Why gelatin plus exercise might rebuild ligaments

Cropped shot of a sporty young woman suffering from a knee injury

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.

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