Collagen is a fibrous protein, typical of animals, which plays an important role in the resistance and elasticity of a series of tissues in our body. Collagen function
Collagen is an important animal body protein, representing between 25% and 30% of all body protein . This fibrous protein is made up of peptide chains formed by amino acids such as glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. The amino acid sequence of collagens, regardless of type, contains a glycine amino acid repeated at every third position in this sequence.
Collagen fibrils are formed through the polymerization of tropocollagen (molecular units). Tropocollagen is made up of three polypeptide chains that are arranged in a triple helix. Tropocollagen aggregates into microfibrils, which assemble to form fibrils, in collagen types I, II, and III. In types I and III, these fibrils form the fibers.
Collagen has a relatively simple molecular structure and is not water soluble . This insolubility is a result of the large amount of hydrophobic amino acids in the protein. Collagen is generally white and opaque in vivo .
Classification of collagens Collagen function
There are different types of collagen, which vary, for example, in composition, length and molecular structure. Almost 30 different types of collagen have already been identified, with type I being the most common, being present in the skin , tendon and bones, for example. Collagen can be classified into groups according to their structure and function :
- Collagens that form long fibrils: able to aggregate and form long fibrils that can be seen under the electron microscope. Collagen molecules of types I, II, III, V and XI are classified in this way.
- Collagen associated with fibrils: responsible for linking collagen fibrils to each other and also to other components of the extracellular matrix. Collagen types IX, XII and XIV are classified in this way.
- Collagen that forms a network : it associates in order to create a kind of network. This is how type IV collagen is classified.
- Anchoring collagen : Found in the fibrils that anchor type I collagen fibers in the basal lamina. Type VII collagen is classified in this group.
Collagen function: Collagen stands out for being an essential component of various connective tissues, being found in the skin, cartilage , bones and tendons. It has the function of contributing to the resistance, cohesion and elasticity of the tissues in which it is present. This protein is responsible for guaranteeing the integrity of the extracellular matrix or for fixing cells in this matrix . It also plays an important role in healing and regeneration . Collagen function
Supplementation and benefits of using collagen Collagen function
We know that our body needs collagen to ensure, for example, firm skin and adequate muscle tone. As we age, our collagen production drops, so it is common to recommend supplementation, in order to ensure the replacement of levels of this protein. In addition to aging, poor diet can be responsible for reductions in collagen levels.
Collagen is obtained for commercial purposes based on several species of animals. Based on collagen type I, which is the most common, partially hydrolyzed collagen (gelatin) and hydrolyzed collagen can be obtained .
Oral collagen supplementation is a very controversial subject , and many researchers are still debating whether its use is really effective. However, a number of studies indicate its benefits, in addition to ensuring that supplementation is safe and generally does not cause adverse effects.
According to the work by Porfírio and Fanaro entitled “Collagen supplementation as a complementary therapy in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis: a systematic review”, hydrolyzed collagen has a positive therapeutic role with regard to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis .
This work concluded that the administration of hydrolyzed collagen increases bone mineral density, exerts a protective effect on articular cartilage, and promotes pain relief caused by these problems. However, more studies are needed to establish the ideal dose and age for the use of this supplementation.
In the work “Scientific basis of the effects of oral supplementation with hydrolyzed collagen on the skin”, by Zague and Machado-Santelli, the authors state that collagen peptides, after ingestion, are able to cross the intestinal mucosa and proceed to the skin, in which they stimulate the metabolism of the dermis cells, increase the amount of compounds that are part of the matrix, and improve the functional and biomechanical properties of the skin.
Thus, we can conclude that collagen supplementation can be beneficial, but more studies are needed to better understand the application of this protein. In addition, another important point to be highlighted is that complementation must be prescribed by a specialist so that adequate doses are administered.