Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Collagen is your most plentiful protein. Around one quarter of all the protein in the human body is collagen! It forms molecular cables that help strengthen the tendons. Ever wonder how teeth are made? Well, they are made by adding mineral crystals to collagen! Without collagen we wouldn't have our body structure. Collagen supports the softer tissues and connects them with the skeleton. Although it plays a big part in our body, it is a relatively simple protein. Three chains- thats what collagen is composed of, while wound together in a tight triple helix. Each and every chain is over 1400 amino acids long! Every third amino acid is whats called glycine, which is a small amino acid that fits perfectly inside the helix. So where do the remaining positions in the chains go? They are filled by two unexpected amino acids. There must be something that is critical for collagen stability right? Of course! Its hydroxyproline. Sadly our body cannot make Vitamin C, therefore it is very important to get enough, or else the results can be disastrous. A shortage of Vitamin C slows the production of hydroxyproline, and stops the construction of new collagen, causing scurvy. What are some of the symptoms of scurvy? Loss of teeth and easy bruising. They are caused by the lack of collagen to repair the wear and tear that may be caused by everyday activities.