Collagen Type I, II, and III: What Do Each of the Types Mean?

Each Type of Collagen

Collagen is one of the most important proteins in our bodies because it is used for both health and cosmetic reasons. Our initial collagen concentration produces important compounds and the skin that shelters our internal organs. Our bodies need collagen after the initial development stages to repair damage and continue producing certain compounds. The collagen we retain after birth ensures our bodies retain healthy skin, hair, nails, and more. The problem is that collagen is an extremely complicated, less reliable protein than we might like. Collagen is a surprisingly diverse protein that has several different forms and properties. Unfortunately, while we are born with collagen in our systems, we slowly lose it as we age, and its effects diminish. Even more unfortunate is that we need collagen to retain certain health and cosmetic benefits. Disregarding that our collagen levels naturally deplete with age, the term "collagen" does not refer to a single protein but instead details an entire protein class.

There is more than 1 type of collagen, and each variant plays a slightly different role in the body than the others. These different collagen variants are important to the body, but we cannot take advantage of their properties if we do not understand them. This might not have been important before modern medicine, but new developments have allowed us to create collagen supplements. The problem is that collagen is used in several fields ranging from cosmetic treatment to actual medicinal uses. This makes collagen a very difficult substance to use since it is possible to use the wrong variety. Of the collagen types that exist, a few are more important and more frequently used compared to the others. The question is: what are they, and what do they do?

How Many Kinds of Collagen Are There?

Collagen is a surprisingly diverse protein that has several different forms and properties. The problem most people have is that collagen is usually referred to in the singular sense, giving the illusion of only having a single form. In reality, there are 28 known types of collagens, and possibly more remain undiscovered by modern science. For now, researchers agree that there are 28 distinct varieties worth observing, which might be intimidating to anyone hoping to use collagen to improve their health. While sorting through 28 types of collagens might seem like the situation you face, the truth is that you only need to worry about 5. Only 5 types of collagens play a significant role in our biology, and the other 23, while important, are not as critical. These 5 collagens are easily identified since they are identified by number rather than complex scientific names. 

These 5 major types have earned this distinction because they directly affect our everyday health and appearance. Unlike the other 23, the first 5 types have a higher concentration and pronounced benefits on everyday bodily functions, yielding different effects. While there are only 5 types of collagens relevant to everyday society, another distinguishing factor is worth discussing. Although these are all variants of the same protein, we are somewhat limited in our ability to combine them. Simultaneously taking certain kinds of collagens could backfire since some interfere with each other when consumed together.

A Collagen Protein

Collagen can be further categorized into 2 categories that each variant falls under:

  • Fibrillar Collagen: Fibrillar collagen is the least common category but accounts for 4 of the 5 major collagen types. Fibrillar collagens produce new tissue and are therefore considered the most important category. The collagens that produce skin and hair are fibrillar and are among the most important to people looking to improve their appearance.
  • Non-Fibrillar Collagen: Non-fibrillar collagen is more common and accounts for 23 of the collagen varieties, including Type IV collagen. Unlike fibrillar collagens, the non-fibrillar variants do not produce new tissue and instead work with existing tissue. This usually involves modifying aspects of our tissue and optimizing it for its primary function.

While knowing that fibrillar and non-fibrillar collagens exist is important, it is ultimately irrelevant to the topic. While 1 of the 5 major collagen varieties is a non-fibrillar variant, we will not be discussing Type IV collagen in this article. While Types IV and V collagen are important, the most important of the group are Types I, II, and III since they have the most practical use. The problem is that the average person is unaware of what each collagen type does or how they impact our bodies.

What is Type I Collagen?

Type I collagen likely earned its name because it is the most abundant collagen variant in the human body. The human body has a concentration of all the major collagen varieties, and 90% is Type I. This is hardly surprising since Type I collagen has been tied to almost all the connective tissue in our bodies. Type I collagen is a fibrillar collagen that helps create new tissue when necessary. Most studies have determined Type I collagen specializes in producing skin, bone, and connective tissue. As a result, Type I collagen is one of the most valuable varieties on the market. Type I collagen can be used in a healthcare and cosmetic capacity that helps us recover from the damage we endure from age. As a result, most of the collagen supplements you see for sale will focus on introducing Type I collagen to the body.

Type I Collagen

Taking Type I collagen means you can reinforce your skeletal structure and improve bone health, which helps naturally increase the durability and strength of your bones. Essentially, Type I collagen is the milk of the collagen world since it strengthens and supports bone regeneration. In the cosmetic field, Type I collagen can help restore the quality and appearance of your skin, allowing you to reclaim a youthful visage. Considering Type I collagen is the most common variant, it is unsurprising that it benefits both sides of the spectrum. Type I collagen's abundance in the human body results from its versatility and ability to address most cosmetic and health issues. Most people who use collagen supplements use Type I because they are trying to enhance their appearance and skin health.

