Collagen: Is it the key to staying young?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and can be found in our bones, muscles, connective tissue and blood vessels. Collagen is a bit like scaffolding – it holds the body together. Collagen also helps to contribute to the stability of our tissues and organs. However, it is not only limited to human beings, the protein polymer substance can also be harvested from the skin and cartilage of animals, too, such as cows, pigs and fish.

The market for collagen is growing massively. So much so that it is predicted to reach $6.63 billion USD by 2025. Why? Because the demand for collagen-based products is increasing substantially, particularly as it is becoming a major component in healthcare applications. Including wound management, tissue engineering and bone reconstruction. Collagen is also in demand in other sectors too such as the food and beverage industry, as well as the beauty and cosmetics market.[1]

The Japanese have been using collagen for decades and one of their latest trends is consuming collagen to keep them looking youthful. Foods rich in collagen in Japan have risen in popularity thanks to the trend and collagen-rich products are selling on a huge scale. One product doubled its initial sales target when it was released back in 2009.[2]

Although the Asian and Latin American markets have grown the most in the last 10 years, Europe is also catching up. The European market has grown by 10% in the last decade mainly thanks to the sports nutrition and supplements market, whilst collagen innovation has expanded because of its health benefits.[3]

The Types of Collagen

There are 5 major types of collagen:

Type I

  •       Also known as alpha 1
  •       Most abundant collagen and most studied
  •       Type of fibrillar collagen
  •       Found in most connective tissues

o   Skin

o   Bone

Type II

  •       Type of fibrillar collagen
  •       Abundant in cartilage

o   50% of all the protein in cartilage

o   Up to 90% of all protein in articular cartilage

o   Mutations can cause premature osteoarthritis

Type III

  •       Commonly found alongside type I
  •       Makes up reticular fibres

o   The main type of fibre found in soft tissue

  •       Forms a meshwork by crosslinking, providing a supporting mesh for soft tissues, including:

o   Bone marrow

o   Liver

o   Components of the lymphatic system

Type IV

  •       Helps to make up the basal lamina
  •       Forms a sheet due to a lack of glycine in every third residue

Type V

  •       Another form of fibrillar collagen
  •       Skin
  •       Hair
  •       Nails
  •       Placenta tissue[4]

We supply type I and type II, these are the most commercially available forms of collagen. We can supply collagen from 2000Da up to 5000 Da as well as customised grades. The difference between the two is not so much their composition but their amino acid sequences. In terms of expense, type 1 is financially more viable, mainly due to the raw material used.

The major benefit of hydrolysed collagen is its digestibility – it is reduced to small peptides after hydrolysis. Once it has been ingested, it is quickly absorbed by the small intestine and distributed to various parts of the body such as bones, tissues, skin and muscles via the blood vessel network. Collagen is particularly beneficial for those who partake in sport and physical exercise as it has been shown to improve joint pain and prevent deterioration of the joints.

What’s the Difference Between Collagen and Gelatine?

Both collagen peptides and gelatine come from the collagen protein molecule found in the connective tissues of animals. Even though they have similar nutritional properties, the way they are processed is different and so they are often used for different things.

One of the main differences between collagen peptides and gelatine is their solubility. Collagen peptides tend to dissolve easily in liquid at any temperature, gelatine requires hot water or heat to enable it to dissolve. When the gelatine cools, it forms a gel – think jelly

Gelatine, however, when hydrolysed forms collagen hydrolysate – in the form of small peptides rather than a gel. Hydrolysed collagen is an abundant ingredient in dietary supplements as well as food and drink. It is also desirable as it can be easily digested thanks to the hydrolysis process it has been through. Also, unlike other hydrolysed proteins, hydrolysed collagen has a more neutral taste as little bitter peptide is produced in the process.[5]

Collagen Is an Animal Fibre and a Useful Prebiotic Too

Interestingly, collagen can be considered as an animal fibre. Eating the skin of a fish such as a sardine, which is packed full of collagen, can help to keep gut health at its optimum. These animal fibres may also be known as animal prebiotics. One study[6] has shown that collagen produces the greatest short-chain fatty acids when compared with other raw animal substrates like chicken cartilage, chondroitin and glucosamine. Thus, collagen is a highly fermentable substrate. The point is that animal fibres such as collagen may produce some prebiotic benefits.

