How Athletes Can Use Supplements for Injury Recovery
Unintentional injuries account for 39.5 million physician office visits every year. Another 29.4 million incidents result in emergency department visits.
As an athlete, you know how serious a minor injury can become. An injury could impact your mobility and quality of life. You might have to take some time between workouts or stay on the bench to recover.
What if you could naturally speed up your recovery? Here are a few supplements for injury recovery that can help. By exploring these different types of supplements, you can create a recovery plan that’s right for you.
Don’t wait on the bench. Speed up your time for recovery with these tips today.
Types of Injuries
Before you start taking supplements, it helps to understand how different types of injuries can impact your body. Here are two different types of injuries you might sustain (and the types of supplements that can help you heal for each).
The majority of muscle injuries (between 10 and 55% of all injuries) occur during sports activities).
Most muscle injuries occur at a musculotendinous junction. This is where a tendon meets a muscle. If you’ve sustained a muscle injury, you’ll need to consider:
- Muscle oxygenation
- Muscle soreness
- Skeletal muscle atrophy
- Muscle protein synthesis
- Muscle damage markers
Muscle protein synthesis is one of the main parts of the process. It involves allowing proteins to assimilate into new muscle tissue.
In order to repair muscle, you’ll likely need different types of supplements such as:
- Protein supplements to reduce the necessary time for recovery
- Essential amino acids to reduce muscle loss during recovery
- Creatine monohydrate to stimulate muscle hypertrophy
- L-Carnitine to reduce muscle damage and improve muscle oxygenation
- Serrapeptase to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation
Taking antioxidants can also help your muscles repair. Try tart cherry extract, grape seed extract, and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
If you’ve sustained a bone injury or fracture, you’ll want to remain anti-inflammatories. Anti-inflammatories can suppress prostaglandins from contributing to the bone formation process. Instead, prioritize calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, and Cissus.
After sustaining a bone fracture, your body will need additional calcium to heal. You’ll also need vitamin K to help your bones draw in the calcium. Without vitamin K, your body might not metabolize the calcium necessary to repair the damage.
Vitamin D can also help your body absorb the calcium it needs.
Cissus, on the other hand, helps stimulate bone-building cells called osteoblasts. When combined with calcium, Cissus can help speed up the recovery process.
Goals After Injury
After sustaining an athletic injury, you don’t want to start using supplements at random. Instead, it’s important to choose the supplements that will help you accomplish your health goals. Here are a few goals to consider as you explore different supplements for injury recovery.
1. Prevent Additional Damage
One of your main goals when choosing supplements for injury recovery is likely to avoid additional injuries.
First, make sure to take a break from the exercise or sport that caused the initial injury. After sustaining an injury, your body’s antioxidant levels will decrease. Your body will need additional antioxidants to fight off free radicals.
Otherwise, your body will experience oxidative stress. Inflammation will increase, which can slow down your time for recovery.
However, inflammation is your body’s natural reaction to illness or injury. You need a little inflammation in order to heal properly. Otherwise, your body can’t clean up dead cells and provide the injured area with the necessary nutrients to heal.
In order to prevent additional damage, focus on different nutrients for injury recovery like:
- Curcumin (found in turmeric), which reduces oxidative stress and inflammation
- Boswellia, which provides pain relief, reduces joint stiffness, and offers inflammation support
- Chondroitin, which can help prevent joint degradation
- Cissus, which has bone and joint healing properties
- Fish oil, which can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress
- Grape seed extract, which can reduce inflammation after overtraining
These different types of supplements can help your body recover.
2. Increase Collagen Production
When taking supplements for injury recovery, you’ll also want to increase your body’s collagen production. Collagen is a protein that acts as the building block for muscle and connective tissue repair. It’s found in your skin, bones, ligaments, and tendons.
When cells are damaged or die, new collagen comes in to keep your joints and muscles strong.
According to research, there’s a connection between collagen metabolism and injury recovery. If you want to reduce your time for recovery, make sure to add collagen to your supplement plan.
However, the type of collagen you use depends on your injury. For example, collagen protein is ideal for relieving joint discomfort. Collagen Type II, on the other hand, can help your body repair and rebuild connective tissue.
