: making up 90% of our total collagen. It’s known for both its strength and flexibility, so you’ll see its effects in the structure of our skin, bones, nails, blood vessels, tendons, and other connective tissues in our bodies.
Type II Collagen
Type II has a more fibrous texture and is most prevalent in cartilage (the connective tissue in joints, ears, the nose, and rib cage - basically, the structures in our bodies that are rigid, but not bone). When your Type II Collagen is depleted, your joints can ache, click, and grind since the connections at the end of your bones are not as padded as they once were.
Type III Collagen
Often found with Type I Collagen, Type III is also a fibrillar collagen, but more responsible for the pliable and flexible features of the skin and other organs. It’s helpful to think of Type I and Type II as a blend of fabric: one cloth that is woven from a blend of fibers that work together for a strong fabric that is still flexible.
Type V Collagen
Collagen Type V is often thought of as the hair and nails collagen, but it plays a much larger role in the balance of our body. In addition to its specialized function in placental development during pregnancy, Type V collagen balances out the stretch and flexibility of other collagen types and provides critical structure for the skin, joints, and blood vessels.
A depletion of Type V can be seen in the hair and nails externally, and internally, in the weakening of blood vessels and internal organ tissue.
Type X Collagen
The dense Type X collagen carries the structural trait responsible for bone strength and density - something that we naturally lose as we age. To preemptively battle aging brittle bones, a Type X Collagen supplement can give our body the foundational protein it needs to help build strong bones.
Choosing the Right Collagen Type for You
Collagen is an essential protein in all animals, so animal products are the best source to supplement your own collagen supply. The highest quantities of collagen are found in animal bones, tendons, cartilage, and shells.
By using water (hydrolysis), these dense collagen sources can be broken down into small, dissolvable peptides which are easy for the body to digest.
Just as you care about the quality of your groceries, you want to look for ingredients (collagen sources) that are sourced for the cleanest and most effective product.
Since each collagen type relies in some way on the others, taking all five types in one multi collagen supplement, like Alaya Multi Collagen Powder is best. This will give your body all the essential building blocks in a formulated balance to promote its overall health (skin, joints, bones, organs, and vessels).
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