Collagen 101

Protein, considered the building blocks of the metabolism, is the second most plentiful substance in the body (after water). It is needed for the growth and repair of every cell in the body. Up to 40% of the body is made up of connective tissue with 70% of the connective tissue being collagen.

Collagen is the protein that forms connective fibers in tissues such as skin, ligaments, cartilage and bones. Collagen acts as a kind of intracellular glue that gives support, shape and bulk to blood vessels, bones, and organs including the heart, kidneys and liver. Collagen is also required for the repair of blood vessels, bruises and broken bones.

After the age of 25 the body’s natural ability to produce amino acids diminishes, but supplementing the diet with collagen protein can help.  Collagen Hydrolysate is unique in its amino acid profile, because it contains high amounts of glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Other protein food supplements contain much lower levels of these key amino acids.

Both cartilage and bone in joints are subject to continual physical stress, so they are constantly being broken down and replaced.  Cartilage that covers the surface of joints is composed of cells called chondrocytes. These cells are embedded in an extracellular matrix containing collagen fibers and other molecules linked into an integrated network with hyaluronic acid.  A diet devoid of ample protein to combat the collagen breakdown can result in sore or damaged joints.

Hydrolyzed collagen may be an effective supportive nutrient for individuals with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, and its level of safety makes it attractive as an agent for long term use in these chronic disorders.