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Repairing Sports Injuries with Nutrition and Herbs

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 16 May 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Healing Sports Injuries Bromelain Arnica

Sports injuries fall into two general categories. First, there's the repetitive-motion type of trauma, such as tennis elbow, which is caused by straining the same area over and over again. Jogging and weightlifting can also cause this type of pressure on joints, tendons and muscles. Second, there is direct trauma resulting from a fall or an accident. Examples of this are a torn rotator cuff or sprained ankle. Muscle spasms can occur with heavy exercise or over-use of the muscle and the resulting build-up of lactic acid. Add the intensification of stress, and the surrounding muscles will tighten up and worsen the condition. Repetitive strain leads to inflammation of tissue while direct trauma leads to actual tissue damage. There are a number of ways you can treat these injuries both nutritionally and topically with herbs and food supplements. Here's a rundown of helpful healers.

Vitamins

Adequate vitamin intake is vital for healing injuries. One of the most important is vitamin C. It is important for making collagen, the connective tissue that holds skin, bone, tendons, ligaments and organs together. Vitamins E, A and beta carotene are also vital for recovering from tissue injuries.

Amino-acids

The amino acid lysine helps form collagen and produces antibodies, hormones and enzymes. Since it helps with the building of muscle protein, it is useful for patients recovering from injuries and recovery after operations. Lysine may also be helpful in maintaining healthy blood vessels. Leucine helps regulate sugar levels and also participates in hormone production, wound healing as well as energy regulation. It helps prevent the breakdown of muscle proteins that sometimes occur after trauma or severe stress. Valine is needed for muscle growth and repair. It can be used as an energy source in the muscles and in doing so preserves the use of glucose. Threonine is required to help maintain the proper protein balance in the body, as well as assist in the formation of collagen and elastin in the skin.

Bromelain

Bromelain is a digestive enzyme found in the stem and fruit of pineapples. Bromelain has demonstrated its effectiveness in treating a wide variety of injuries. These generally fall into one of two categories. First, there's the repetitive-motion type of trauma, which is caused by straining the same area over and over again. Fighters and weight lifters too can put a lot of pressure on their joints, tendons and muscles. Second, there is direct trauma which can result from a direct hit or fall. The proteolytic enzymes in pineapples, particularly bromelain, break down fibrin; a protein that the body deposits around the injury site to protect the tissue. A build up of fibrin can cause chronic pain and excessive inflammation. Bromelain also inhibits formation of pro-inflammatory prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance that triggers inflammation.

Arnica

Arnica is well known to increase the healing rate when bruising and swelling are main factors of the trauma. Arnica stimulates white blood cells into riding the body of congested blood around a contusion and also releasing fluids from sprained tissue. Rub it on your skin to heal sprains and bruises, sprains. There are a few people who may be sensitive to the compound helenalin in arnica. If you develop a mild rash, then you probably are one of those people and should stop using arnica immediately.

Aloe Vera

Lotions made from the juice of this plant and applied externally have been shown to be an effective treatment for conditions involving swelling, joint pain, muscle soreness, tendonitis bursitis, or following gel therapy to augment and extend treatment.

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