What does collagen do?
In very simple terms, collagen(s) provide/maintain the structural integrity of various tissues and organs throughout the body. Different ‘types’ of collagen are found in different tissues of the body. Still, all share the same basic characteristic of having three polypeptide chains coiled together in a triple helix structure. Collagen types I, II and III are of most interest and relevance for the health and well-being of our pets.
Type I collagen is the most abundant collagen, making up more than 90% of the protein content of bone and is the major collagen of tendons (this type of connective tissue attaches muscles to bones) and ligaments (this type of connective tissue attaches one bone to another bone – holding joints together), providing structure and strength to these tissues.
Type I and III collagen is abundant in the skin’s dermis layer, providing structural support and elasticity to maintain the firmness and suppleness of this organ – a very important barrier to keep moisture in and invading organisms and toxins out of the body.
Type II collagen is the predominant component of cartilage, the extremely strong, flexible and semi-rigid support tissue found at points where two bones meet, providing a smooth surface that allows joints to move easily and a ‘cushion’ effect to absorb the shock of impact, especially on the ends of weight-bearing bones (e.g. hip, elbow joints).
Collagen is also present in all the smooth muscle tissues, blood vessels, digestive tract, heart, gallbladder, kidneys and bladder, holding the cells and tissues together.