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Connective Tissues & Bones

Connective Tissues and joints

Many ingredients are required for building and repairing healthy connective tissue – that refers to our bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, fascia etc. The nutrients required for connective tissue repair are not the only ingredients.  Stress, lack of sleep and environmental toxins can affect our hormone levels along with possibly depletion in vitamin D. Potentially these factors result in increased cortisol, and decreased glucose absorption into cells which impacts on lower production of glucosamine ( which is required for cartilage repair).

Whilst sub-optimal levels of nutrients from diet or supplementation may weaken the various connective tissues, it is often the inability to repair damage or inflammation which reduces the integrity and composition of connective tissues. Inflammation needs to be reduced before cells and tissues can make full use of nutrients.

What are the key nutrients for maintenance and repair of connective tissues? :    

  • For general maintenance of connective tissues: Collagen, protein, Vitamin C,  sulphur, vitamin D, magnesium, and  selenium.

  • For repair of tendons, ligaments and muscles: All of the above plus an anti-inflammatory(e.g. Serrazyme or Bromelain or Devils Claw). Comfrey oil and Homoeopathic Arnica are very helpful taken close to the occurrence of any strain or injury.

  • For injury to or deterioration of joints or cartilage: Bolster collagen, particularly with Sulphur. Take an anti-inflammatory, hyaluronic acid and/or Type II Collagen. The esterified fatty acid, Celadrin, or Turmeric (i.e. Curcumin) can improve inflamed joints due to deterioration from auto-immune problems. Omega 3 oils(1g/day of EPA) can also help in the same circumstances to reduce inflammation around a joint.

  • For Bones: In general, ensure sufficient protein, magnesium and Vitamin D. Ensure digestive system is satifactory so that minerals are broken down in the food. Supplement with Vitamin K2 for thinning bones. Use extra minerals for healing of fractures


Gradually low levels of key nutrients will lower muscle strength and those of ligaments and tendons. If these are weak then joints will yield more readily under strain and consequently wear and tear results. Collagen is a key component of most tissues but there are various forms of collagen.

Nutrition for healthy connective tissues needs to focus on collagen / connective tissue building foods.  It turns out these types of foods will also be particularly important for the tissue integrity and associated tissue damage.  The ingredients required for building and repairing healthy connective tissue

Nutrients required for collagen and connective tissue formation and integrity:

  • Collagen: the main protein of connective tissue. There are different collagens for different connective tissues. Collagen type 2 is useful for joints particularly undenatured collagen.

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin:  Main precursors to producing GAGs ((glycosaminoglycans)

  • Sulphate: Combines with chondroitin to make up cartilage. Required for the process of sulphation, to help facilitate cartilage repair and collagen production

  • Bioflavonoids particularly anthocyanidins (these phytonutrients help strengthen collagen fibres linkage and catechins (prevent the breakdown of collagen).

  • Vitamin D and magnesium. 

  • Vitamin C; Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Required for protein synthesis and SOD production.

  • Silica and Selenium;

  • Amino acids: Glycine, Proline, Lysine, Glutamine :Major components of collagen and elastin

  • Hyaluronic acid and esterified fatty acids. To retain moisture and reduce inflammation. Stimulates growth of connective tissue. 

  • Proteolytic enzymes. To reduce inflammation and to break down scar tissue

Collagen is a protein, and other than water, is the most abundant material found in connective tissue- collagen accounts for more mass than all the other proteins put together. What makes this protein so useful and injury resistant is its combination of strength and elasticity.  Unlike most proteins, which form clumps when gathered together, collagen is fibrous and can form mats, or chord-like structures (such as tendons and muscles).Collagen is the protein that forms connective fibres in tissues such as skin, ligaments, cartilage, bones and teeth. Collagen also acts as a kind of intracellular “glue” that gives support, shape, strength and bulk to blood vessels, bones, and organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver.

Vitamin C – along with the amino acids proline and lysine – is essential for the formation of healthy collagen. Many vitamins and minerals act as catalysts to support the manufacture of proteins. In the case of collagen, however, vitamin C is actually used up as it combines with two amino acids – lysine and proline – to form procollagen. Procollagen is then used to manufacture one of several types of collagen found in different tissues throughout the body. There are about 30 different types of collagen, but the most common ones are:

  • Type I: Makes up the fibres found in connective tissues of the skin, bone, teeth, tendons and ligaments.

  • Type II: Round fibres found in cartilage.

  • Type III: Forms connective tissues that give shape and strength to organs, such as the liver, heart, kidneys, etc.

  • Type IV: Forms sheets that lie between layers of cells in the blood vessels, muscles, and eye.

Vitamin C Deficiency Equals Collagen Deficiency: Our body is continually manufacturing collagen to maintain and repair connective tissues lost to daily wear and tear. Without vitamin C, collagen formation is disrupted, resulting in a wide variety of problems throughout the body. Scurvy, the disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, is really a process that disrupts the body’s ability to manufacture collagen and connective tissues. With scurvy, the body literally falls apart as collagen is broken down and not replaced. The joints begin to wear down as tendons shrivel and weaken.

One of the major problems with tissue destruction is the formation of free radicals. Free radical damage is typically associated with many chronic inflammatory disorders, injuries to the central nervous system and connective tissue injury. Suppression of free radical formation aids in the remodelling process. D -glucoruonic acid is a constituent of hyaluronic acid, which in turn forms the back- bone of proteoglycans. Proteoglycans act as a free radical scavenger or antioxidant.