Collagen is the most abundant protein found naturally in your body and is responsible for healthy joints and skin elasticity, or stretchiness. It is in your bones, muscles, tendons, and blood, comprising three quarters of your skin and a third of the protein in your body. Essentially the glue that holds the body together.
Collagen is often called ‘the fountain of youth’ and offers many positive benefits to our bodies. Collagen has many different types and each of those benefit our hair, skin, nails, and bone.
Proteins are made up of three amino acids, glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, and collagen. It is composed of repeating groups of the amino acids: glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. These amino acids form long chains, and collagen is the ‘rope’ formed when three of these long chains of amino acids twist about each other in a triple helix shape to create one strong molecule.
Since collagen is such a large protein, it is often hydrolysed, which is when cold enzymes are added to the protein to break it down, this will make it easier to digest and absorb.
As you age, your existing collagen breaks down, and your body’s natural ability to produce more declines. Starting from our mid-twenties, we slowly begin to lose collagen, production drops by around 1% per year, and woman can lose 30% of collagen production in the first 5 years of menopause. It also decreases with other factors such as smoking, stress, over exposure to sunlight and poor diet. This lack of collagen results in the common signs of aging. Wrinkles, sagging skin that has lost its elasticity, and stiff joints are all signs that the body is producing less collagen. As a result, many people turn to collagen supplements.
When collagen levels are high, the skin is soft, smooth, and firm. Collagen helps the skin cells renew and repair themselves. Collagen also helps keep the skin moist. Therefore, collagen has been seen as a very important ingredient for skin care over the years.
Some common benefits are:
- Stronger bones
- Skin elasticity and hydration
- Thicker, stronger hair
- Healthier nails
- Improved tendon and joint flexibility and strength
- Reduced Osteoarthritis pain
- Increased muscle mass
There are over 28 types of collagen that have been discovered so far. But of these, 80-90% belong to the first three types – types I, II and III. which are differentiated by where in the body it is sourced and its amino acid structure. The most abundant being Type I and is found typically in Marine Collagen but also present in smaller amounts in Porcine and some forms of Bovine Collagen. Type I collagen is most notable for its anti-aging properties. Among the various types of collagen, this fibrous protein best minimises wrinkles and improves the skin’s health and hydration. Type I is prevalent in connective tissues and makes up 75-90% of the collagen found in your skin, hair, nails, organs, tendons, bone, ligaments.
Type II collagen is best known for promoting joint health. It is the main component found in joint cartilage. Cartilage protects the ends of bones from rubbing against each other. It is helpful in optimising the skeletal system. Type II is also important for supporting the health of our gut lining. It improves the barrier function of the gut and in turn supports both digestive and immune health.
Type III Collagen is the second most abundant collagen and provides and improves the structure of muscles, as well as organs and blood vessels and most commonly in tissues with elastic properties such as skin, lungs, intestinal walls and walls of blood vessels.
Chemiplas, has a partnership with CNABiotech. They have a range of marine and bovine collagen as well as vegan peptides. It is soluble and taste/odourless and is backed with plenty of scientific studies.
South Korea is well-known for their innovative food products and having a sustainability programme in place is important for consumers. CNABiotech have confirmed that their collagen source from Red Snapper scales is sustainable as it’s made from the skins and scales of the fish that would otherwise be discarded in the seafood processing industry.
Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 22.3, Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/