Naturally produced by the body, collagen is found in many elements of our body. Bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, connective tissue, hair and nails: it is one of their essential components. It is therefore an excellent ally for healthy joints, whatever your age, and can even help maintain optimal muscle mass during a diet. The body tends to produce less collagen with age. Its production seems to decrease, in fact, from the age of thirty. This is when wrinkles and fine lines start to appear, as well as the first joint problems. Is this inevitable? No. It is possible to compensate for this weakening in collagen by turning to supplements based on collagen hydrolysate and collagen peptides. Focus on proteins that are essential to the proper functioning of the body.
Collagen : what is it ?
Collagen belongs to the family of proteins that are called structural. This means that it is composed of fibres that contain fibroblasts. This protein is the one found in the most elements of the human body. It is estimated that it accounts for about 6% of a man’s total weight.
It is found in about 65% of fibrous proteins. It is present in cartilage, bones, lungs, muscles, vessel walls, but also in the dermis. This protein cannot be stretched and is particularly resistant to the effects of traction. It is from this particularity that it gets its name. The word « kolla » is the Greek word for glue.
In food supplements, this protein is available in various forms, which we will discuss below.
Hydrolysed collagen: the king of food supplements
A complex protein composed of many chains of amino acids that the human body naturally produces from proteins ingested in the diet, collagen can also be extracted from the tissues of certain animals and packaged in the form of easily assimilated and very effective food supplements.
The collagen contained in this type of supplement is said to be hydrolysed. A chemical action allows this protein to be broken down into a set of protein sub-fractions that are commonly called collagen peptides. It is these peptides that make the preparation perfectly digestible for the human body. Their particularity is that they are totally neutral. Odourless and tasteless, they mix easily in liquids, whether they are hot or cold.
How much hydrolysed collagen should I consume to maintain my muscle mass during a diet? It all depends of course on your morphology and your base weight, but we can say that a dose of 10 grams per day is generally sufficient. To improve its absorption, it may be advisable to combine it with vitamin C.
If you want to improve the condition of your skin, 5 grams of hydrolysed collagen is a good start. The collagen peptides contained in this type of preparation are optimised if they are combined with hyaluronic acid, another protein known for its anti-ageing action on the epidermis.
Hydrolysis, a complex phenomenon, the secret of the effectiveness of collagen peptides
In order to transform a connective tissue, often from a sea fish (which is why it is called marine collagen), into hydrolysed collagen rich in collagen peptides, hydrolysis is used. This is a process that allows the tissue to be broken down by water. In this way, the selected tissue is broken down into a set of very small molecules that are easily absorbed by the digestive system.
The long chains of amino acids in natural collagen are transformed into short chains that are called collagen peptides and which have a remarkable bioavailability.
During digestion, the collagen peptides are sent to the various tissues where they are needed and the cells transform them into small collagen helices that can be used immediately. This mechanism is the secret of the remarkable effectiveness of hydrolysed collagen for general health.
The different types of collagen peptides
The human body hides more than 40 types of collagen. However, the most widespread are those described as type I, II and III. It is their particularities that we will discuss in the following.
Type I collagen: for bone and connective tissue
This collagen is found everywhere in the human body, except for cartilage tissue. It is one of the major components of the skin and is an essential anti-ageing factor for this organ. What is it used for?
- It limits the effects of skin ageing.
- In combination with hyaluronic acid, it contributes to optimal hydration.
- It increases the firmness of the skin tissue.
- It smoothes wrinkles by helping to reduce furrows.
Its main component is glycine, a molecule that helps block endotoxin and prevents the onset of inflammatory phenomena. It also contains proline, another molecule known for its antioxidant properties. It helps to fight free radicals and prevent their damage.
Glutamine and creatinine complete the composition of this type I. Thanks to these two molecules, intestinal inflammations are prevented and sports performance is increased.
Consuming type I collagen slows down hair loss, thickens it, makes it more beautiful, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, improves venous circulation, strengthens the nails and fortifies all the supporting tissues.
Type II collagen, the ally of cartilage
This type of collagen is the result of the work of chondrocytes. It is only found in cartilage. This is what is needed if you suffer from joint pain or osteoarthritis.
Type III collagen, the twin of type I collagen
Type III collagen is very similar to type I collagen. This is why they are generally grouped together. It is found in organs such as the lungs, muscle tissue or the envelope of the arteries. This is what we need to maintain our cardiovascular health.
The health benefits of hydrolysed collagen and collagen peptides
Hydrolysed collagen, rich in collagen peptides, found in food supplements is a source of health benefits:
- It is essential for maintaining the elasticity and suppleness of the epidermis. It limits the effects of ageing.
- It calms inflamed joints by helping the tissues to repair themselves.
- It acts as a powerful anti-ageing agent on the whole body and limits the appearance of the signs of ageing.
- It promotes the maintenance of an optimal intestinal barrier and thus avoids the appearance of inflammations linked to the poor absorption of food.
- It protects the blood vessels.
Taken in the form of collagen hydrolysate in food supplements, in the form of capsules or powder, collagen is a powerful ally for good health. It can accompany the sportsman who wants to boost his performance as well as the young mother who wants to quickly regain her ideal weight without damaging the maintenance of her muscle mass or the older person who wants to keep good joints. Versatile and safe, it is like a Fountain of Youth.