Rheumatoid Arthritis Management: Type II Collagen from Blue Shark Cartilage

According to a recent study, white shark is a great marine source of type II collagen. This collagen is extremely beneficial in the treatment of life-threatening and painful diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. It will be extremely helpful for medical and pharmaceutical companies.

Let’s first understand what is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

As you may be aware, our bodies have an immune system that aids in combating against foreign particles (antigens). It recognizes the antigens and makes antibodies (proteins) that bind to it and eliminate the antigens. But what if it begins to attack its own healthy cells and begins to recognize them as Foreign particles. In such a condition, our bodies could be affected significantly. This type of behavior exhibited my immune system is referred to as an autoimmune condition. In this article, we will learn about one such incurable condition, Rheumatoid Arthritis. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, our immune system specifically targets the joints, particularly the joints of the hands and knees, causing inflammation in that area and resulting in sharp pain. 

What is collagen?

Our bodies contain 30% collagen. It is the most important protein present in the human body. It is a main component of our bones, muscles, skin, tendons, ligaments, and a variety of other connective tissues. Collagen gives our bodies strength, structure, and support, allowing it to operate effectively. There are 28 forms of collagen proteins in human bodies, but the most essential ones are from Type I to Type V. In this article, we are going to talk about Type II Collagen only. Type-II Collagen is a type of elastic protein that is found in places where the bone requires flexibility so that smooth movements can takes place. It is found mostly in joints (knee joints, elbow joints, and hand joints).

Collagen extracted from Blue Shark (Prionace glauca)

Collagen extracted from Blue shark cartilage

The majority of the collagen supplied in the market as a supplement is derived from terrestrial sources like cow and chicken. But very few studies on marine organisms have been conducted; marine sources can become an excellent source of collagen and can contribute significantly to fulfilling demand from the market.

In this new research, Background collagen (BSCII) was isolated from a blue shark (Prionace glauca) whose properties were highly comparable to Type – II Collagen. Blue shark cartilage was purchased from China for this study since the majority of the protein content is found solely in cartilages.

The cartilage was then chopped into small pieces and crushed in a meat grinder before being rinsed and placed in a solution of pepsin (a digestive enzyme present in humans). It is done in order to separate the collagen from mixture. Then it is subjected to centrifugation and the supernatant is obtained and send for further processes.

The SDS-PAGE method was used to determine the molecular composition of the background collagen. Its total sugar content was measured by phenol-sulfuric acid method, and numerous other characteristics were tested by different methods. It was discovered that the amino acids in collagen-II are very similar to the amino acids in background collagen (BSCII), and sugar was also found in background collagen (BSCII), that proves that it is a glycoprotein.

Collagen stability Background Collagen (BSCII) during this entire procedure was quite remarkable. Its triple helical structure survived multiple harsh treatments that proves that it is more stable as compare to the collagen obtained from other creatures.

How BSCII can provide relief in Rheumatoid arthritis?

As you might already aware, our antibodies attack the joints in rheumatoid arthritis, damages the cartilage, and restricting the joint mobility due to the inflammation in that particular area. Cartilage is formed in our bodies from collagen, thus using this background collagen (BSCII) as a dietary supplement, whether in powder or tablet form, can assist to repair our damaged cartilage. This will not only aid with the inflammations, but it will also help to prevent any further damage. It has less severe side effects if you compare to steroidal drugs or non-steroidal drugs that have major side effects like bleeding of GI tract and weaken immune system.

Can it permanently cure rheumatoid arthritis?

It is important to understand that consuming background collagen will not treat rheumatoid arthritis. It is intended for treating symptoms; it cannot be used as a substitute of medication described by doctors. Furthermore, the usage of collagen is useful only when the patient’s rheumatoid arthritis condition isn’t too severe. It is most beneficial when included in the diet at the early stages of disease detection.

What happens if rheumatoid arthritis left untreated?

If it is not treated early, it will impair our immune, causing us to become susceptible to various diseases very quickly. It can drastically reduce a person’s quality of life and make it difficult to conduct everyday tasks. If the situation worsens, the only option is to replace the damaged section with prosthetic implants constructed of plastic and metal. However, this is an extremely costly treatment. As a result, experts advise that early prevention is preferable.

References: Pan, Z.; Ge, B.; Wei, M.; Elango, J.; Wu, W. Isolation and Biochemical Properties of Type II Collagen from Blue Shark (Prionace glauca) Cartilage. Mar. Drugs 2023, 21, 260.

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