As the building blocks of proteins, amino acids form the basis of central tissues and functions in the body. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, comprising more than 30% of the total weight of all the body's proteins. As a structural protein, it plays a vital role in conferring elasticity and strength to various tissues, including cartilage, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue, skeletal muscles, blood vessels, skin, bones and teeth. During collagen synthesis, amino acids are strung together to form a polypeptide chain, a process which is assisted by essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Through juxtaposition and cross-linking, thicker collagen fibres can be formed. The specific type of collagen present in a particular tissue depends on the type of tissue itself.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA):
- Copper contributes to the maintenance of normal connective tissue
- Manganese contributes to normal connective tissue formation and to the protection of cells against oxidative stress
- Zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal skin, hair, bones and nails, to normal protein synthesis and to the protection of cells against oxidative stress
- Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for normal skin, cartilage, bone, gum and teeth function and to the protection of cells against oxidative stress
- Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and mucous membranes