Muscles and ligaments provide support for your skeleton, and the function of these tissues is essential for proper posture, physical activity and locomotion. Muscle tissue and ligaments contain specialized molecules that provide the tissues with strength, as well as allow for proper muscle contraction. Some essential vitamins obtained from your diet aid in the maintenance of ligaments and muscle tissue, and adequate consumption of these vitamins may aid in muscle and ligament repair.
One vitamin that can aid in the repair of torn muscles and ligaments is vitamin C. This vitamin aids in the repair of these tissues through its role in synthesizing collagen, a protein found in both muscles and connective tissue. Collagen provides structural support for muscles and ligament fibers, increasing the strength of the tissue. The Linus Pauling Institutes indicates that vitamin C plays an essential role in collagen synthesis, with deficiencies in the vitamin leading to symptoms in collagen-rich tissues. Consuming adequate levels of vitamin C, either through dietary supplements or ingesting foods rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits, can help support normal collagen synthesis and facilitate muscle and tendon repair.
Vitamin E may also aid in muscle and ligament repair. The family of eight compounds that are collectively referred to as vitamin E play a role in regulating inflammation, your body's response to injury that helps promote proper healing. Upon tissue damage, including muscle and ligament damage, your body secretes pro-inflammatory factors called cytokines, which recruit cells to repair damaged tissue. The Linus Pauling Institute indicates that vitamin E plays a role in regulating the release of these cytokines, and indicates that this regulation plays a role in speeding healing after surgery to the anterior cruciate ligament. Consuming foods that contain vitamin E, including corn, soybean or olive oils, may help promote proper muscle and ligament healing.
Another vitamin that may aid in muscle and ligament healing is vitamin B12. This vitamin belongs to the family of B-class vitamins, which aid in metabolizing the nutrients you eat into chemicals that can be used in your cells, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. Specifically, vitamin B12 aids in the breakdown of dietary proteins into amino acids, which are then reused and made into human protein. This dietary protein breakdown aids muscle and tissue repair, since the healing process involves the production of new muscle and ligament proteins, which contribute to the newly formed tissue. Without the presence of vitamin B12 the inefficient breakdown of proteins would hinder your body's ability to generate new proteins and tissue for muscles and ligaments, slowing the healing process. Foods such as meats and dairy products serve as source of vitamin B12, and eating these foods may help support recovery after a muscle or ligament injury.