In this article you will find the answers to these questions:
What is collagen?
Why is collagen so important for bone and joint?
What are the options for enhancing collagen production?
As in all living creatures, protein is abundant in the human body, where different systems and organs require specific proteins that have a variety of functions. These "functional proteins" are essential for life. Collagen is one of these.
To understand collagen, it helps if to have some knowledge of the roles of proteins in the body and what proteins are made from. Proteins are used by the body for a whole host of purposes: e.g., in the blood (for carrying molecules and for clotting), for digestion (enzymes that break down food are proteins), in muscles (for movement), etc. Another category of proteins is "structural protein" composed of proteins that contribute to and sustain the integrity of the human structure. Collagen is a protein that is both "functional" and "structural."
Proteins are constructed from biological building blocks called amino acids. There are about 20 amino acids that occur in nature, and proteins are built from some or all of these. Unique proteins with specific qualities are formed from different numbers of amino acids put together in different relative sequences.
Collagen is unique in having two amino acids not found in other biological proteins: hydroxylated versions of known amino acids that confer special properties.
Collagen is found in a number of tissues, in various sub forms, but is particularly abundant within and around joints. Tendons and cartilage owe many of their desirable characteristics to the presence of collagen. Unfortunately, collagen -containing structures, such as those mentioned, are subject to wear and tear.
Like most tissues, they are in a constant state of turnover but have the disadvantage of poor blood supply, which does not favor easy repair. Due to the demands upon the collagen-containing structures (movement and bearing weight) and their slower ability to repair, it is vital to optimize the conditions that contribute to the maintenance of joint mobility.