But how exactly does our body form collagen?
Depending on its type and function, collagen is formed by different cells:
– Fibroblasts (connective tissue cells) and osteoblasts (cells of bone tissue) primarily produce type I and III collagen. Chondrocytes (cells of cartilage tissue) mainly produce collagen type II.
During collagen synthesis by the various cells, more than 1,000 amino acids are strung together to form a long chain, which is the polypeptide chain, also called procollagen. When three of these amino acid chains wind around each other, the characteristic triple helix is formed and the term tropocollagen unit is used. If several tropocollagen units are stored close together, thin collagen fibrils are initially formed. By further stacking together, the thicker collagen fibers are formed.
Collagen fibers can be thought of as a kind of rope, consisting of several individual fibers twisted into a thick bundle. In the skin and other tissues, the fibers then cross-link to form a collagen scaffold, which adds tension to the skin. The more collagen fibers support your skin, the firmer it is.
In addition, you can support the organism with antioxidants, such as vitamin C, or the intake of amino acids. Amino acids are the small building blocks of proteins. Collagen polypeptide chains are also formed from them. These in turn form procollagen and finally collagen.