Weak connective tissue: the most important questions and answers

Schwaches Bindegewebe: Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten

When we hear about connective tissue, we immediately think of the most visible and common problems like cellulite orange peel or stretch marks. However, connective tissue means much more. There are actually different types of connective tissue, each with its own specific function and in every part of the body, from the superficial to the deepest.

A weak connective tissue therefore not only leads to a loss of elasticity of the visible tissue, but can also become a risk factor for the internal organs and even for the bones. Age, gender, internal or external factors can weaken the connective tissue. It is important to know if there is a risk of weakening of the connective tissue, the causes and remedies to strengthen it. We will address any doubts together in the following paragraphs.

the essentials in brief

  • The connective tissue has different functions for the skin, for the internal organs, for the cardiovascular system and for the nutrient reserve.(1) A weak connective tissue leads to more or less serious consequences depending on the type of connective tissue and the body part affected.
  • There are many causes that weaken connective tissue, such as: B. hormonal factors or a wrong lifestyle. Everyone can notice a weakness in the connective tissue depending on their phase of life or gender.
  • There are several ways to strengthen weak connective tissue. For this it is necessary to know the minerals and vitamins that are necessary for healthy connective tissue. A great help is physical activity, which can be accompanied by massage.

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Weak connective tissue: What you should know

Connective tissue is one of the most widespread tissues in the body. It performs important functions, including the body's anatomical unit and immune defense.

The best-known tasks of the connective tissue also include water protection and its aesthetic role.

The connective tissue actually fills the cavities and protuberances of the body.(1) When it becomes weak, it can have visual effects on the body and become dangerous depending on the type of connective tissue involved.

What types of connective tissue are there?

The term connective tissue includes different types of tissue, which have a different structure depending on their function. The connective tissue fulfills a support, connection and filling function. The actual connective tissues are two:

  1. Tight connective tissue , rich in robust collagen fibers , mainly made up of strong type 1 collagen . The parallel-fibered connective tissue connects muscles and skeleton (tendons, ligaments) and guarantees tensile strength. The woven connective tissue is found in parts of the body that are subject to mechanical stress, such as the deep dermis, heart, and kidneys. Elastic connective tissue covers the arteries, lung tissue, and organs that undergo volume changes (including the trachea and vocal cords).
  2. Loose connective tissue , a soft tissue rich in cells and poor in fibers. It envelops all organs and muscles. Cells draw nutrients and water from this tissue and pour metabolic waste into it. Through reticular fibers, it forms the supporting structure of organs such as the spleen, liver and lymph nodes.

There are also specialized connective tissues, such as: adipose tissue , which has thermal insulation and energy reserve functions, bone tissue , which supports the body and protects organs (such as the skull and thorax), and fluid connective tissue , such as blood and lymph. Another essential connective tissue is cartilage , which can withstand considerable elastic deformation. Here, type 2 collagen forms a fibrillar network that gives the tissue viscoelasticity.

What is weak connective tissue?

We speak of weak connective tissue when the connective tissue can no longer fulfill its function as a support and protective apparatus, as a means of transporting fluids and energy reserves, or when it loses its elasticity.

The weak connective tissue no longer reacts adequately to inflammatory conditions. In fact, the most important inflammatory processes take place in the connective tissue. Inflammation maintains the integrity and psychophysical balance of the organism.(2)

What parts of the body can have weak connective tissue and how does it affect?

Connective tissue makes up 16% of body weight and contains 23% of water. From a functional point of view, we can define it as a body system designed to support the body and keep it in balance. Connective tissue weakness can also be visible from the outside and affects the whole body, such as:

  • Skin , the skin of the body and face loses elasticity, stretch marks and wrinkles appear. The most affected parts are: eyelid, neck, chest, upper arms, lower abdomen and abdomen, thighs, but also back, calves and feet.
  • Blood vessels , when the connective tissue of blood vessels is weak, they enlarge and varicose veins appear. If it loses its elasticity, it can promote arteriosclerosis.
  • Mucous membranes , the weak connective tissue can also affect the gums and intimate areas, leading to hemorrhoids or a perineal tear.
  • Pelvic floor , weak connective tissue can cause incontinence.
  • Internal organs , when the connective tissue of the internal organs loses its strength, it can lead to organ failure (e.g. uterine prolapse).
  • Musculoskeletal system , the thickest connective tissue structures are in the joints and in the thorax. The joints must be held and guided. The thorax is the central point for transmitting power to the arms and legs and contains many important organs.(3) Weakness in the connective tissues in tendons, joints and the spine can cause serious postural and bone problems.
  • Legs/hips , they can be affected by cellulite and lipoedema. Cellulite is a change in the structures of connective tissue, often favored by the deposition of acidic waste and the accumulation of toxins. One of the factors that cause cellulite is water retention . Cellulite manifests itself on the surface with a spongy and pitted appearance of the skin, like that of an orange peel. Lipoedema, on the other hand, is a chronically painful disease of the connective tissue in which the distribution and volume of the fatty tissue are disturbed.

