Recovery and repair of tissues require a host of vitamins and minerals that participate in synthesis of new cells and tissue. For example, certain vitamins and minerals are required to facilitate the formation of endogenous anti-inflammatory compounds, including:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
Many vitamins and minerals also serve as antioxidants and help protect cells against the oxidative damage produced by inflammation.
Vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis and is a strong antioxidant. It’s involved in the enzymatic hydroxylation of proline to form 4-hydroxyproline, an amino acid that is an integral part of collagen and elastin.
Research on vitamin C shows that it may have important effects in reducing pain and inflammation secondary to exercise. In one study 400 mg daily of vitamin C reduced post exercise pain and inflammation. In another the use of vitamin C increased recovery from demanding exercise.
As well as being an antioxidant, vitamin E, has been demonstrated to reduce exercise induced muscle damage and muscle damage pain in arthritic patients.
Both vitamin C and E are important in treatment of arthritic conditions, as shown in studies, possibly by reducing oxidative stress induced by TNF-. And both of these vitamins are also helpful in reducing muscle soreness secondary to exercise. Clinical studies report that supplementing with vitamin E and C reduces post-exercise inflammation and pain in muscles and joints.
Vitamin D deficiency is fairly common, especially in the more Northern climates. Several studies have found a link between vitamin D deficiency and various disorders that have an inflammatory link. As well, studies have shown an association between vitamin D deficiency and inflammation in otherwise healthy people, and a decrease in inflammation with vitamin D supplementation.
Several clinical studies have shown the anti-inflammatory effects of niacinamide and its benefits in both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Pantothenate or vitamin B5 has been shown in several studies to influence wound healing and collagen synthesis. Some studies have also shown that low levels of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) are inversely related to increased joint pain and stiffness.
Several of the B vitamins target inflammation and in particular the pro-inflammatory cytokines including vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid. Methylcobalamin, as well as other methyl group donors such as folic acid, betaine, methionine, with the aid of B6, have multiple functions in the body including increasing the formation of SAMe and the conversion of homocysteine (high levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease) to the essential amino acid methionine.
Minerals are required for normal cell function and several serve as cofactors in the many enzymatic processes involved in synthesis of connective tissue macromolecules. Calcium and phosphorus (in the form of phosphates), and vitamin D to regulate both, are important for joint and bone health. Vitamin D In addition to its effects on calcium metabolism, also plays a role in the normal turnover of articular cartilage.
Boron and manganese are critical cofactors for collagen and GAG synthesis and metabolism. Some pharmaceuticals are known to negatively interact with some minerals. Supplementation of these minerals should ensure adequate supply in the body.
Clinical evidence suggests that zinc deficiencies have a high impact on connective tissue synthesis. Zinc primarily acts as cofactor in many enzyme systems that regulate cell proliferation and growth and in immune integrity. Diminution of collagen synthesis and strength as well as impaired healing is seen in animal tissues with zinc deficiencies.
Copper is a co-enzyme for lysyl-oxidase, which is essential for the conversion of collagen and elastin, and subsequently for joint function. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and may ease pain in arthritic and damaged joints.
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