1. Biotech

What Is Collagen?

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Collagen is a family of proteins. At least 30 kinds of genes encoding collagen chains have been found, which can form more than 16 kinds of collagen molecules. According to its structure, it can be divided into fibrous collagen, basement membrane collagen, microfibrillar collagen, anchored collagen, hexagonal reticular collagen, non-fibrous collagen, transmembrane collagen, etc.


According to the distribution and functional characteristics of collagen in vivo, collagen can be divided into interstitial collagen, basement membrane collagen and pericellular collagen. Interstitial collagen molecules account for the vast majority of collagen in the entire body, including type I, II, and III collagen molecules. Type I collagen is mainly distributed in tissues such as skin and tendon, and it is also a protein with a high content of aquatic product processing waste (skin, bone and scale). It accounts for about 80-90% of the total collagen content, and is widely used in medicine. A notable feature of type I fish collagen is its low thermal stability and the specificity of fish species. Type II collagen is produced by chondrocytes.


Collagen is mainly found in connective tissues of the human body such as skin, internal organs, tendons, cornea, cartilage and bones. Collagen is a very important protein in the human body, accounting for about 30% of the total protein content. It ensures the integrity, elasticity and strength of the body's connective tissues, thereby maintaining the form and function of skin, cartilage and bones. Collagen is a triple helix of three amino acid chains that form high-strength fibers that provide the body's framework.


Collagen occupies different contents in our body, most of which are in bones. Collagen constitutes 90% of organic bone mass and provides a fixed structural framework for calcium and other minerals. Next are tendons, which are high-strength fibrous connective tissues that connect muscles and bones. When our muscles contract, the role of tendons is to transmit force and withstand tension, and tendons are composed of 85% collagen and proteoglycans. The third is our skin, where collagen makes up 75% of the dry matter content of the skin. Collagen fibers are a key component of the skin's structure, providing the building blocks for elastin, which maintains skin elasticity, and helping hyaluronic acid lock in moisture. Finally, there are joints and cartilage, which consist of cellular building blocks (chondrocytes) that generate an extracellular matrix composed of collagen and proteoglycans (mainly aggrecan). Collagen fibers make up 70% of cartilage and are responsible for the structure and strength of cartilage, while proteoglycans are the lubricants of joints.


Collagen is lost from our body as we age. Our skin becomes dry, thin, and begins to show signs of aging. Bones become increasingly fragile, which makes them progressively looser and more brittle. Then there is the aging and wear of articular cartilage, which reduces their function. These can cause joint discomfort and make it harder to stay active as we age. The loss of collagen can lead to decreased muscle function, affecting our body's balance and overall mobility.


Therefore, women should start supplementing collagen at the age of 20. There are also many different ways to supplement collagen on the market, such as eating collagen-containing foods, direct subcutaneous injection, and oral small-molecule collagen peptides. Consuming collagen supplements, because a large part of it will be filtered out by the human digestive system, the amount that can really reach the skin and play a role is very limited. Some women choose to inject collagen directly under the skin, which is mainly used for filling deep wrinkles, defects caused by skin damage such as acne scars and repairing facial defects. There will be obvious effects at the beginning, but the collagen injected into the skin will be gradually absorbed by the human body, so its effect can only be maintained for half a year to a year, and a small number of people may experience side effects such as allergies and infections.



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