What Supplements Are Best to Take After Meniscus Surgery?

The meniscus -- a little crescent-moon shock absorber -- is a vital part of the knee's cushioning system. These pieces of cartilage become worn with daily use and can rip with injury. The best supplements to take after meniscus surgery will complement the body's natural healing response by rebuilding cartilage, removing dead tissues and boosting bone health. Discuss supplements with your health care provider before taking them.

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.
Credit: Sveta615/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamin D

Known as the sunshine vitamin, the body makes vitamin D with exposure to UV rays. Vitamin D is an essential micronutrient that allows your body to use calcium to strengthen, remodel and grow bones. Dr. Joseph M. Lane, of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, states that a lack of vitamin D after orthopaedic surgery may lead to poor outcomes. The two large bones affected by meniscus surgery include the tibia and femur; any change in the meniscus can impact these bones that sit on either side of this cartilage. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons encourages you to take 1,000 international units of vitamin D daily after surgery.

Vitamin C

This water-soluble vitamin will help the body heal after surgical repair of the meniscus. Abundant in green peppers, citrus and strawberries, vitamin C is an antioxidant used by the body to form collagen. In turn, collagen is the building block for many human tissues, including the ligaments, tendons and scar tissue required for healing following meniscal surgery. Vitamin C dosages vary by age and sex. The adult male dosage is 90 mg per day, but it's only 75 mg per day for females, according to MedlinePlus. Signs of vitamin C deficiency include joint pain, a symptom that may be masked after such surgery as a meniscus repair.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin are two components isolated in human cartilage. These supplements show promise in the medical arena of joint disease by decreasing pain and inflammation and replacing lost cartilage. A 2005 study presented by Bastyr Natural Health Center found that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements were as effective as using prescription medications for knee pain and swelling. These studies were conducted on participants with osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that can occur after meniscus damage. The study cites that more research is needed to delineate the efficacy of taking glucosamine with chondroitin rather than just a glucosamine supplement.

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