Collagen, better known as gelatin, is the most abundant protein in the body, which is concetrated specifically in bones, tendons, cartilage, skin, membranes and blood vessels. Collagen helps the skin to keep firmness, tonality and minimize the presence of wrinkles. The synthesis of collagen decrease with age, while increasing its degradation and the roughness of the skin, which becomes less compact and thinner. For this reason collagen supplements are widely used in anti-aging nutraceuticals.This ingredient is also fairly common in cosmetics products . Collagen is especially represented in the animal world; as such, it is ingested into the body primarily through meat food products. High percentages of collagen reduces the food digestibility which explain why it easier to digest fish than meat, which is more rich in connective tissue.
Collagen is synthesized in the body from individual amino acids that compose it. Nutritionally, it is particularly rich in glycine, proline and hydroxyproline and deficient in sulfur amino acids. These amino acids are needed for its synthesis. So collagen, after being digested and broken down into individual amino acids that compose it, they can stimulate his re-synthesis in the body.In cosmetics collagen is often found in hydrolyzed form, partially digested to improve dermal and intestinal absorption and gelling power (highly appreciated in pastry). The collagen used in these products comes mostly from bones, hides and skins and animal connective tissues, such as cattle, pigs, horses and fish. Particularly it is good the marine collagen, from fish source.In addition to collagen, in anti aging supplements can be found substances that preserve this protein from degradation, or stimulate the synthesis by chondrocytes and fibroblasts (skin cells and cartilage respectively responsible for producing collagen). For example use of vitamin C and extracts from centella asiatica standardised in asiaticoside. The use of exfolliating agents can increase the synthesis of collagen in the skin, while sunscreens will prevent their UV-induced degradation. Together or alternatively to hyaluronic acid, collagen can be injected as wrinkle filler agent (filler) directly into the skin.Alone or in combination with Glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulfate, collagen is part of the supplements intended to promote joint health, preventing artrosic processes (degradation of articular cartilage) and to support recovery from traumatic events. The collagen is often combined with hyaluronic acid, a high weight molecular substance that holds large amounts of water at skin and joint fluid, protecting skin and joints from damage linked to aging processes.The recommended daily doses are normally rather generous in the order of 1-10 grams of collagen. However, if the diet is balanced and optimum, without specific deficiencies, hardly the exogenous supply of collagen in large quantities may stimulate the synthesis from scratch. More than using big doses of collagen, it would then have greater sense to include supplements that promote the synthesis and prevent degradation, such as antioxidants and extracts of. Even in the cosmetics le, the application of collagen cannot be considered as functional, since the protein is too large to be absorbed; as a result, you should use hydrolyzed collagen or in form of small peptides precursors such as Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4. Other times, like in outpatient scope, it is good to use substances that stimulate the synthesis, such as Retinoic acid. Collagen synthesis can also be enhanced by the integration of individual amino acids such as arginine, hydroxyproline and ornithine. The growth hormone (GH) exerts a positive effect on the synthesis of collagen, while dihydrotestosterone seems to favour its degradation. Estrogen, however, seem to favor the synthesis of collagen, and perhaps for this reason soy isoflavones have shown -in vitro- to stimulate the synthesis of collagen.Since collagen is food protein, common use doses have no contraindications or side effects. Hypersensitive individuals may get allergic reactions or complain of gastrointestinal disorders. Considering that collagen is derived from carcasses and animal slaughter waste, there are concerns about the possibility that gelatine acts as a vector for the transmission of BSE-TSE (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, including for notoriety the mad cow disease). In theory, heating processes, filtration and alkalinization of the animal remains should be effective in eliminating, or at least reducing, levels of infectious agents (prions) that transmit TSEs. For this reason, generally, fish is preferred source of collagen (collagen marino) or vegetable (Natto Gum).