Why gelatin plus exercise might repair ligaments

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Adding a gelatin supplement to an exercise program might be a way to prevent or repair injuries to ligaments.

To test the idea, researchers enrolled eight health young men in a trial of a gelatin supplement enhanced with vitamin C. The volunteers drank the supplement and had blood taken, and after one hour performed a short (five-minute) bout of high-impact exercise (skipping).

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, and at the Australian Institute of Sport tested the blood for amino acids that could build up the collagen protein that composes tendons, ligaments, and bones. They also tested blood samples for their effect on lab-grown ligaments that stand in for the real thing.

The gelatin supplement increased blood levels of amino acids and markers linked to collagen synthesis, and improved the mechanics of the engineered lab-grown ligaments, they found.

“These data suggest that adding gelatin and vitamin C to an intermittent exercise program could play a beneficial role in injury prevention and tissue repair,” the researchers write in a paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The National Institute on Aging and the Australian Institute of Sport funded the work.

Source: UC Davis