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Did you know that approximately one-third of all the proteins in our body are collagen molecules?
Collagen is the main component in connective tissue which forms the biological “glue” connecting cells together and creates a communication network between cells. Collagen builds our skin, blood vessels, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bones, teeth, and other structures and organs in the body
With age, collagen begins to weaken and becomes less pliant. And the visible result is dry, wrinkled skin. Studies have shown that adequate collagen production is critical for general health, for supporting strong coronary arteries, maintaining healthy cartilage and bones, and improved function of many internal organs.
Optimal production of collagen requires a continuous supply of vitamin C and the amino acids lysine and proline. Vitamin C and lysine are not produced in the body and need to be obtained from the diet and/or dietary supplementation. Proline can be synthesized by the body, but its supply may not be sufficient in certain health conditions.
Key synergy nutrients:
Vitamin C is a critical nutrient for numerous metabolic processes including the synthesis of properly structured collagen. Vitamin C assures the optimal collagen structure by assisting in the hydroxylation of the amino acids lysine and proline to form bridges aligning collagen fibers. In addition, vitamin C is one of the body’s most important antioxidants and it is also involved in recycling of vitamin E, glutathione, and other cell protective molecules. Furthermore, vitamin C participates in the breakdown of cholesterol to bile acids, assists in the synthesis of carnitine, helps neutralize toxins, and supports the immune system among many other functions.
Lysine is one of the essential amino acids which needs to be obtained from the diet. Lysine plays an important role in maintaining collagen’s proper structure and contributing to its stability. Lysine is also involved in other processes including epigenetic regulation (by means of histone modification), calcium homeostasis and the synthesis of carnitine which helps transport fatty acids into the mitochondria to be burned for energy.
Proline is another important building block of collagen. Due to its distinctive cyclic structure proline has an exceptional conformational rigidity. The hydroxylation of proline significantly increases the conformational stability of collagen and is fundamental for healthy connective tissue.