Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body and plays a central role in tissue health. Several studies support collagen supplementation, which can be beneficial to joints, skin, hair, and gut health. Taking collagen supplements is indeed a great way to get specific amino acids (protein building blocks) that your body requires to synthesize collagen. In order to do this most effectively, it is best to obtain, through diet or supplementation, all collagen production cofactors that help the complex task of creating and maintaining collagen. This process requires many specific vitamins and minerals acting as cofactors so that you can actually reap the benefits of collagen supplementation. These cofactors can also be considered catalysts, as they increase the rate of chemical reactions happening in our bodies.
Here are 5 of the most important vitamins and minerals that serve as cofactors for the protein collagen:
#1 Vitamin C
Among the vitamins and minerals needed for collagen synthesis, Vitamin C may be considered to be one of the most vital, due to its effects on converting a specific amino acid, proline, into a collagen-building compound. The structure of collagen comes primarily from three key amino acids, glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. Vitamin C thus activates the body's ability to produce collagen. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that plays a key role in the synthesis of proteins and neurotransmitters. Without enough Vitamin C, the body's ability to produce collagen is reduced.
Zinc acts as a cofactor for proteins essential for collagen synthesis. While zinc is a mineral mostly known for its role in boosting the immune system, it also contributes to the function of over 100 enzymes, and in the case of collagen, more specifically one enzyme called collagenase. Collagenase helps the body break down and turn over outworn or injured tissues in order to enable healthy collagen production. Being a cofactor, zinc helps to regulate the protein production pathway that the body requires to make collagen. Research shows that zinc deficiency could lead to a drop in collagenase performance of up to 80%.
#3 Vitamin A
Retinoids, a specific form of vitamin A, can help to protect collagen from breakdown and enhance the production of new collagen proteins. It is particularly beneficial for skin health, and is often used in prescription-strength anti-acne products. Vitamin A can stimulate the creation of new blood vessels, thus improving the delivery of nutrients to tissues. As a result, vitamin A can enhance the synthesis of proteins by improving circulation in that area.
By working in conjunction with the enzyme lysyl oxidase (LOX), copper plays an important role in the cross-linking of collagen and assists in "weaving" together fibrous connective tissues. Research on the relationship between copper deficiency and the functioning of this enzyme has shown that this enzyme is not able to work properly without an adequate copper input.
Manganese plays a role in the creation of proline by its connection to the prolidase enzyme. Prolidase is necessary for the liberation of the amino acid proline from larger molecules. Manganese consequently plays a vital role in the activation of proline. Proline plays an important role in protein synthesis and structure, metabolism, wound healing, antioxidative reactions, and immune responses.
Without the proper cofactors, it's possible that much of the collagen taken through supplementation isn't being used appropriately by the body. That is due to the fact that collagen production requires supportive processes involving cofactors so that the body can assimilate the nutrients correctly. Take your collagen production to the next level, learn more about MD Logic's new Collagen featuring co-factors and biotin for amazing skin, hair, and joint support.*