Connective tissue is widespread in the body. Its function is to connect structures and provide support.
While skin is the more abundant, the strongest connective tissue in the body are tendons and ligaments. Tendons serve to connect muscle to bone, while ligaments connect bone to bone or bone to cartilage.
Connective tissue contains one or more of three fibres – collagen, reticular, and elastic.
- Collagen fibres form the major fibrous component of the skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and teeth. They are tough and strong fibres that occur in bundles and give connective tissue its versatility.
- Reticular fibres are delicate and supportive fibres of connective tissue. They arise in networks and support structures.
- Elastic fibres are designed to maintain elasticity and provide resiliency in skin, arteries and lungs. (1) (2)
Tendinopathy—also called tendinosis—is the breakdown of collagen in the tendon as a result of overuse or sudden stress on a tendon. In plain English, tendinopathy is irritation or inflammation of a tendon.
The condition might impact your lifestyle negatively in many ways. It causes burning pain, decreases your range of motion and flexibility. But before signing out of your favourite sports club and throwing away those CrossFit sneakers, here are a few science-backed supplements to help you move pain-free!
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate (GlcN and CS)
A research study published in 2017 examined tenotomised rats treated with oral GlcN and CS supplements. The study groups showed a decrease in inflammation and more organised collagen bundles, compared to the control groups. After eight weeks of treatment, the rats had improved their tendon strength in biomechanical tests. A possible reason for these results could be the stimulation of collagen synthesis and reduced inflammation.
In another experiment with rabbits, the tendons treated with GlcN and CS showed significantly higher histological scores after 12 weeks. Moreover, the biomechanical analysis revealed a higher rupture point for treated tendons—the tendons are more resistant. (3)
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a popular oral agent used to treat a wide range of conditions, including inflammation, pain, allergies, arthritis and bacterial infections. MSM is a chemical found in animals, humans, some fruit, vegetables and grains. The oral usage ensures rapid absorption and good distribution in the body. (3)
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, MSM is often used to aid osteoarthritis. Research studies report reduced pain, swelling and improved functional abilities of the joint. (4)
Bromelain is a digestive enzyme derived from pineapple stem. It provides therapeutic effects in several inflammatory diseases. Numerous studies reported that bromelain has a medicative potential on swelling and ecchymosis (i.e., a discoloration of the skin resulting from bleeding underneath) following surgical and non-surgical damage.
Moreover, research states that bromelain therapy reduces inflammation due to a reduction of the neutrophil cells (i.e., type of immune cells) migration and their adhesion to the endothelial wall of the blood vessels. (3)
Considering that tendinopathies can be inflammation of a tendon, anti-inflammatory agents like bromelain contribute to the healing process.
It is not a surprise that collagen supplements can have a positive impact on tendinopathies. After all, tendons are composed primarily of collagen fibres. Hydrolysed collagen refers to collagen that has been broken down into smaller peptides, which makes it the best choice when you aim for maximum absorption and efficiency.
A 2019 pilot study demonstrated that oral supplementation of collagen peptides improves function and reduces pain in Achilles tendinopathy. The participants had received collagen supplements for six months and followed a bi-daily calf-strengthening program. (5)
Furthermore, researchers state that collagen supplements can improve skin elasticity and prevent bone loss. This makes collagen supplements a must for active people and individuals who want to take good care of their skin. (6) (7)
FLEXIBLE by LEMAlab is a high-quality collagen powder. It contains hydrolysed bovine collagen peptides from pasture-raised animals, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), bromelain and glucosamine sulphate.
Combined together, these powerful agents can help you reduce tendinopathy symptoms, decrease inflammation in your body and improve range of motion. On top of that, you will notice a positive change in your skin, improved hair and nails quality.
FLEXIBLE is unflavoured, which makes it the perfect addition to smoothies, coffee, tea, or even baked goods. Consume daily for best results and enjoy a pain-free life!
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, Health & Medicine, Anatomy & Physiology, ‘Tendon’
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, Health & Medicine, Anatomy & Physiology, ‘Ligament’
- Fusini, S. Bisicchia, C. Bottegoni, A. Gigante, F. Zanchini, A. Busilacchi, ‘Nutraceutical supplement in the management of tendinopathies: a systematic review’
- M Debbi, G. Agar, Gil Fichman, Y. Bar Ziv, R. Kardosh, N. Halperin, A. Elbaz, ‘Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomised controlled study’
- Preat, C. Purdam, M. Welveart, ‘Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Combined with Calf-Strengthening Exercises Enhances Function and Reduces Pain in Achilles Tendinopathy Patients’
- W. Moskowitz, ‘Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease’
- Proksch, D. Segger, J. Degwert, M. Schunck, V. Zague, S. Oesser, ‘Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study’