Hectic lifestyle?
No problem!


With our Sundt iron capsules + vitamin C you can:

  • keep your energy levels high on the most stressful days🏃
  • be sure you are getting enough iron🌿

Our vegan iron capsules are now available with a 21% discount *


Sunt Icon

*The discount is automatically applied to the product

Who can be affected by weak connective tissue?

Anyone can be affected by weakened connective tissue. There are differences by age and gender. Women are more often affected by weak connective tissue than men due to hormonal differences. Men are particularly affected by the tendency to hernias. The degeneration of the connective tissue of the abdominal muscles can e.g. B. cause a hernia, typically in men.

pregnant woman has both hands on her belly

The female connective tissue fibers are perpendicular to the muscles. This makes the muscles more flexible and is crucial during pregnancy. (Image source: freestocks.org / Pexels)

Children can be affected by various hereditary diseases that weaken the connective tissue or form an unusual connective tissue, such as: B. the Ehlers-Danlos and Marfan syndromes.(4) Puberty weakens and stresses the connective tissue of teenagers with its hormonal spikes and sudden growth spurts. Weak connective tissue is typical of old age and can lead to various pathologies. In fact, as the body ages , it produces less and less collagen .

What causes weak connective tissue?

There are many reasons for the weakening of the connective tissue. It is important to know if there is a risk of developing weak connective tissue. Let's find out the root causes together.

  • Changes , strong weight fluctuations, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation and rapid growth during development stretch and loosen the connective tissue fibers.
  • Hormones , the ebbs and flows of hormones before and during periods, pregnancy and menopause affect connective tissue.
  • Medications , synthetic female sex hormones, such as taking estrogen through the pill, inhibit collagen synthesis in tendons, bones and muscle connective tissue.(5) Certain medications such as cortisone or various painkillers can also weaken the connective tissue.(6)
  • Genetics , genetic disorders of connective tissue can cause changes in connective tissue comparable to that of aging.(7)
  • Deficiency , insufficient intake of alkalizing nutrients (e.g. fruit and raw vegetables) and subsequent vitamin or iron deficiency weaken the connective tissue.
  • Diseases , the remodeling of the connective tissue is an essential process in tissue regeneration, in which a balanced replacement of the old tissue with new tissue takes place. This balance is disrupted in chronic diseases, often autoimmune diseases.(8)
  • Operations , operations affect the connective tissue in the fascia, under the dermis. The scars can lead to postural problems, particularly in the case of upper body operations such as a caesarean section or breast surgery such as a mastectomy.
  • Lifestyle , lack of exercise, insufficient fluid intake, smoking , alcohol, excess of carbonated drinks, but also psychosomatic factors such as psycho-physical stress and insufficient sleep duration lead the body to acidosis and accumulate waste in the connective tissue. When water and acid-base balance fails, we speak of an electrolyte imbalance in the body.

Which active ingredients strengthen weak connective tissue?

The active ingredients that keep the connective tissue in balance are diverse. Minerals, vitamins, proteins and amino acids act on the connective tissue in its various stages of construction and regeneration. Let's find out together the most important active ingredients that contribute to the well-being of the connective tissue.

active ingredient function Description
calcium bone stability The body of an adult contains 1 kg of calcium, 99% is in the bones. It also transmits signals to the cells, to the nervous system (e.g. hearing, sight, touch) and to the muscles
iron connective tissue production It is involved in the activity of many enzymes and in the production of hormones
silica / silicon Synthesis of collagen and elastin Silicon is important for the health of connective tissues such as bones, cartilage, tendons and joints and for regulating the permeability of connective tissue and skin
collagen Holding organs and tissues together Collagen is a structural protein found in cartilage, bone and all connective tissues
lysine collagen synthesis This essential amino acid, important for skin and tissue health, is obtained from food because the body cannot synthesize it on its own
magnesium protein synthesis About 50% of the body's total magnesium is stored in the bones, while the rest is found in the cells of tissues and organs
manganese formation of connective tissue It regenerates ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bones
vitamin C Main component of connective tissue The lack of vitamin C manifests itself immediately on the skin, as the lack leads to a limited production of collagen
zinc formation of collagen Symptoms of zinc deficiency also include skin changes and slow wound healing

What strengthens the connective tissue?

In addition to knowing the essential vitamins and minerals, it is important to know that you can do more for your connective tissue. Here are some tips for strong connective tissue:

  • Nutrition
  • drinking water
  • Sports
  • massage
  • contrast showers
  • Face Care Routine / Anti Cellulite Creams

Nutrition

You can strengthen your connective tissue thanks to a diet rich in minerals, vitamins and proteins that contribute to its proper functioning and the formation of collagen.

