One of the famous proteins in the body is collagen. Many people have heard of collagen. And some even have an idea as to the function of this protein the body. But the truth is that many people have very minimal knowledge about this protein. Since it’s protein, it’s made up of amino acids. But for many people, their mind does not go in the direction that collagen is made of amino acids. Well, that’s understandable. But you can be sure that once you’re done reading this article that wouldn’t be your story anymore. We’ll be taking a closer look at this protein and its effects on the body.
All proteins in our body and out there are made up of amino acids. Of course, different proteins have different amino acids that are combined. And that’s what makes different amino acids unique. Collagen is quite special because of the combination of amino acids present in the protein. Three amino acids can be found in collagen. And they are proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. These three amino acids are the backbones of collagen. We’ll take a closer look at these amino acids and their function in collagen. So you have to keep reading if you’re eager to find out more.
What Are the Collagen Amino Acids?
Collagen as you already know is present in the body. There are also collagen supplements used to supplement the collagen in the body. Both collagen as a supplement and collagen in the body have similar components. And the components are proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. These are the three amino acids that makeup collagen.
When collagen is consumed as a supplement it goes to places like connective tissue, cells in the skin, and also fibroblasts. And the reason for this is because the collagen in the body is similar to the collagen in supplements.
The collagen in the body is made up largely of proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. And it’s almost the same ratio as the ones found in supplements.
These three different amino acids have great therapeutic effects even when taken separately. But it becomes effective when it’s taken in high doses. For example, glycine is a good choice for dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder. But it only becomes effective when a person takes about 15-60g of this amino acid. And that’s quite a lot. If you’re taking collagen powder you would need about 15-20 servings.
How Do They Work?
How they work is quite simple. The three amino acids come together to form collagen. Glycine has always been known to be a precursor to many proteins. Usually, the percentage of glycine is small. But in collagen, it’s quite large. It’s about 35% collagen. And that’s because of the repeated pattern in the formation of collagen.
Proline, on the other hand, is a non-essential amino acid. And it’s referred to as an imino acid. In collagen, certain prolyl residues are hydroxylated. This hydroxylation is during the synthesis of protein. And vitamin C is very important. So if there’s a deficiency in vitamin C there would be a problem producing collagen.
Hydroxyproline, on the other hand, is produced from proline. And it is about 13.5% of collagen. Both proline and hydroxyproline are very important for the stability of collagen. They allow for twisting of the collagen helix.
Once collagen gets into the body it is broken down. And the amino acids are released in the body. So the amino acids would go to where they are needed the most.
Benefits of Collagen In the Body
1. Improves skin health
One major protein that can be found in the skin is collagen. It helps put with the hydration and elasticity of the skin. That’s how it helps strengthen the skin. The skin starts to wrinkle and become dry as a person grows older. And that’s because collagen starts to reduce.
With studies, we now know that one good way to slow down aging in the skin is by taking collagen supplements. It helps reduce dryness and also wrinkles. That’s because collagen supplements can help stimulate the body to produce collagen. Also, it may promote the production of some other proteins like fibrillin and elastin.
2. Relieves joint pain
Cartilage helps protect the joints. And collagen is responsible for maintaining cartilage. As a person gets older, the amount of collagen in the body begins to drop. And that increases the risk of a person having arthritis.
With some studies, we now know that taking collagen supplements help relieve symptoms that come with osteoarthritis and joint pain. So many studies that have been carried out, have shown that collagen is quite effective in reducing pain in the joints.
3. Prevents the loss of bones
One protein present in the bones that makes them strong is collagen. So once a person starts to age, the bone mass as well would start to decrease. And that would lead to conditions like osteoporosis. And this increases the chances of having a bone fracture.
Some studies that were carried out showed that taking collagen supplements may be effective for reducing bone loss. It is said to have certain effects when it comes to bone breakdown. That way osteoporosis can be reduced.
In another study, women that took collagen supplements had about a 7% boost in bone mineral density. BMD talks about the number of minerals in the bone. If the BMD is quite low then the bones would be weak. And an increase in BMD means strengthened bone.
4. Improves hair and nails
Another part of the body where collagen is abundant is in hair and nails. When collagen is abundant in the body it helps increase the strength of the hair as well as the nails. Thus preventing brittleness. Also, it can help stimulate both nails and hair to grow longer. And with this, it improves the health of both nails and hair.
5. Reduces the risk of certain heart conditions
Collagen also helps improve the structure of the arteries. Blood vessels help carry blood in the body. Arteries are vital to carry blood away from the heart to other parts of the body. So the arteries must stay strong and not weak.
When the arteries are strong and not fragile, it reduces the risk of having certain conditions like atherosclerosis. And this condition can lead to other conditions such as stroke and heart attack. That’s why collagen is very important for the arteries.
Opting for collagen supplements is good. But make sure you inform your doctor before you do so. Your doctor would be able to advise you about what best to do when taking collagen amino acids.