Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder characterized by low bone mass and destruction of the micro-architecture of bone tissue, leading to increased bone fragility. This condition is a major health problem as it is related with the occurrence of fractures that typically occur at three locations of the skeleton: hip, wrist, and spine.
Osteoporosis and Collagen
Bone is composed of inorganic substances such as hydroxyapatite and organic proteins. Collagen is the main organic protein of the bones comprising about 30% of the bone’s composition. It also adds quality to the bones as collagen molecules are the network to which other metals come to settle in order to form the bone structure. This continuous (perpetual) building and rebuilding of the bones during lifetime determines the bone density of each individual.
In conclusion collagen is the basic protein that forms the bone structure and helps in rebuilding bones and in maintaining the quality and quantity of bone mass.
New studies have shown that the use of hydrolysed collagen additionally helps in the reduction of bone degradation by reducing the excretion of bone collagen degradation products in the body.
Studies in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis showed that calcitonin (at a dose of 100 units two times per week) in combination with hydrolyzed collagen (10gr/24hrs) reduced excretion of pyridinoline cross-links (products of bone collagen degradation) in the urine more than calcitonin alone. Hydrolyzed collagen administered orally is well absorbed from the gastrointestinal system and added to the articular cartilage, increasing significantly the synthesis of extracellular macromolecules by chondrocytes.
As we age, collagen production slows and the cell structures weaken, skin becomes thinner and brittle, hair loss and wrinkles formation increases, tendons and ligaments become less elastic, and the joints become stiff. At the same time, there is a reduction/ degradation of bone mass as collagen molecules reduce due to bone trabeculation and they cannot be reproduced by the increase of age and bone metabolism of the individual, resulting in bones’ aging and osteoporosis.
Hydrolyzed collagen is administered orally at a dose of 10gr daily. Its clinical use is associated with minimal side effects, mainly gastrointestinal, characterized by flatulence or unpleasant taste.
At the risk factors for osteoporosis such as menopause, heredity, smoking, continuous use of some specific drugs (e.g. cortisone) we should also add insufficient collagen quantity that may lead to decreased bone density. A typical example is the condition of collagen deficiency on bone metabolism and great osteoporosis that can even result in fractures and imperfect osteogenesis.