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FAQ Collagen


Q. How does KOKEN address the problem of potential BSE infection?

A. To avoid the risk of infection with BSE, we observe the following rules when dealing with the bovine dermis from which KOKEN's collagen is made.

  1. The bovine dermis we use comes from Australia, and we only use calves aged six months or younger.
  2. We do not use animal feed derived from cattle and sheep but only BSE-free, safe feed.
  3. We only use the dermal layer of the skin, which is classified as belonging to the "no detectable infectivity" category. We take great care to prevent this layer from coming into contact with hazardous sites including the brain and the spine during collection.
  4. We are able to track cattle used for KOKEN's collagen to their birthplace, and we periodically conduct field research.

Q. How do you prepare an aseptic collagen solution?

A. Collagen cannot be sterilized with an autoclave, gas or radiation (g-ray and electron beam) due to denaturation. To avoid this problem, we prepare an aseptic collagen solution by filtration.
We also carry out an in-process virus spike test to ensure the inactivation and elimination of viruses.


Q. Is collagen able to recover its original collagen form once it is denatured into gelatin by heat?

A. As it is heated, the triple helix of a collagen molecule, which consists of three polypeptide chains, becomes unraveled and its viscosity drops considerably (heat denaturation from collagen into gelatin). Although the original triple helix can be partly recovered by cooling the heat-denatured solution, it is difficult to recover a complete collagen molecule.


Q. How is collagen broken down and absorbed into the body?

A. There is an enzyme which breaks down collagen in the body. This enzyme, called collagenase, degradates the collagen molecule off at a position three-fourths of the way from the N-terminal of the triple helix to the other end, while retaining its helical structure. As a result, the denaturation temperature for the helix decreases, allowing it to unravel at body temperature, and then enzymes such as elastase and gelatinase break down the unraveled helix into lower molecular weight compounds (extracellular route). At the same time, another route is used, in which collagen is taken into cells like macrophages and broken down in those cells. In both routes, the degradation products enter the systemic circulation and most of them are excreted into urine.


Q. I learned that collagen can be dissolved in a solution like a dilute acid, but what about a neutral solution?

A. It is known that the complete collagen molecule has a basic pI. Due to this characteristic, collagen can be dissolved under acidic conditions. However, collagen can also be dissolved in a neutral, low-temperature solution with the same salt level as in a living body. The resulting solution, called the neutral solution of collagen, gelatinizes completely once it is warmed to about body temperature. This is because collagen molecules separated at a lower temperature aggregate in the proper sequence when warmed and recover the same superstructure as in a living body.


Q. Tell me about the efficacy of the health food "Collagen Drink."

A. The dermis contains abundant collagen, which helps maintain the structure of epidermal tissues. However, the ability of the skin to produce collagen decreases with age. On the other hand, it is believed that taking collagen facilitates the biosynthesis of collagen and thus activates the turnover of the epidermis. Although the mechanism of action is unknown, the additional collagen taken in drink form may keep the epidermis healthy and enhance the aesthetic appearance of the skin. In addition, a low-molecular component of collagen, not collagen itself, is usually used in health foods.


Q. I hear that collagen is thermostable even when it contains no water. Is that true?

A. Collagen from mammals such as cattle is denatured and turned into gelatin at a temperature around 40°C when its solution is warmed. The denaturation temperature differs among mammals, birds and fish. However, once it is deprived of water by such means as freeze drying, collagen exists as a solid material with improved thermostability. In this case, collagen is not denatured even if it is heated to a temperature approaching 100°C, but heating develops thermal bridges between the molecules, which make collagen less soluble.


Q. Collagen is being investigated to assess its utility as a drug delivery system (DDS). Why do they see collagen as a promising carrier for a DDS?

A. Because collagen has superior affinity with various drugs, it can be absorbed by a living body, and has already been clinically proven in many implants.


Q. I hear that KOKEN's collagen is made from type I collagen. Is it possible that it also contains type III collagen mixed with type I?

A. Since it is made from bovine dermis, KOKEN's collagen contains, as in the skin, a small amount of type III collagen together with type I. Approximately 95% of KOKEN's collagen is type I and the remaining 5% is type III.


Q. What is porcine atelocollagen made from?

A. In Japan, it is made from the skins of pigs bred for human consumption.


Q. What is Cosmetic Elastin made from?

A. It is made from the nuchal ligaments of cattle from Australia.


Q. What is Seagem Collagen made from?

A. It is made from the skins of Thunnus albacares (yellowfin tuna) from the southern oceans.


Q. What is Shark Atelocollagen made from?

A. It is made from the blue shark skin, which is also used for "Fukahire" (sharks fin)


Q. What is Extensin made from?

A. It is made from the raw carrot root.


Q. How do the original Atelocollagen and Atelocollagen SS, M, MS and H differ?

A. The original Atelocollagen is soluble in acidic conditions but precipitates in a neutral environment. Therefore, meticulous care must be taken in adjusting pH when preparing lotions, essences, etc.