While we think of bone as hard, inflexible, static, and even dry tissue, bone is really flexible, living tissue. It is these qualities that give bone its strength and these qualities derive from the collagen in bone.
- Approximately 17% of our body is living protein tissue.
- The fibrous protein known as “collagen” is the most abundant protein in the body.
- More than ⅓ of all the protein in the human body is collagen.
- Collagen can be thought of as the “glue” that holds the cells and organs of the body together.
- The protein collagen matrix of bone is broken down and lost during the process of bone resorption. When we lose bone, we lose both minerals and the collagen protein matrix.
- The loss of minerals from bone can be seen on bone density testing, but the loss of collagen goes undetected.
How Does Collagen Give Strength to Bone?
Bone collagen is the living protein matrix laid down by bone-building osteoblast cells. Collagen forms a living web-like protein matrix. This living collagen provides the scaffolding for bone formation, eventually becoming mineralized to make bones strong and appear to be hard. When we lose bone mass we lose not only the mineral component of bone, but also the living protein collagen component.
How Is Collagen Formed?
The amino acid strings are intertwined, or woven together, to form fibrous “ropes.” These "ropes" provide flexible, living, structural support for many tissues in the body. In bone the collagen becomes highly mineralized and very tough, yet it retains a basic flexibility, giving strength to bone. Just as with our skin structure, resilience and flexibility of bone is dependent on healthy collagen.
How Can We Maintain Healthy Collagen?
To maintain its fully functional structure, bone collagen must undergo continual repair and renewal. Thus, the nourishment and protection of bone collagen is essential for maintaining life-long bone strength. Glycine, proline, and other essential amino acids are required in abundant amounts as are minerals like zinc and copper. Like other tissue, collagen is subject to oxidative damage, requiring a high level of antioxidants to protect it.
Oral Collagen Supplementation Strengthens Bone
Hydrolyzed collagen supplements provide the body with glycine, proline, and other amino acids to be used as substrate for building and repairing existing collagen. If taken in a highly absorbable form, these collagen peptides (short chains of amino acids) can be absorbed intact providing the organic substrate for new bone collagen formation. Oral supplementation has been found to both stimulate osteoblastic new bone formation and reduce osteoclastic bone breakdown in selected studies. Several studies suggest collagen supplementation also enhances calcium absorption while displaying anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacities.
By favorably tilting bone metabolism towards bone formation over bone breakdown, collagen supplementation helps to reduce bone loss.
Why We Recommend Marine (Fish) Collagen
Our Marine Collagen is an abundant source of the Type I & Type II collagen that promotes:
- elasticity and hydration of the skin
- strong bones, hair, and nails
- flexibility and comfort to the joints