COLLAGEN IN OUR BODIES
Collagen is the major protein in the connective tissues of the body. It ensures the integrity, elasticity and strength of skin, cartilage and bones.
WHAT IS COLLAGEN?
Collagen is a triple helix built from three amino acid chains, which forms strong fibers and provides the body with structure. Collagen is the human body’s most abundant protein, making up around 30% of total protein content. It ensures the integrity, elasticity and strength of our body’s connective tissues and thus maintaining the form and function of our skin, cartilage and bones.
Collagen is what provides strength and integrity to our body’s connective tissues.
Different cells in our body are responsible for the production of collagen. The cells use specific amino acids as building blocks for the long chains that are wound together to the large collagen triple helix. Several helices are then organized into the strong fibers that provide structural tissue support, flexibility and the ability to withstand forces.
Collagen constitutes 75% of the skin’s dry mass content. A key component of the skin’s structure, collagen fibers provide the infrastructure for elastin, which maintains skin elasticity, and for hyaluronic acid to trap moisture.
Tendons are strong fibrous connective tissues that connect muscles to bones. During muscle contraction the tendons’ role is to transmit forces and withstand tension. Tendons contain 85% collagen type 1 and also proteoglycans.
Joint cartilage is made up of cellular building blocks (chondrocytes), which produce an extracellular matrix, consisting of collagen and proteoglycans (mainly aggrecan). Collagen fibers make up 70% of cartilage and are responsible for its structure and strength, while proteoglycans serve as lubricant to the joint.
Representing around 90% of organic bone mass, collagen provides the structural framework on which calcium and other minerals are anchored. Collagen fibers also provide bone flexibility.
FACTS ON COLLAGEN
Discover a few facts about collagen: its presence in the human body and its effects on us.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE AGE. YOUR BODY CHANGES AROUND YOUR 30TH
In our adult years, our bodies begin to produce less collagen. This process begins when we are around the age of 30 and accelerates in our 40s – leading to the inevitable visual and noticeable signs of aging. Collagen loss is a natural process, but other factors such as exposure to UV, pollution, and lifestyle choices can lead to early or more intense signs of aging.
HOW DOES COLLAGEN LOSS AFFECT OUR BODIES?
Because collagen is so important, losing it impacts many aspects of our bodies:
SUPPLEMENTING YOUR COLLAGEN
Peptan collagen peptides are a pure and bioactive protein, derived from a 100% natural source and free from any side-effects. Their health benefits on mobility and skin beauty are backed by published scientific studies.(1) Further indications from preclinical models suggest that Peptan helps to maintain healthy bones. Thus, Peptan is a holistic solution to maintain the health of the musculoskeletal system and also support skin beauty. Peptan IIm (2) hydrolyzed collagen type II matrix has been backed by science to support multiple joint health benefits at a low daily dosage.
Collagen is a safe and natural ingredient available in different grades. It can be found in foods, such as bone broth or gelatin-based desserts. Its solubility, absorption and digestibility levels vary from one grade to another.
Discover the transformation from native collagen to gelatin and collagen peptides.
Native collagen is composed of large triple helix structures made from long amino acid chains. It is not soluble. Typical applications include collagen casings, medical materials, sponges for burns/wounds etc. The molecular weight of native collagen is around 300k – 400k Dalton.
Gelatin is a form of hydrolyzed collagen. It is extracted from collagen-rich raw materials by pulling the triple helix apart into parts of the individual strands. Gelatin will dissolve in warm water and jellify when cooled down (this is the same gelatin you get in your bone broth prepared at home). Because of its gelling, foaming, emulsifying and binding functionalities, gelatin is commonly used in culinary applications, such as gummies, candies, jellies, sauce thickeners etc. Gelatin also has an irreplaceable role in pharma applications, such as soft and hard capsules. Gelatin has a molecular weight of around 50k Dalton.
When gelatin is hydrolyzed even further, the long strands of collagen are broken down into small peptides. Collagen peptides are soluble in cold water, easily digested and absorbed by our body. Over 90% of the collagen peptides appear in our bloodstream within a few hours after consumption, and are effectively delivered to their site of action in our body. Find out more about bioavailability of collagen peptides.
Collagen peptides are bioactive. They act as a messenger to the target tissue, influencing its function, such as triggering the synthesis and reorganization of new collagen fibers in skin. Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated collagen peptides’ health benefits in key areas that include healthy aging, joint and bone health, sports nutrition or skin beauty.
Since collagen peptides are cold water-soluble, they are a better option for functional foods and beverages and dietary supplements than gelatin. Collagen peptides have a molecular weight of less than 5000 Dalton.
- Skin: Nutrients, 2019, A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study, 11(10), 2494.
- Tendon: J Orthop Res., 2015, Tendon Functional Extracellular Matrix, 33(6): 793–799.
- Ligament: Acta Biomater., 2015, Elastin Governs the Mechanical Response of Medial Collateral Ligament Under Shear and Transverse Tensile Loading, 25: 304–312.
- Joint Cartilage: Implications for the Physical Therapist, 2015, By Catherine C. Goodman, Kenda S. Fuller, chapter 6, page 255.
- Bone: Curr Chem Biol., 2009, Chemical and Biochemical Basis of Cell-Bone Matrix Interaction in Health and Disease, 3(2): 189–196.