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Difference Between Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid

Collagen and hyaluronic acid are organic substances, found in the human body. Each of them has different properties, functions, and benefits, but both are related to the skin and may help maintain a youthful and healthy appearance of skin.

 

What is Collagen?

Collagen is the main protein in human connective tissue. Its name originates from the Greek word “kola”, which means glue, and the suffix “-gen”, which denotes for production.

In nature, collagen is found mainly in mammals, and exclusively in animals. It represents 30% of the human protein. Its concentration varies in different parts of the body and is 23% in the cranial bones, 50% in the cartilage, up to 75% in the skin, etc.

Collagen is made up of long spiral peptide chains. Each chain contains between 19 and 105 amino acids. It is insoluble and cannot be absorbed or digested. Its molecular mass is about 300 – 400 kDa.

Collagen is constantly produced in the body. However, after the age of 30, this process becomes difficult and progressively weakens over the years.

Collagen is involved in the functioning of most of the systems, tissues, and organs in the human body. It is responsible for the tightness, firmness, proper humidity, elasticity, and constant renewal of skin cells. .It is a major component of the cartilage and joints, teeth and bones. Collagen plays an important role in the development of the tissues in the blood vessels and is vital for muscle function.

The use of collagen includes:

  • Bone grafts;
  • Tissue regeneration;
  • Burn surgery
  • Cosmetic surgery;
  • Wound care;
  • Reconstructive surgical uses;
  • Slowing down the aging  of the skin;
  • Strengthening nails and hair, etc.

 

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a linear insoluble polymer – mucopolysaccharide. It is one of the most common mucopolysaccharides in nature and is synthesized by all living organisms except algae.

Hyaluronic acid has been isolated for the first time in the vitreous of calf eyes. Its name is derived from the Greek word “hyalos”, meaning glass.

A 70 kg person has approximately 15 g of hyaluronic acid in the body. Hyaluronic acid builds up the intracellular substance in mammals and can be found in a variety of human organs and tissues – skin, heart valves, vitreous, synovial fluid, connective, epithelial, and nerve tissue. More than 50% of it is contained in the skin.

Hyaluronic acid is a long, linear, insoluble biopolymer, made up of recurrent disaccharide units of D-glucuronic acid and N-acetyl-glucosamine, linked by glycosidic bonds. A hyaluronic acid chain may contain 25 000 recurring disaccharides. Its in vivo molecule mass is between5 000 and 20 000 000 Da. The average molecular mass in the human synovial fluid is 3 000 000 – 4 000 000 Da.

In the human body, hyaluronic acid is synthesized by proteins located in the plasma membrane of fibroblast cells. They extend the hyaluronic molecule by adding saccharides to the polymer. Hyaluronic degeneration is accomplished by enzymes called hyaluronidases.

The hyaluronic acid is responsible for the smoothness of the skin due to its ability to bind large amounts of water molecules. It is able to bind water in an amount of 1000 to 4000 times its own weight.

Hyaluronic acid in the dermis is associated with tissue repair. It is the main building block of the vitreous of the human eye. It is an important structural component of articular cartilage, where it is presented as a sheath around each chondrocyte and a major part of the synovial fluid, where it acts as a lubricant, metabolic mediator, and filter.

Hyaluronic acid of different concentration and under different trade names is used in:

  • Ophthalmic surgery;
  • Neurosurgery;
  • Orthopedics and traumatology;
  • Skin care, etc.

 

Difference Between Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid

Definition

Collagen: Collagen is the main protein in human connective tissue.

Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid is a linear insoluble polymer – mucopolysaccharide.

Origin of the name

Collagen: The name of collagen originates from the Greek word “kola”, which means glue, and the suffix “-gen”, which denotes for production.

Hyaluronic acid: The name is derived from the Greek word “hyalos”, meaning glass.

Occurrence in nature

Collagen: In nature, collagen is found mainly in mammals, exclusively in animals.

Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid is synthesized by all living organisms except algae.

Occurrence in the human body

Collagen: Collagen represents 30% of the human protein. Its concentration varies in different parts of the human body and is 23% in the cranial bones, 50% in the cartilage, up to 75% in the skin, etc.

Hyaluronic acid: A 70 kg person has approximately 15 g of hyaluronic acid in the body. More than 50% of it is contained in the skin.

