Ligaments and tendons are important for your everyday movements and activities. They can take a lot of wear and tear with just normal activities, but take a tremendous amount of strain when we exercise. This increases the need for certain vitamins and minerals in our bodies. If the correct nutrients are present, then repairs can be quickly made, helping you to avoid injury, pain, and inflammation.
Ligaments are the flexible structures that connect bones to bones. Tendons connect muscles to bones. Although they have different functions, ligaments and tendons are both made up primarily of collagen, a strong, flexible, connective tissue. Repetitive motions and regular use case a breakdown in the collagen and it must be healed to remain strong.
To fully understand how vitamins and supplements can help to protect and repair ligaments and tendons, you must first learn what these tissues need and how each vitamin or supplement contributes to the needs of the tissue. Connective tissues primarily need water for lubrication, proteoglycans to attract and hold water, and collagen to hold the proteoglycans in place.
Chondroitin Sulphate and Water
Think of chondroitin sulphate molecules as long, negatively charged ropes. They wrap around proteoglycans in the connective tissues and repel each other. The repelling action creates a passage for water to flow through. This matrix keeps proteoglycans from sticking together and cutting off the water supply to the joint. Proteoglycans attract water, so the combination of proteoglycans and chondroitin sucks water into the space. This inhibits the breakdown of the tissues and protects them from enzymes that can cause damage.
Glucosamine and Proteoglycans
Glucosamine speeds up cartilage, tendon and ligament metabolism, helping it to repair faster. It also reduces pain in the connective tissues by reducing inflammation. Glucosamine’s role in connective tissue repair is very specific. Glucosamine is the major building block of proteoglycans. It also stimulates the cells that produce proteoglycans, speeding up the production and healing time of all connective tissues.
Vitamin C and Collagen
Collagen is the substance that holds proteoglycans in place. Collagen is the first substance to take on damage when tendons and ligaments are used. As the collagen breaks down, the proteoglycans are weakened and destroyed, leaving the tissues stiff, dry, inflamed and inflexible. Vitamin C is the major requirement for collagen production. It helps to eliminate soreness, stiffness, damage, and slow recovery. Vitamin C is an important component of maintaining healthy joints. Vitamin C requirements increase as we age, as activity increases, and when damage occurs. Buffered vitamin C is a great supplement for people who are concerned about the acidity of vitamin C. Sodium ascorbate (in the form of vitamin C powder) is available as the best vitamin C you can find.
Studies on manganese, silicon, copper and zinc are less prevalent, but they are all considered important for tissue repair and connective tissue health. Deficiencies in these trace minerals could lead to pain, inflammation, slower healing time, and more joint damage.
As always, speak with your doctor about drug interactions and your personal condition before you begin any vitamins and supplements routine.
About the Author: Stacy A. Pessoney is Wholesale Nutrition’s Chief Editor and Communications Research Director. She has a strong interest in helping people achieve greater brain and body health with the help of vitamins and supplements, with an emphasis on vitamin C powder in the form of buffered vitamin C. Wholesale Nutrition has provided the world with the best vitamin C and wholesale vitamins since 1970. Visit http://www.nutri.com to buy high-quality discount vitamins today!
This entire article may be reprinted free of charge provided that the “About the Author” section of the article, sources, and all links in the article are included. For shorter quotations, a clear link to the blog post or Wholesale Nutrition is sufficient.