The short chain fatty acids produced by the fermentation of collagen help to keep the cells which line the intestinal wall strong and prevents leaky gut syndrome – a condition responsible for a wide range of chronic health conditions.[7]. The most common short-chain fatty acid produced is called butyric acid – it takes its name from butter which is where it was first found.

It is important to ensure our gut bacteria is kept in balance. If not, it can cause the bacteria to form toxins which leave us weak and tired. But, when balanced the gut bacteria keep our intestinal wall healthy. Our intake of collagen is a major contributor to this.

Top Benefits of Collagen

Improves Skin

  •       Strengthens skin
  •       Improves elasticity
  •       Helps skin stay hydrated
  •       May help to slow the ageing process of skin

Helps to Prevent Bone Loss

  •       Bones are made of collagen
  •       Ageing means collagen deteriorates causing osteoporosis, low bone density and fractures
  •       Taking collagen daily could help to slow the ageing process of bones

Relieve Joint Pain

  •       Collagen keeps joints protected – a major component of cartilage
  •       Collagen supplementation could help to reduce joint pain and osteoarthritis

Healthy Hair and Nails

  •       Collagen may improve the strength of hair and nails
  •       Prevents brittleness
  •       May help both to grow longer

Heart Health

  •       Collagen may lower the risk of heart-related conditions
  •       Collagen forms part of the structure of our arteries
  •       May reduce the stiffness of arteries

Collagen We Offer

At Nutraceuticals Group Europe our formulation experts can help you to find the ideal product for your powder blends, bars, drinks or capsules. We ensure our products have great taste and solubility.

We can offer collagen from a variety of species to cater for all religious and cultural requirements.

Grades of Collagen we offer

NIGEPRT000321 Collagen 90% Fish Type I Hydrolysed (Allergen - Fish)

NIGEPRT000325 Collagen 90% Fish Type I Hydrolysed 5000Da HP (Allergen - Fish)

NIGEPRT000601 Collagen 90% Bovine Hydrolysed

NIGEPRT000580 Collagen 90% Porcine Hydrolysed

NIGEPRT000361 Collagen 90% Chicken Sternum Type II

      

Please contact our friendly and knowledgeable technical sales colleagues to help guide you to the best grades for your formulations.

 

 References

[1] Grand View Research. (2018). Collagen Market Size Worth $6.63 Billion by 2025. Available at: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-collagen-market

[2] Demetriou, D. (2009). Japanese Eat Collagen in Attempt to Stay Young. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/4220187/Japanese-eat-collagen-in-attempt-to-stay-young.html

[3]Sarasqueta, J. (2017). Trends in Collagen. Available at:  https://www.gelita.com/sites/default/files/documents/2017-05/InnovaMarketInsights_Gelita_Collagen_Presentation.pdf

[4] Gelse, K., Pӧschl, E and Aigner, T. (2003). Collagens – Structure, Function and Biosynthesis.  Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews: 55, pp 1531-1546.

[5] Mohammad, A, W., Suhimi, N, M., Aziz, A, G, K, A and Jahim, J, M. (2014). Process for Production of Hydrolysed Collagen from Agriculture Resources: Potential for Further Development. Journal of Applied Sciences: 14, pp 1319 – 1323.

[6] Depauw, S., Bosch, G., Hesta, M., Whitehouse-Tedd, K., Hendriks, W, H., Kanndorp, J and Janssens, G, P. (2012). Fermentation of Animal Components in Strict Carnivores: A Comparative Study with Cheetah Fecal Inoculum. J Anim Sci: 90(8), pp 2540-2548

[7] National Health Service. (2018). Leaky Gut Syndrome. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/leaky-gut-syndrome/


Leanne Edermaniger 30 Aug 2018