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The Differences Between Insulin, Collagen, and Keratin

The human body is composed of many substances essential to maintaining good health and life itself; keratin, collagen and insulin are just three of the substances that are vital to the proper functioning of our bodies. Though some similarities between these compounds exit, they differ in composition and purpose. Additionally, forms of these substances are produced synthetically for medicinal use.

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Molecular Construction

While the molecular structure of insulin, collagen and keratin are similar in composition, their constructions are different. Insulin is a protein chain composed of two amino acids that is produced by and used in the body in liquid form. Similarly, keratin is also a protein, but it is found in solid form that can be very hard, as in fingernails or soft, as in hair or skin. Collagen is the most predominant protein in the connective tissues of the body.; it is also a class of amino acid, but is composed of three strands of amino acids.

Use of Synthetic Products

Insulin, collagen and keratin are organic, being naturally produced in the human body. However, insulin is available in synthetic form and is used for medical purposes. Keratin is also available in synthetic form; it is used by cosmetic companies in beauty products for hair, skin and nails. Recently scientists have begun to produce synthetic collagen, as research indicates that there are potential health implications for the use of such a synthetic.

Origin of Collegan, Keratin or Insulin

Insulin is secreted by the pancreas and delivered to working muscles for the purpose of metabolism. Keratin and collagen are produced by special cells in the skin.


All three of these proteins are essential to normal functioning of the body, but the absence of insulin can cause immediate death, as insulin is the main hormone that regulates metabolism. On the other hand, keratin and collagen are vital to good health, but there are no life-threatening repercussions if collagen or keratin levels drop. Keratin is found in human hair and nails and is a component of outer layer of skin. Collagen is used for strengthening hair, nails, bone and connective tissues in the body.

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About the Author

Katherine Bradley

Katherine Bradley began writing in 2006. Her education and leadership articles have been published on Education.com, Montessori Leadership Online and the Georgia Educational Researcher. Bradley completed a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Mercer University in 2009.

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