Connective Tissue & Raisin Bread
-Connective tissue is one of 4 main tissues in the body. The others are nerve, muscle and epithelial tissue.
-Connective tissue is made up of cells and a matrix that is akin the raisins and bread.
-Most significant connective tissue cells are called blast cells and the manufacture the connective tissue matrix they are embedded in.
-These blast produced substances are fibers which provide structural support and polysaccharides that function as shock absorbers.
-Many health issues such as autoimmunity are manifestations of connective tissue breakdown. So are the general signs of aging including bone fragility, muscle weakness, wrinkles, and thinning skin.
The human body is made up of 4 systems. Biologist’s call these systems “tissues”, they’re made up of cells and they in turn comprise everything that makes up a living body. These tissue systems include nerve tissue which forms the nervous system, epithelial tissue which forms skin hair, nails, glands and all surfaces, skin and within and muscle tissue which makes up the muscular substance of the body.
The 4th and most abundant tissue system is called connective tissue (CT) and boy is this stuff cool. Connective tissue is not only the most abundant tissue in the human body, it’s the most abundant biological tissue on the planet. In a sense connective tissue is like raisin bread. It’s made up cells and “stuff” which can be thought of as analogous to raisins (cells) and bread (“stuff”). Of course in the body we have various types of raisins/cells and a matrix that is much more complex then bread, still, simplistic as it may be, this practical kitchen pantry visual can give a rough idea of the structure of connective tissue.
Of the numerous types of cells in connective tissue by far the most important are the blast cells, which are responsible for the manufacturing of connective tissue. These cells are called by various names, depending on where in the body they’re found. The prototypical connective tissue blast cell is called the fibroblast. The fibroblasts are the connective tissue workhorse cells. They produce fibers that keep epithelial and muscle tissues strong, elastic and well supported and slimy mucus-like substances called polysaccharides. The only tissue system that does not include connective is the nervous system. While surrounded with CT on its perimeter the nervous system as its own specialized version of CT called “glia”.
Connective tissue can be though as matrix that holds the body’s structures and organs in place. Because the vast majority of the body is connective tissue, understanding what it is and how to maintain its strength integrity is critical for keeping the body healthy and vital. The aging process is largely marked by accelerated breakdown and sluggish repair of connective tissue. And because connective is derived from processes that occur in blasts, feeding and nourishing and as well as detoxifying these critical hard working manufacturing cells is job #1 for healing, repair and anti-aging.
As noted above, connective tissue blast cells produce two major classes of substances that form the bread/matrix that they, in raisin-like fashion are embedded in. Biologist’s call these two substances fiber and slime. OK, not really. The fiber component is made up of what is called collagen along with some elastin and a smattering of a third substance called reticulin. The gooey slimy substance is called polysaccharide whose wet mucoid nature is a manifestation of its high water absorbing capacity. The slimy nature of polysaccharide water-trapping properties allows it function as very efficient biological shock absorber.
For most connective tissues the fibers predominate, but in the case of a very specialized type of connective tissue, fibers are scarce (or they should be, a harbinger of a disease and an early demise is an excessive amount of blood fiber formation) and the wet polysaccharides rule. This specialized connective tissue is basically liquid or gel-like and it’s called the blood. Yes, that’s right; even though it’s rarely thought of as such, the blood is a (connective) tissue.
Almost all health challenges, including arthritis, vasculitis, cellulitis and heart disease have a connective tissue connection. CT is home to cells of the immune system, so connective tissue is often a target of autoimmune disease. And because of its role in supporting the body, the classic wrinkling, shrinking and shriveling effects of old age as well as bone and muscle weakness and fragility are all likely to occur as blast cells slow down the connective tissue matrix degenerates.
Because of the relationship between connective tissue and the appearance of aging, collagen and other CT structures are often the target of advertising and marketing claims for various anti-aging and beauty aids such as skin firming products and wrinkle creams and cellulite wraps. Yet unbeknownst to consumers who spend billions of dollars a year on such potions and lotions and pills in a largely futile attempt to restore a youthful appearance , the key to staying and looking young, vital and healthy is to make sure connective tissue cells are being fed, oxygenated and kept free of toxicity. Below are my Top 12 strategies and tools for building strong connective tissue.
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#1 Vitamin C 1000-5000mg a day – the key that turns on the production collagen fibers the strongest most connective tissue substance and responsible for its steel like tensile strength.
#2 Glycine (1-2 grams a day) – the primary amino acid in connective tissue, glycine provides the firmness of CT. While not essential (the body makes its own glycine) increasing intake through diet and supplementation can assure a steady supply. Whey protein is a great source of glycine. And straight glycine supplements are also easily available via health store or the internet.
#3 Hyaluronic acid (100-200mg a day) – this under-appreciated complex sugar molecule contributes to detoxification and provides building blocks for healing soothing and growth and repair of connective tissue.
#4 Sulfur (MSM1000-3000mg a day) provides key support structure element for connective tissue. As nutritional content and consumption of sulfur veggies (onions, garlic, shallots, broccoli, cauliflower) containing declined rates of osteoporosis increased.
#5 Creatine Monohydrate (1 teaspoonful 3 or 4 times week, after workouts) – tripeptide (3 amino acids) that support blast energy and structure of bone and connective tissue.
#6 Gelatin (1 teaspoonful to 1 tablespoonful in 8 oz. of water once a day- source of connective tissue building amino acids. Soothes digestive tract inflammation for improved absorption of nutrients.
#7 Eat protein (at least ½ gram per day per pound of body weight)– connective tissue is made up mostly of protein. Eating enough protein assures a constant supply of these amino acids. Look for sulfur containing protein (meat seafood, whey, egg). Dairy and egg protein also supply growth factors which can stimulate the production of a thick robust CT.
#8 Bone soup –this delicious traditional food is a spectacular immune booster (Jewish penicillin) and it’s glycine and protein co0ntent are substantial easy to absorb. Eat liberally, look for the recipe on pharmacistben.com.
#9 Practice deep breathing techniques – Healthy oxygenation slows down secretion of bone busting cortisol and improves energy production. Lung muscles also propel lymphatic fluid promoting detoxification.
#10 Exercise – acute physical stress and weight bearing pressure stimulate blast cells production.
#11 Stay away from pro-inflammatory foods –This includes processed foods and refined sugar but food allergens including beans and veggies can all have anti bone building effects too. Inflammation promotes degeneration and slows down anabolic (building) activity of blast cells.
#12 Correct digestive health issues – minerals like calcium, magnesium and zinc and protein all key players is connective tissue health require healthy digestive functioning. Taking bile salts, digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar with meals can improve absorption of connective tissue building nutrients.
Raisin bread is a bread that contains raisins. Its invention has been attributed to Henry David Thoreau. It is often classified as a sweet bread and is sometimes combined with cinnamon sugar. Served toasted or as a dessert, the bread is commonly found in the United States, Northern Europe, Germany and Australia. [Read more: From Wikipedia]