Type I collagen is often cited as the most important variant, which is not entirely true, but the misconception is understandable. Nevertheless, Type I collagen is not the only kind, and the other 27 have traits distinguishing them from Type I. That said, we will discuss only 2 other collagen types in this article.

What is Type II Collagen?

Type II collagen is less common than Type I, but it is no less valuable to our health. Type II collagen actually provides a lot of support for Type I collagen since it focuses on improving health. Type II collagen is fibrillar, so it also produces new tissue like Type I does. The difference is that Type II collagen focuses on cartilage production and joint support instead of producing bones and skin. In this sense, Type II overlaps with Type I since the latter strengthens the bones, and the former strengthens the joints. Several degenerative joint disorders cause the cartilage in our joints to disintegrate, which opens the door for conditions like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis to affect us. These illnesses cause a lot of pain and suffering when they manifest, especially since there is no cure for them. Avoiding them is not always possible, but ensuring your body has the necessary collagen to maintain your cartilage is an excellent way to skew the odds in your favor.

Type II Collagen

Type II collagen also plays a role in repairing damaged connective tissue that might have been compromised due to injury. While it cannot fully repair connective tissue that has been severed completely, it can help restore functionality to minor wounds easier. This makes it a viable tool for countering degenerative diseases since the cartilage (a connective tissue) can be regenerated by Type II collagen directly and indirectly. Type II collagen supplements will help your body produce more collagen in the joints and other body parts. While this might not be enough to prevent the diseases completely, it can help keep them at bay.

Additionally, Type II collagen can reduce inflammation in the synovial fluid, meaning you will experience less discomfort in your joints. Type II collagen is exclusively used to improve physical health and offers little to no benefit for cosmetic issues. The good news is we have one more type of collagen to discuss. The bad news is that this last variant does not offer cosmetic benefits either.

What is Type III Collagen?

While less prevalent than Type I, Type III collagen is an extremely important variant that plays a major role in one of our body's most important functions. Once again, we are discussing a fibrillar collagen, meaning Type III specializes in producing new tissue. Unlike the previous variants, Type III collagen plays a more subtle role concerning what it helps create. Type III collagen interacts with the blood, specifically the platelets in the bloodstream, to promote our body's natural capacity to heal. It also helps optimize the functions of several organs by generating tissue in the muscles, arteries, and the organs themselves. The interactions between Type III collagen and our circulatory system mean Type III supplements can promote an inherently healthier body. While it might not be as direct as Type I or II, the supplements can elicit several effects that will improve your body's ability to function and recover from injury.

Type III supplements are primarily used to improve blood circulation and help accelerate our ability to heal minor injuries. Things like scrapes and cuts can take a long time to heal, but Type III collagen ensures the blood clots properly. Taking a Type III supplement helps enhance that healing effect, making it easier to recover from minor scrapes and injuries and minimizing the chance of major scarring from those wounds. In addition to its clotting effects, Type III collagen assists our circulatory system and muscles, which help keep our bodies functioning. Type III collagen's effect on our circulatory system makes it an incredibly powerful tool against artery damage. This is especially important since heart disease is America's leading cause of death, primarily due to clogged arteries.

Type III Collagen

Studies were conducted on collagen that discovered its effect on adults dealing with arterial stiffness that was inhibiting their circulatory system. A 6-month study took 31 otherwise healthy adults and separated them into a test group and a control group. The subjects in the test group were given 16 grams of collagen daily and demonstrated reduced arterial symptoms compared to the control group. Additionally, the subjects had reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, meaning their risk of heart disease was significantly reduced. While Type III collagen is not a substitute for lifestyle changes to protect against elevated cholesterol and clogged arteries, it can be a beneficial supplement.

Keep it All Natural!

Collagen is an important protein that suffers from certain weaknesses but provides benefits that are too important to ignore. The various types of collagens have different effects, and the variety also dictates their effect on our bodies. While we need some types of collagens more than others, they all affect our health and appearance. Collagen supplements have become a common resource, though the types of collagens we use must be used carefully. Finding a reliable supplement can be a major challenge since there are markets that sell lackluster products to try and capitalize on the craze.

A Collagen Powder Supplement

We at Bella All Natural understand the significance of collagen and the necessity of accessing a natural supplement to enhance your health and appearance. That is why we have dedicated ourselves to producing supplements that meet your needs. Among the products we offer are our Collagen Multivitamins, an enhanced version of our previous collagen powder for people on the go. Our product contains compatible collagen variants that enhance your health and appearance, but we encourage you to try them rather than take our word for it. Regardless of your decision, remember always to keep it All Natural!

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