Medically the review by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — composed by James McIntosh top top June 16, 2017

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

You are watching: What is the most abundant protein in the human body


It is the substance that holds the body together. Collagen develops a scaffold to administer strength and also structure.

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

Endogenous collagen has a variety of important functions. Break down and depletion is linked to a variety of health problems.

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


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

In many collagens, the molecules space packed with each other to form long, thin fibrils.

These plot as supporting structures and anchor cells to each other. They give the skin strength and elasticity.

There room at least 16 different species of collagen, however 80 to 90 percent of them belong to varieties 1, 2, and also 3. These different varieties have various structures and also functions.

The collagens in the human body are strong and flexible.

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


Roles: What does collagen do?

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

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


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

In the dermis, or the center layer that skin, collagen helps kind a fibrous network of cells referred to as fibroblasts, top top which brand-new cells can grow. It additionally plays a function in replacing and also restoring dead skin cells.

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

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

Women endure a dramatic reduction in collagen synthesis after menopause.

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


Uses: Medical and also cosmetic

Collagen is resorbable. This way it deserve to be broken down, converted, and soaked up back right into the body. The can additionally be created into compacted solids or lattice-like gels.

Its diverse range of functions and the reality that the is naturally occurring make that clinically flexible and perfect for various medical purposes.

Collagen for medical use deserve to originate native humans, cows, pigs, or sheep.

Skin fillers

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

Fillers that contain collagen have the right to be provided cosmetically to eliminate lines and also wrinkles from the face. It can also improve scars, as long as these execute not have a spicy edge.

These fillers space sourced indigenous humans and cows. Skin tests need to be done before using collagen indigenous cows, to avoid aggravating any kind of allergies.

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

Wound dressing

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

Collagen dressings can help heal:

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

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

Guided organization regeneration

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

In oral surgery, collagen obstacles can protect against fast-growing cells around the gum from migrating to a wound in a tooth. This preservation a space where this cells have the opportunity to regenerate.

Collagen-based membrane can assist healing in this cases and they are resorbable, therefore this obstacle does not should be surgically gotten rid of after the main operation.

Vascular prosthetics

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

While collagen prostheses are compatible v the human being body, some have been found to it is in thrombogenic, or likely to cause coagulation the the blood.

Treatment of osteoarthritis

Collagen additional or formulations may help treat osteoarthritis.

A 2006 review found that supplements include collagen assisted decrease painful symptoms and improving joint function in human being with osteoarthritis.

As the supplement was absorbed, collagen gathered in the cartilage, and also this assisted to rebuild the extracellular matrix.

Not all studies have supported this findings, however.

Skin revitalization


Share ~ above PinterestCollagen creams are unlikely come work, together collagen molecules room too big to pass with the skin.

Many commodities containing collagen, including creams and powders, claim to revitalize the skin by enhancing collagen levels in ~ the body.

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

Any advantage is probably because of the moisturizing effects of these products. They carry out not directly increase collagen.

Such therapies are likewise not classified together drugs, so any type of claims about their efficacy do not should be scientifically proven. Caution is advised as soon as using these products.


Laser therapy can aid treat stretch marks, together it can stimulate the expansion of collagen, elastin, and melanin.

A healthful diet can aid the body develop collagen.

Nutrients that may support collagen development include:

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

What loss collagen?

Some factors can deplete the levels of collagen in ~ the body. Staying clear of them can keep the skin healthy for longer.

High street consumption: A high-sugar diet increases the price of glycation, a procedure where blood sugars attach to proteins to kind new molecule called advanced glycation end assets (AGEs).

AGEs damage nearby proteins and can do collagen dry, brittle, and weak.

Smoking: numerous chemicals existing in tobacco smoke damage both collagen and also elastin in the skin.

Nicotine additionally narrows the blood vessels in the outer layers that the skin. This compromises skin health by reducing the distribution of nutrients and also oxygen to the skin.

Sunlight: Ultraviolet light ray in sunlight reason collagen to break down more rapidly, damaging collagen fibers and also causing abnormal elastin to develop up.

The UV light ray in sunlight damages the collagen in the dermis, and the skin rebuilds incorrectly, creating wrinkles.

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

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

The aging process causes collagen levels to diminish naturally over time. Over there is no method to avoid this.

See more: How Many Shots Should I Take Based On Your Size, How Many Shots Do I Need To Get Drunk

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