Collagen, what is it and what is it for?
Published: 30 December, 2021 | 4'
What is collagen?
It is the most abundant protein in the human body, which represents more than 30% and is the main constituent of our connective tissues. This protein, which is part of our bones and skin, is responsible for the structural integrity of our tissues and organs, playing a key role not only in osteoarticular mobility but also in skin ageing.
Types of collagen
Twenty-eight different types of collagen have been found in our body. However, up to 90% of our collagen is made up of Type I, II and III.
Type I collagen
This is the most abundant kind of collagen in the human body, the only one present in bones and joints (80 and 30% respectively). They give tendons (responsible for bone-muscle and muscle-muscle insertion) their characteristic strength and elasticity. It also provides 75% of the collagen present in the skin.
Type II collagen
It is almost exclusively located in the cartilage of the joints, allowing bones to move with almost no friction against each other.
Type III collagen
It is one of the main structural components of blood vessels, approximately 40% together with type I collagen fibres, and 10-20% of the collagen in our skin in adults.
Where is collagen obtained from?
Collagen is produced naturally in animal organisms, so there is no such thing as plant collagen as these organisms have no mobility. It is mainly taken from the skin and joints of mammals (mainly bovine and porcine collagen) and from the skin and bones of fish (marine collagen).
What is hydrolysed collagen?
What is the difference between collagen and hydrolysed collagen?
Hydrolysed collagen is better assimilated by the body because it is obtained by breaking down the high-density native collagen proteins, which leads to a mixture of small-weight peptides (a process called enzymatic hydrolysis). The result is better absorption and assimilation of collagen in the body.
Furthermore, hydrolysed collagen promotes not only collagen synthesis but also the synthesis of other components (glycosaminoglycans and hyaluronic acid) present in the extracellular matrix of connective tissues.
Benefits of collagen for bones and joints
Aging, overweight, practice and sports or work injuries, among other factors, can lead to a loss of type I collagen. The oral intake of hydrolysed collagen provides proteins that are part of the structures of cartilage, tendons and ligaments (connective tissues) promoting their elasticity and lubrication.
Foods containing collagen
Collagen is present in foods of animal (offal, skin or bone broth) and marine (fish skin and bones) origin.
This high molecular weight protein is a major source of amino acids, mainly glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Glycine and proline are naturally essential elements for the stability and regeneration of osteocartilage, while hydroxyproline is produced from proline and is particularly important for the production of collagen.
After being ingested, collagen must be absorbed in the body as small peptides and amino acids. Food supplements with hydrolysed collagen are not only a good way of taking in this protein, but are also easily assimilated by the body.
Food supplements with collagen
Collagen and Magnesium
This is an allied combination for osteoarticular and muscular well-being. Collagen helps lubrication and elasticity of the joints, while magnesium plays an important role in modulating the calcium channel at muscular level and contributes to the normal maintenance of bones and reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid
Both are natural components of cartilage and skin and are involved in firmness and lubrication. This combination provides comfort against ageing.
Collagen with Magnesium and Vitamin C
This is a common combination in nutricosmetics. Magnesium contributes to the normal maintenance of bones and muscles and helps to reduce fatigue, while vitamin C contributes to bone maintenance, collaborating in the formation of collagen and neutralising the free radicals responsible for oxidative stress.
Biotin and Collagen
Biotin and collagen are widely used in nutricosmetics . Biotin contributes to the normal maintenance of hair and skin and collagen is a natural protein similar to keratin that is part of the structure of hair and nails, providing firmness.
Hydrolysed collagen is also widely used in anti-ageing cosmetics due to its capacity to retain water inside the body, helping to moisturise the skin.
Nutricosmetics has also included innovative formats such as drinkable vials of collagen, whose hydrolysed formula significantly increases its bioavailability in the body, and are easy to take and carry with you at all times.
Are there any contraindications to collagen?
At recommended doses, collagen supplements have no contraindications and can be taken for long periods of time without apparent discomfort; however, they are not a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet and in case of pregnancy or breastfeeding, a doctor should be asked for advice.
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