What is collagen?

What is collagen? – Medical News Today

The defective collagen we produce as a result of EDS can frequently cause or contribute to malfunction in almost any body part.  While the most obvious problems are with loose or damaged tendons and ligaments not holding joints together, there can be much more pervasive damage under the skin within the internal scaffolding that holds body parts in place.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals, accounting for around 30% of the protein content of the human body. It is often considered to be the “glue that holds the body together”.

Collagen is found in fibrous tissues such as skin, ligaments and tendons, as well as in the bones, blood vessels, the cornea of the eye, and in the gut.

Collagen is vital for strengthening blood vessels and giving skin its elasticity and strength.

Characteristics of collagen

Collagen has very good tensile strength – it is one of the long fibrous structural proteins that gives cells structure from the outside, as well as supporting the majority of the body’s tissues.

As an amino acid, collagen is made from the amine (-NH2) and carboxylic acid (-COOH) functional groups. The main elements of collagen are hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. Collagen contains three-stranded helical segments of similar structure.

The rare abundance of the three amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, give collagen its triple-helical structure. The composition of collagen is considered unique given its high hydroxyproline content.

Functions of Collagen

There are over 28 different types of collagen. Collagen fibers give strength and structure to many different parts of the body. It is one of the main components of the extracellular matrix, which is the defining feature of connective tissues in humans and other mammals.

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