A common injury- A slow road to recovery
- 33 million musculoskeletal injuries are reported each year- 50% involve tendon and ligament injuries
- Current therapies are ineffective rarely able to restore function to pre-injury state
- Regeneration of ligaments and tendons is a slow process compared with healing of other connective tissues (like bone)
- Overuse, body weight, sedentary lifestyle, disease, and age increase risk for tendon & ligament injury
- Tendons are an intricately organized soft tissue that efficiently transfer muscle force to the bones of our skeletal frame enabling joint movement
- Ligaments are soft tissue fibers that connect bone to other bones.
- Both Ligaments and tendons are made up of collagen
A Novel Approach: Collagen & intrinsic healing
Keith Barr, PhD, and his research team from the Functional Molecular Biology Laboratory at UC Davis studied 8 young healthy men in addition to lab produced soft tissue similar to human connective tissue. The participants were given gelatin and vitamin C prior to a brief exercise intense enough to stimulate tendons and ligaments. Blood samples indicated that certain amino acids that are biomarkers for collagen production were markedly increased under these conditions.
Barr and his team conclude that gelatin and vitamin C supplementation one hour before 5-10 minute high intensity exercise can help reduce tendon and ligament injury and promote repair.
Their recommendation is 15 grams of gelatin with 50 mg vitamin C. Exercise may be targeted to the need of the individual (shoulders for baseball players or box jumps for basketball players).
Shaw G, Lee-Barthel A, Ross ML, Wang B, Baar K. Vitamin C-enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017;105(1):136–143. doi:10.3945/ajcn.116.138594
Baar K. Minimizing Injury and Maximizing Return to Play: Lessons from Engineered Ligaments. Sports Med. 2017;47(Suppl 1):5–11. doi:10.1007/s40279-017-0719-x
Wu F, Nerlich M, Docheva D. Tendon injuries: Basic science and new repair proposals. EFORT Open Rev. 2017;2(7):332–342. Published 2017 Jul 27. doi:10.1302/2058-5241.2.160075