Collagen molecules represent about 30% of our protein reserves. Collagen constitutes a large part of the cells that make up our muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, fasciae, bones, intervertebral discs, intestines, skin. If the skin is excluded, collagen metabolism disorders lead directly to pain or even disabling pathologies for the athlete.
About 29 different types of collagen have been identified in humans. However, it is type I collagen that makes up 90% of this collagen. However, there is a lot of type II collagen in the cartilage, especially in the knees. This is why Peptan type IIm will mainly be of interest to athletes and more generally to people suffering from joint pain.
Just as we notice, over the years, that our skin becomes wrinkled, loses its flexibility and its hydration, the capacity of regeneration of our joints, tendons and ligaments decreases. This tissue aging is explained by a double mechanism:
- We gradually lose our ability to regenerate collagen.
- The rate of degradation of our collagen cells is accelerated due to increased activity of MMPs (Matrix MetalloProteinases, see here).
The practice of a physical activity amplifies this phenomenon of joint degradation. Indeed, the repetition of compressions and mechanical tensions of the joints causes the formation of inflammatory molecules (1-2-3).
For example, in athletes such as football or rugby players, the extent of damage to the articular cartilage doubles, or even triples, lastingly after training (4). Thus, the extent of catabolic phenomena gradually overwhelms the capacity for regeneration. Joints slowly lose their type II collagen, which opens the door to painful pathologies (5).
The collagen molecules that make up our muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, fascia and skin are constantly renewed. The enzymes responsible for eliminating the old collagen molecules are called matrix metalloproteinases (Matrix MetalloProteinases in English, hence the abbreviation which is also used in French: MMP).
These proteases are naturally involved in joint and tendon health. Everything is going well as long as their activity remains small. Unfortunately, following training, inflammation, pathology such as arthritis ..., the proteolytic activity of these MMPs easily escalates. Instead of participating normally in cell renewal, MMPs transform into destructors of tendons and joints.
At best, overactivity of MMPs delays recovery. At worst, it promotes pain such as tendonitis. We find the same mechanism of deterioration of the skin following sunburn. UV damages collagen cells by violently accelerating the activity of MMPs. The intake of collagen moderates this rise in MMP, which contributes to slowing down skin aging and the appearance of wrinkles (9-10).
Likewise, collagen reduces the cellulitic appearance of the skin by combating the thinning of density induced by skin cell degradation (11). By calming the excessive activity of MMPs, following training for example, collagen protects the joints from excessive degradation (12).
Fortunately, to some extent, we can jumpstart this collagen production while slowing its breakdown by regularly using Peptan supplementation. Indeed, collagen is not only used as a raw material for the joints, tendons or skin. It also acts as a stimulator of molecular regeneration processes (6).
Joint inflammation can also be contained by the presence of type II collagen (7). More than any other joint, the knee is very rich in type II collagen. Peptan type IIm is therefore the supplement of choice against kneecap problems.