Supplements for Tendon Health

Supplements utilized to buttress and optimize tendon health fall into 4 main categories. Supplements can boost cellular energy production, supply the biochemical building blocks for tendon repair, mitigate the destructive effects of unrestrained inflammation, and facilitate the formation of a robust blood vessel infrastructure that acts as a conduit for nutrient delivery.

Caveat #1
Most supplemental recommendations are not entrenched in irrefutable data that have withstood the relentless rigor of scientific injury, but rather are often based on extrapolation of theoretical considerations and sound reasoning. Thus, buyer beware.

LB’s Platitude #1
“Supplementation can never supersede sensible nutrition”

Energy Production: Cells involved in tendon repair need energy to perform their reparative and regenerative function.  Recall from you own experience the poor performance or lethargy suffered when going for an arduous run or attempting an intense workout without proper pre activity caloric intake. Your cells on a microscopic level perform in the same mediocre manner. Without proper cellular energy creation, cells lack the capability to repair or re-generate damaged and dysfunctional tendons.  Sound scientific inquiry has established the following maxim: a low metabolic rate, i.e. low energy production, results in slow healing after injury. The critical components to cellular energy production are mitochondria, which act as nuclear power plants generating the preponderance of healing energy. Thus, the utility of supplementation for cellular energy optimization is to support, promote, and maximize mitochondrial function. Below are some supplements to consider. 

1. L-carnitine: Is an amino acid that transports long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria, which in turn are combined with oxygen, essentially being “burned” for fuel with resultant useable energy as a by product. Moreover, acetyl L-carnitine is central in the production of a substance called cardiolipin. Cardiolipin is a crucial phospholipid that resides in the inner mitochondrial membrane and affords structural support to several key energy producing enzymes.

Recommended dose: 500 to 1000 mg per day

2. Coenzyme Q10: Is a fat-soluble chemical that acts to protect mitochondria from the menace of high-energy free radicals that disrupt and destroy the components of the energy production assembly line. Moreover, Coenzyme Q10 works in concert with mitochondria to liberate the intrinsic energy within fat into a useable energy with broad application in cellular function.

Recommended dose: 200 mg per day

3. Alpha lipoic acid: Is a water and fat soluble molecule which acts as both a cardinal co-factor in energy generation and as an indispensible antioxidant safeguarding mitochondria from the devilish deeds of oxidizing vandals.

Recommended dose: 20 – 50 mg per day

Building blocks:
Just as the mason requires brick and mortar to build, your cells require collagen to construct and repair damaged and dysfunctional tendon. Collagen is a protein; the most ubiquitous protein in the body, whose regimental organization and spiraling interconnectivity provides the structural foundation for tendon function. The basic components of the collagen chain are amino acids. The most abundant being glycine, proline, and lysine. Targeted supplementation should focus on providing raw amino acids or truncated collagen for incorporation within the nascent tendon fibers.
1. Hydrolyzed Collagen:
An abridged form of long chain collagen, whose smaller size allows for ease of absorption through the digestive tract and whose increased bioavailability affords facile enzymatic handling and implementation in the tendon reparative process.

Recommended dose: 5-10 grams daily

While inflammation is a necessary mechanism in the early phase of tendon healing, playing a paramount role in initiating and catalyzing the reparative process, prolonged and unrestrained inflammation is destructive and deleterious, compromising the injured and fragile tendon’s ability to return to normal function. The agents of inflammation’s infamy are dastardly byproducts referred to as free radicals or oxidizing agent. These are high energy, unstable ticking time bombs. Whose volatile disposition dismantles and despoils the burgeoning tendon fibers. Anti-oxidants are molecules that envelope and capture free radicals, neutralizing their havoc, checking their advance, and facilitating the restoration of an environment conducive to healing. In the setting of an acute injury, inflammation should be encouraged and supplementation with anti oxidants should commence only 14 days after onset of injury. Recommended supplements include.

Vitamin C: Water-soluble.
Recommended Dose: 500 mg daily

Vitamin E: Fat Soluble.
Recommended Dose: 400 IU daily

Alpha Lipoic Acid: Both water and fat-soluble.
Recommended Dose: 300 mg daily

Blood Supply: The building blocks, nutrients, fuel substrates, basically all the fundamental components required for new tendon formation and mending are delivered to our cells via an elaborate transport infrastructure commonly referred to as our blood vessels. The smallest of these conduits, capillaries, serve as the main hub in which transfer from to the vast external highway to the internal workbench transpires. In the absence of a robust capillary network, cellular reparative mechanisms falter, resulting in chronic tendon pain, tendon dysfunction, and muscle-tendon-bone unit inadequacy.
Recommended Supplementation: Nitric oxide is a molecule central to blood vessel health and vitality. The end effect of its abundance is increased blood flow, youthful vessel inner lining, and thin, clot resistant blood. While nitric oxide is a gas at room temperature indirect supplementation is possible through increased Arginine ingestion. Arginine, an amino acid, is the primary precursor to nitric oxide and increased Arginine intake correlates to increased Nitric Oxide blood levels. Whereas, there is a lack of standard or well-established doses of arginine, a common dose is 1-3 grams taken by mouth daily.

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