Below are the foods to include in daily meals.

  • Eggs : they are a good source of collagen and lysine.
  • Fish : Salmon, herring and mackerel not only provide high-quality proteins, but are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Sole also contains silicon.
  • Other foods that contain omega 3 : seaweed, flaxseed , nuts, and some grains like wheat germ are powerful anti-inflammatory.
  • Millet and oats : they contain a lot of silicon, which is important for elastic and firm connective tissue.
  • Vegetables : with detoxifying effects, such as fennel, endive, celery and dandelion to facilitate the elimination of excess fluids.
  • Fruits : to replenish vitamin C , such as oranges, lemons, strawberries , kiwis.
  • Legumes : Chickpeas, beans and lentils are rich in magnesium , vitamin C and silicon useful for collagen production.
  • Flesh : little and of good quality.

Also pay special attention to the following foods that should be reduced.

  • Sugar : excessive consumption of refined sugar contributes to the development of chronic inflammatory processes.
  • Salt : Sodium is the enemy of connective tissues as it provokes swelling. Limit added salt in chips and snacks, as well as in rich foods like aged cheeses, cured meats, and pickles.
  • Alcohol : should be restricted due to its inflammatory effects.

Sports

The lack of mechanical tissue loading due to inactivity or immobility of the body results in a loss of connective tissue content and a 30-40% less tolerable loading within a few weeks.

This shows how important regular physical activity is to maintain the stabilizing role of the connective tissue for the overall function of the musculoskeletal system.(9)

However, to reduce weak tissue, it is better to swim or cycle than to jog on hard ground, as this can cause connective tissue to lose elasticity.

massage

The connective tissue massage is a manual reflex therapy. By manipulating the fascial layers within and under the skin, cutaneous-visceral reflexes are stimulated. The treatment has a reflex effect on the autonomic nervous system.(10) This massage can only be effective if performed by professional masseurs and physiotherapists.

Woman gets connective tissue massage on her back

Connective tissue massage includes various manipulation techniques that work at different depths: skin, fascia and detachment maneuvers. (Image Source: Milius007 / Pixabay)

contrast shower

In order to strengthen the connective tissue, blood circulation must be increased so that the already scarce nutrient supply can be optimized and excess lymph fluid can be removed. You can alternate between treating the affected area with hot and cold water for 20 to 30 seconds at a time, for four to five repetitions.

Conclusion

We have now seen how extensive connective tissue is and how important it is to keep it strong. Unfortunately, it's not always easy. In fact, there are phases of life and more or less controllable internal and external factors that lead to a weakening of our connective tissue.

Weak connective tissue can have various effects, for example it can slow down the metabolism, leading to weight gain and lack of energy. Psycho-physical stress and a wrong lifestyle can lead to acidification of the body, which is immediately reflected in a weakening of the connective tissue. Age and hormonal changes often lead to degeneration of connective tissue. However, we should not feel helpless with this, we have now discovered together how many ways we have to strengthen our connective tissue.

itemizations

  1. Kapandji AI. Le systĂšme conjonctif, grand unificateur de l'organisme [Connective tissue: big unifying element of the organism]. Ann Chir Plast Esthet. 2012 Oct;57(5):507-14. French. doi: 10.1016/j.anplas.2012.07.007. Epub 2012 Aug 9. PMID: 22884219. Source
  2. Jakab L. KötƑszövet Ă©s inflammatio [Connective tissue and inflammation]. Orv Hetil. 2014 Mar 23;155(12):453-60. Hungarian. doi: 10.1556/OH.2014.29848. PMID: 24631933. Source
  3. Stark, Heiko & Fichtner, Maximilian & Fischer, Martin. (2018). The distribution of connective tissue in humans. Source
  4. Frank Pessler, MD, PhD, Hanover, Germany. Overview of connective tissue diseases in children. Last full review/revised May 2019| Content last modified Jun 2019 Source
  5. Hansen M, Miller BF, Holm L, Doessing S, Petersen SG, Skovgaard D, Frystyk J, Flyvbjerg A, Koskinen S, Pingel J, Kjaer M, Langberg H. Effect of administration of oral contraceptives in vivo on collagen synthesis in tendon and muscle connective tissue in young women. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009 Apr;106(4):1435-43. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.90933.2008. Epub 2008 Oct 9. PMID: 18845777. Source
  6. Carroll CC. Analgesic Drugs Alter Connective Tissue Remodeling and Mechanical Properties. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2016 Jan;44(1):29-36. doi: 10.1249/JES.00000000000000067. PMID: 26509485; PMCID: PMC4684428. Source
  7. Sarbacher CA, Halper JT. Connective Tissue and Age-Related Diseases. Subcell Biochem. 2019;91:281-310. doi: 10.1007/978-981-13-3681-2_11. PMID: 30888657. Source
  8. Karsdal MA, Kraus VB, Shevell D, