Collagen to drink: benefits and contraindications

Collagen to drink: benefits and contraindications

Collagen and its functions

Il collagen is the main protein structure of the various connective tissues, such as skin, bone, cartilage and tendons and comprises about one third of the total protein in mammals. 


It consists mainly of glycine (about 33%), proline (12-14%), 4-hydroxyproline (<14%) and 4-hydroxylisine (1.5%). Collagen is one protein naturally produced by the dermis and has the great advantage of making the skin elastic and counteracting the onset of wrinkles, acting as a glue between cells and tissues. 


UV radiation, cigarette smoking, stress and an unhealthy diet lead to the degradation of the natural collagen structure and with advancing age it slowly decreases resulting in the progressive loss of elasticity, which however can be hindered by choosing the right foods at the table. 


Among foods, foods that are richer in it it is oranges, watercress, kiwi and blueberries which are good sources of vitamin C and A as well as polyphenols. There is no shortage of the list too lipid foods such as olive oil, mackerel and eggs.


The collagen extracted from the tissues listed above is called gelatin, which then - through an enzymatic hydrolysis reaction - becomes hydrolyzed collagen. 


Nowadays, a modern lifestyle characterized by a permanent lack of time has as its main consequence the consumption of highly processed foods that have no beneficial effect on our health


Unbalanced and incomplete diets can cause many diet-dependent diseases. In this sense, collagen dietary supplements are substances that are beneficial to health which contain a concentrated source of nutrients or other components that bring positive physiological effects.  


Collagen Supplements: Are They Really Helpful?

Despite hydrolyzed collagen has generally been considered of low biological value (as it does not contain all essential amino acids), is a reliable nutritional component, often used to supplement other proteins due to its good digestibility and high consumer tolerance.


In the opinion of many researchers, the beneficial effects of oral administration of hydrolyzed collagen result from the latter's ability to cross the intestinal barrier - being a dietary bioactive peptide - and reaching the bloodstream becoming available for metabolic processes. 


Hydrolyzed collagen is used in medical applications, as high energy supplements, geriatric products and in enteric, therapeutic or weight control diets. 


Furthermore, the use of hydrolyzed proteins in the treatment of patients with specific disorders of digestion, absorption and metabolism of amino acids is known. Collagen hydrolyzates are a good source of amino acids for people suffering from anorexia, anemia and for vegetarians (due to the absence of meat in their diet). 


Dietary supplements containing collagen hydrolyzates are considered as improving agents in tendon regeneration or joints in physically active athletes with activity-related joint pain or even in people with osteoarticular pathologies such as rheumatoid arthritis. 


Hydrolyzed collagen consumed orally has been shown to be absorbed by enterocytes and di build up in the cartilage. Specifically, its ingestion stimulates a significant increase in the synthesis of macromolecules which make up the extracellular matrix of chondrocytes.

Other sources of collagen

The main sources of collagen peptides are cowhide, bone, pigskin or fish bone / skin. The marine sources they are an ideal alternative to cattle and pigs, both for religious and ethical reasons and for the likelihood of transmission of a disease known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. 


Sponges, jellyfish, squid, octopus, cuttlefish and fish offal (bones, skin, scales and fins provide about 50-70%) can serve as alternative source of collagen


There is a high biotechnological interest in marine collagen, as evidenced by a broad spectrum of applications in biomedicine and cosmetics. 


Compared to mammalian collagen, that of fish and molluscs has a reduction in the amino acids proline and hydroxyproline (depending on the animal's growth temperature), with an increase instead of serine, threonine and methionine. Using the marine one as an alternative source is certainly a valid possibility: just think that fibrous structures have been found in the sponges which, when purified, have a high degree of similarity with type I and IV collagen.  


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