Tendinitis is the inflammation and swelling of the joints between two muscles known as tendons. Tendinosis or degeneration of the tendons may accompany tendinitis, which is characterized by severe pain at night or during an activity, especially near the joints. Elbow, heel, shoulder and wrist are the common body parts that are affected by tendinitis and the goal of a treatment regimen is to reduce the pain and inflammation. Along with rest and anti-inflammatory medications, certain vitamins and supplements can also help.
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Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a water soluble antioxidant vitamin that has the ability to neutralize the free radicals that are formed as a result of various metabolic processes in the cells and tissues. This helps treat the inflammation of the tendons that is associated with tendinitis. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends 250 to 500 mg of vitamin C, two times a day for tendinitis patients to heal inflammation and improve immune function.
Vitamin C can be obtained from foods such as citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, strawberries, cantaloupes and green peppers. Vitamin C supplements can also be purchased from local pharmacies without a prescription. However, an overdose of the synthetic supplements may lead to upset stomach and diarrhea and it is best to talk to a doctor before taking them.
Vitamin E is another vitamin with antioxidant properties that can also help reduce inflammation by neutralizing harmful free radicals. It helps to reduce the symptoms of pain and swelling associated with tendinitis. Wheat germ, corn, nuts and olives are rich sources of vitamin E, along with synthetic supplements. MedlinePlus, however, warns against taking more than 400 I.U. of vitamin E per day, unless prescribed by a physician, as it may increase the risk of death.
Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that is found naturally in pineapple juice and pineapple stem and is also used to reduce and treat the swelling, pain and tenderness that accompanies tendinitis. Bromelain is generally safe to use. Side effects are usually mild and include diarrhea, upset stomach and intestinal discomfort. However, as with any natural supplements and herbs, it is best to talk to a physician before taking them to avoid any possible drug interactions and adverse reactions.