Collagen Type II will also encourage your body to produce more of its own collagen, which can help you heal.
3. Repair Connective Tissue
After sustaining an injury, you’ll also need protein and vitamins to repair your connective tissue. Your body will need more micronutrients after you’re injured. These nutrients for injury recovery include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
Together, these nutrients can improve your inflammation levels, collagen production, and immunity. We’ll review these nutrients for injury recovery in more depth below.
Types of Supplements to Consider
When developing a supplement plan for yourself, make sure to keep your goals in mind. You can use a combination of these different types of supplements to heal after your injury.
Boswellia is ideal for inflammation support and pain relief. It’s often used to relieve arthritis pain. Boswellia can inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines to ease your joint pain and stiffness.
There’s also research that indicates Boswellia could provide anti-inflammatory benefits, too.
Curcumin is found in turmeric. It helps with collagen production and formation. In addition to helping you heal from recovery, curcumin can also help relieve pain through its anti-inflammatory properties.
In fact, wounds that are treated with curcumin tend to heal faster. They also produce higher levels of collagen.
For some athletes, taking curcumin is more effective than over-the-counter anti-inflammatories for pain relief.
Cissus contained bone and joint healing properties.
In one study, participants who used Cissus experienced better:
- Healing rate
- Fracture mobility
- Swelling reduction
- Pain reduction
Their data was compared to a placebo group during a six-week study period.
You might consider taking Cissus after you’ve recovered as well. This supplement shows promise in reducing joint pain and improving joint function for athletes.
4. Fish Oil
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are ideal for reducing oxidative stress, especially if you’re injured. Taking fish oil can also reduce your inflammation levels.
You might consider taking fish oil after you’ve healed, too. Fish oil can support your immune function to keep you strong and healthy long after you’ve recovered.
You can take chondroitin and glucosamine together to keep your joints from degrading over time. Many studies indicate that chondroitin can help reduce inflammation and pain. It’s often used to reduce pain symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis.
Chondroitin sulfate helps your joints retain water. By taking chondroitin, you could ease swelling and inflammation by reducing excess water retention.
6. Grape Seed Extract
Remember, grape seed extract is ideal if you want to prevent a future injury. In addition to reducing inflammation throughout the body, it can also help reduce total body oxidation.
You might consider using grape seed oil with olive extract. This combination might help prevent post-traumatic tissue damage. According to the study, using grape seed and olive extract after an injury could reduce a patient’s risk of degenerative joint conditions such as osteoarthritis.
However, more human studies are needed to confirm these findings.
7. Coenzyme Q10
Also known as CoQ10, Coenzyme Q10 can help reduce your time for recovery by producing natural antioxidants. These antioxidants can help your body transfer energy within cells. It’s also essential for cellular metabolism.
It can also help protect your tissue. When you exercise, your body will experience oxidative stress. CoQ10 could help reduce exercise-induced tissue injuries.
If you plan on taking CoQ10, make sure to take it with food.
About 90% of your body’s collagen is made up of Types I, II, and III. Remember, collagen is the building block for your body’s proteins. Without it, you might need more time for recovery.
Collagen can reduce signs of aging, like wrinkles, by keeping your skin taut. It can also relieve joint pain in athletes.
Taking a collagen protein supplement could improve your body’s collagen synthesis process. This process will help injured joints heal.
9. Vitamin A, C, D, and K
Vitamin A is ideal for reducing inflammation and strengthening your immune system. It can also support your body’s natural collagen production.
Vitamin C could help accelerate the joint and bone healing process. It can also increase Type I collagen synthesis.
Vitamin D can help your skin and bone health.
It could also improve your joint strength, mobility, and comfort. You can take vitamin D along with vitamin K for better bone health.
Zinc helps your body’s cell growth and repair process. It also supports your immune system.
As you work out and sweat, you’ll start to lose zinc. Consider adding it to your supplement routine to maintain proper levels.
Stronger, Happier, and Healthier: Try Supplements for Injury Recovery
Don’t let the time you need for recovery slow you down. Instead, start using these supplements for injury recovery. With these types of supplements, you can heal and get back to working up a sweat.
Ready to find the supplements you need to recover? Explore our shop today!