What is collagen, and why do people use it?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons.
It is the substance that holds the body together. Collagen forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure.
Endogenous collagen is natural collagen, synthesized by the body. Exogenous collagen is synthetic. It comes from an outside source, such as supplements.
Endogenous collagen has a number of important functions. Breakdown and depletion is linked to a number of health problems.
Exogenous collagen is used for medical and cosmetic purposes, including the repair of body tissues.
Fast facts on collagen
Here are some key points about collagen.
Collagen occurs throughout the body, but especially in the skin, bones, and connective tissues.
Some types of collagen fibrils, gram-for-gram, are stronger than steel.
Collagen production declines with age and exposure to factors such as smoking and UV light.
Collagen can be used in collagen dressings, to attract new skin cells to wound sites.
More detail is in the main article.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin functions as a coenzyme in a wide variety of reactions that take place in the body. Riboflavin is required to release energy from protein, carbohydrate and fat. It is also involved in the transport and metabolism of iron in the body and is needed for the normal structure and function of mucous membranes and the skin
Deficiency: Deficiency is characterised by dryness and cracking of the skin around the mouth and nose and a painful tongue that is red and dry (magenta tongue).
Vitamin B3 (Niacin:nicotinic acid)
Niacin is required for the release of energy from food (it is the precursor to the coezymes NAD and NADP which are fundamental to key reactions in carbohydrate metabolism). As a result niacin requirement is related to the amount of energy consumed. Niacin is also required for the normal function of the skin and mucous membranes and for normal functioning of the nervous system.
Deficiency: Deficiency of niacin results in the disease pellagra. It is characterized by sun-sensitive skin producing effects similar to severe sunburn.
Vitamin E is a group of eight lipid-soluble compounds synthesised by plants, tocopherols and tocotrienols. Alpha-tocopherol accounts for 90% of the vitamin E in human tissues. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and is required to protect cells against oxidative damage from free radicals, for example oxidation of the lipids in cell membranes. Vitamin E content in food is expressed in terms of mg equivalents based on the biological activities of the tocopherols present.
Deficiency: Existence of dietary vitamin E deficiency is not considered to be a problem even in people consuming a relatively poor diet. Deficiency only occurs in people with severe fat malabsorption and rare genetic disorders
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxin HCl)
Vitamin B6 comprises 3 forms (vitamers): pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine, and has a central role in the metabolism of amino acids. It is involved in breaking down glycogen and has a role in the modification of steroid hormone action. It is also essential for the formation of red blood cells and the metabolism and transport of iron. Together with folate and vitamin B12, vitamin B6 is required for maintenance of normal blood homocysteine levels. Raised homocysteine is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Deficiency: Deficiency may only occur as a complication of disease or prolonged administration of certain drugs
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
Vitamin C has antioxidant properties, potentially protecting cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C is also involved in the synthesis of collagen which is required for the normal structure and function of connective tissues such as skin, cartilage and bones. It is therefore an important nutrient for the healing process. It is also involved in the normal structure and function of blood vessels and neurological function. Vitamin C also increases the absorption of non-haem iron (iron from plant sources) in the gut.
Deficiency: Severe deficiency of vitamin C leads to scurvy. Deficiency is associated with fatigue, weakness, aching joints and muscles.