What is collagen?
It is a protein, fibrous in nature, which occurs naturally throughout our body inside the tendons, joints, cartilage, ligaments, blood vessels, bones and other connective tissues. It also occurs in joints present in our body like knees, elbow, hips, hands, ankles and wrists. It is a bit different from other proteins found in human body due to the fact that it contains only 2 types of amino acids. Vitamin C is an important component required for its formation. Collagen breaks down as a person ages. It occurs in 25 different types in a human body. It constitutes about 25% of the total proteins present in our body. In its absence the body would fall apart, quite literally. It is said to be the glue holding our body together. It possesses enormous tensile strength and works along with elastin to support the body’s tissue. It provides strength, firmness and form to the body tissues; elastin provides flexibility.
What causes joint pain?
Joint are the connectors between bones. They help us to move and provide support to our body, any damage inflicted on them by an injury or a disease can cause a lot of pain while hindering your movement. Some of the most common causes of joint pain are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
In some cases osteoarthritis begins as early as twenty years. It begins by breaking up of cartilage matrix. The next stage is its erosion along with the release of fragments of collagen. The main aim of the therapy provided is to reduce pain and inflammation. No treatment has been formulated yet that can help in improving joint function. Chondrocytes, the only cells existing in a cartilage are unable to repair the matrix, which mainly consists of collagen. As the collagen wears away the pain increases.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that mostly attacks flexible joints. The disease often leads to destruction of cartilages. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is however unknown.
How does collagen work?
It is known that patients suffering from osteoarthritis can be characterized by uncoupling of type II collagen. Supplements of collagen hydrolysate contain large quantities of amino acids. They play an important role in the formation of collagen inside our body. It has been proved that after taking these supplements people suffering from osteoarthritis showed signs of improvement. In patients suffering from osteoarthritis there is a deficit of type II collagen production and in turn of cartilage repair. The deficit is met by taking the supplements
Rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory disease of the joints involves T cells reacting with an antigen inside the joint. Collagen of type II is a major protein present in cartilages and is known to be an auto antigen. A process called oral tolerance is performed in which collagen is administered by mouth, which causes introduction of certain chemicals which causes joint inflammation. This in return reduces the responsiveness of joints towards antigens and hence causing a reduction in inflammation.
Collagen treatment can help reduce joint pain substantially and slows down the whole process because of which our joints become weaker.