Chemical structure

Collagen: Collagen is made up of long spiral peptide chains. Each chain contains between 19 and 105 amino acids.

Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid is a long, linear, insoluble biopolymer, made up of recurrent disaccharide units of D-glucuronic acid and N-acetyl-glucosamine, linked by glycosidic bonds.

Molecular mass

Collagen: 300 000– 400 000 Da

Hyaluronic acid: 5 000 to 20 000 000 Da

Synthesis in the human body

Collagen: Collagen is constantly produced in the body, after the age of 30 this process progressively weakens over the years.

Hyaluronic acid: In the human body, hyaluronic acid is synthesized by proteins located in the plasma membrane of fibroblast cells.

Function

Collagen: The collagen is responsible for the tightness, firmness, proper humidity, elasticity, and constant renewal of skin cells. It is a major component of the cartilage and joints, teeth and bones, vital for muscle function and blood vessels structure.

Hyaluronic acid: The hyaluronic acid is responsible for the smoothness of the skin and is associated with skin repair. It is the main building block of the vitreous of the human eye, an important structural component of articular cartilage, and a major part of the synovial fluid.

Use

Collagen: The use of collagen includes bone grafts, tissue regeneration, burn surgery, cosmetic surgery, wound care, reconstructive surgical uses, slowing down the aging of the skin, strengthening nails and hair, etc.

Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid of different concentration and under different trade names is used in ophthalmic surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics and traumatology, skin care, etc.

Collagen Vs.  Hyaluronic Acid: Comparison Chart

 

Summary:

  • Collagen and hyaluronic acid are organic components, found in the human body.
  • Collagen is the main protein in human connective tissue.
  • Hyaluronic acid is a linear insoluble polymer – mucopolysaccharide.
  • In nature, collagen is found mainly in mammals, exclusively in animals. Hyaluronic acid is synthesized by all living organisms except algae.
  • Collagen represents 30% of the human protein. A 70 kg person has approximately 15 g of hyaluronic acid in the body.
  • Collagen is made up of long spiral peptide chains. Each chain contains between 19 and 105 amino acids. Hyaluronic acid is a long, linear, insoluble biopolymer, made up of recurrent disaccharide units of D-glucuronic acid and N-acetyl-glucosamine, linked by glycosidic bonds.
  • The molecular mass of collagen is 300 000 – 400 000 Da, and this of hyaluronic acid – 5 000 to 20 000 000 Da.
  • Collagen is responsible for the tightness, firmness, proper humidity, elasticity, and constant renewal of skin cells. It is a major component of the cartilage and joints, teeth and bones, vital for muscle function and blood vessels structure. The hyaluronic acid is responsible for the smoothness of the skin and is associated with skin repair. It is the main building block of the vitreous of the human eye, an important structural component of articular cartilage, and a major part of the synovial fluid.
  • The use of collagen includes bone grafts, tissue regeneration, burn surgery, cosmetic surgery, wound care, reconstructive surgical uses, slowing down the aging of the skin, strengthening nails and hair, etc. Hyaluronic acid is used in ophthalmic surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics and traumatology, skin care, etc.

 

Dr. Mariam Bozhilova Forest Research Institute, BAS

Environmental Expert with PhD in Botany at Forest Research Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Mariam has a Master’s degree in Ecology and a PhD in Botany.
Currently, she works in the Forest Research Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Mariam has more than 10 years of professional experience in scientific research and environmental consultancy. She has worked within non-profit, profit, and academic environment, and consulted business clients and competent authorities.
Her main professional interests are in the area of:
Scientific research;
Web content writing;
Environmental consultancy.
Dr. Mariam Bozhilova Forest Research Institute, BAS

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References :


[0]Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polysulfated_glycosaminoglycan#/media/File:Glycosaminoglycans.png

[1]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1bkv_collagen_03.png

[2]Hoffman, R. Organic Chemistry (2nd Edition). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2004. Print.

[3]Petrov, G. Organic Chemistry. Sofia: Kliment Ohridski. 2006. Print.

[4]Siebrecht, S., S. Hausmanns, H. Kneféli. Amazing Hyaluronic acid: How Bioactive Hyaluronic Acid Can Improve Your Quality of Life. 2018. Print.

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