What is collagen?
Collagen is the main structural protein in the human body constituting 70% of our dry-mass skin content. A key component of the skin’s structure, collagen fibres provide the infrastructure for elastin, which maintains skin elasticity. In the arena of ingestible beauty products, collagen is now recognised as the star player.
Collagen is the largest and most abundant protein in our bodies, it's the ground substance, the structural material in the human body is collagen. Collagen is secreted by a variety of different cells, but primarily by connective tissue cells. While young, the body consistently produces collagen but collagen production naturally declines with age, reducing the structural integrity of the skin and leading to the formation of lines and wrinkles and sagging skin.
As the fibroblasts cells responsible for producing collagen naturally decrease due to ageing, the visible signs of ageing become more prominent. In the dermis collagen helps form a fibrous network, upon which new cells can grow. Collagen is also required for the replacement and restoration of dead skin cells.
Collagen is most commonly found in the skin, bones and connective tissue within the body, providing structural support, strength and a degree of elasticity (in combination with elastin). In particular, collagen can be found in the extracellular matrix - an intricate network of macromolecules that determine the physical properties of body tissues.
Collagen is a very important component and the depletion of it can cause deterioration of our skin and connective tissues.
When we are young our collagen levels are at their highest. This is why our children have smooth skin and shiny hair. When collagen becomes weaker and less substantial it begins to sag often showing as crows feet or turkey neck, doctors call this Ptosis. This is due to collagen depletion. Unfortunately, research shows that collagen levels begin to deplete from the age of 25. By the time we get to 40 we will have lost around a third of our collagen, which can cause our skin to wrinkle and sag.
Hydrolysed (spelt with an "Z" in the USA) collagen is a processed form of collagen that is obtained when collagen fibers are broken down into small collagen chains also known as "collagen peptides" through a process known as "Hydrolysis".
"Hydrolysed Collagen" is more effective because it contains a complete amino acid sequence as a collagen peptide which can be absorbed and transported to the dermis of the skin. There are many products and brands that claim their collagen supplement or collagen builder contains collagen or hydrolysed collagen. Typically they do not contain any hydrolysed collagen or collagen peptides. Instead, they are mostly made up of 3 amino acids glycine, proline & hydroxyproline which together represent about 50% total amino acid content of the collagen helix chain.
You need up to 18 different amino acids in the right quantities and ratio to create a collagen molecule.