Best described as a naturally occurring group of proteins in animals, collagen is most common in the flesh and connective tissues of mammals. Accounting for about 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content, collagen is the most plentiful protein found in mammals. It is mostly found in fibrous tissues like tendon, ligament and skin and also in cornea, cartilage, bone, blood vessels,
inter-vertebral disc and the gut. Collagen works in tandem with elastin in supporting the body’s tissues, while elastin gives tissues flexibility. Collagen gives the same tissues strength.
In addition to being essential to the body, collagen has lots of other uses such as:
Collagen works with keratin to increase resilience and flexibility in the skin. However, as people age, collagen degradation happens, causing wrinkles. Skincare experts, therefore, see human and bovine collagen as a crucial ingredient in keeping the skin young. Collagen drinks, creams, injections and capsules are often prescribed to those attempting to take on the ageing process.
For the same reasons (flexibility and resilience), collagen is widely used in conjunction with silicone and fibroblasts in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery as a healing aid for burn patients, reconstruction of bone, and also dental and orthopaedic surgery.
As mentioned before, collagen is essential to the bone, the ligament, the cartilage and the tendon. Therefore, it is often sold in capsules as an essential way to help to improve the mobility and strength of the joints.
As collagen is a key natural resource of the body, it can benefit all stages of wound healing helping to avoid many infections and in the worst case, scenario of amputation.
Among many other areas, collagen has also been put to use in industry, weight management and cardiac applications.
Danger of deficiencies
As collagen is so crucial within the body, it is inevitable that deficiencies can cause collagen disease such as osteogenesis imperfecta, which is often referred to as brittle bone disease and connective tissue diseases.
For something that people know relatively little about then, collagen is a fascinating and amazing natural phenomenon with seemingly endless possibilities. It is increasingly being put to use in thousands of crucial aspects of medicine, industry and cosmetics. The best compliment that can be paid to collagen, however, is to call it ‘the glue that holds the body together’, without which the body would quite literally fall apart.
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