Collage Protein | A brief overview of collagen, glycine & pregnancy

By Carla Gargano - Registered Nutritionist 

Carla is a Registered Nutritionist who is passionate about gut health, weight management, women's health and cooking. You can find Carla on Instagram at @nutrifybycarla

What is glycine and why is it important?
Glycine is an amino acid that functions as a building block for certain proteins, most especially the collagen found in skin, ligaments, muscles, bones, and cartilage. Glycine is the forerunner for an array of essential metabolites, including glutathione, haem and creatine. It “acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and has many roles such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cryoprotective, and immunomodulatory in peripheral and nervous tissues.” (1)

What is the glycine content in collagen?
When it comes to the presence of glycine in collagen, a large chunk of the collagen in your body is glycine. In fact, it is reported that glycine, amongst other amino acids, contributes to about “57% of total amino acids (AAs) in collagen, which accounts for one-third of proteins in humans” (2)

What is collagen and why is it important?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body, accounting for about one-third of its protein composition. It is vital for maintaining normal structure and strength of connective tissue, including bones, cartilage, skin, and blood vessels. Collagen "interact with cells via several receptor families and regulates their proliferation, migration, and differentiation” (3)

The benefits of collagen during pregnancy:
Because collagen is responsible for making up numerous critical parts of our bodies, collagen is not only highly beneficial, but also essential to maintaining optimal health.
  • The most basic function of collagen throughout pregnancy is to maintain the structural integrity of tissues and organs. Most importantly, collagen plays an essential role in the development of organs and tissue repair. (3)
  • Collagen can improve skin elasticity. Healthy, hydrated and elastic skin will fare better throughout and after your pregnancy. Of course, all women experience pregnancy differently, but you can't go wrong by boosting your natural collagen production and stores with the supplementation of collagen. In fact, dietary supplementation of collagen has been shown to improve skin health, such as skin elasticity and skin hydration. (4)
  • Pregnancy can create luscious, thick hair for many women (due to slower hair shedding). However, postpartum hair loss can also be common for some and can occur months after your baby is born. Taking collagen can encourage new hair growth and healthy, strong hair. In one particular study, a group of women with thinning hair saw substantial increases in their hair’s quantity, scalp coverage, and thickness while taking daily collagen supplements. (4)
  • Approximately 70% of your immune system is located in your gut. When your gut becomes leaky, it allows for substances such as toxins and food particles to enter the intestinal walls and into your bloodstream, leading to the possibility of infections to tear through your intestinal wall and enter your bloodstream. Collagen has many digestive benefits. According to research, collagen supplementation can positively impact gut health by helping to “seal” the leak in your intestinal lining by helping to promote tissue growth and cellular health. (5)
  • Lastly, collagen can strengthen your joints and ligaments to help your body carry the physical load during pregnancy. Once your baby is born, healthy joints will help you carry your baby (and baby bag) around constantly! Caring for a baby is physical work, and plenty of mums unfortunately experience sore necks, backs, and arms. In a well-respected study, it was proven that collagen supplementation can improve joint health. (6)

Maternally Happy collagen protein is sustainably sourced, bioavailable and free from added nasties. Our products are made in Australia and formulated by Registered Midwife/Nurse - Caitlin @thepregnancyculture

References
1. Meerza R, Pathan B, et al (2017) Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid,
Glycine: A Review. Oxid Med Cell Longev
2. Peng L and Guoyau W (2018). Roles of dietary glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline in collagen
synthesis and animal growth. A Review. Amino Acids
3. Sylvie B. (2011) The Collagen Family. A Review
4. Peptan Whitepaper (2019) Collagen Peptides for Skin Beauty and Hair Health. Rousselot B.V
5. Fengfeng M, Zhouwei D (2020) Effect of a high-collagen peptide diet on the gut microbiota and
short-chain fatty acid metabolism Journal of Functional Foods
6. Kristine C, Wayne S, et al (2008) 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary
supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. A Review. Curr Med Res Opin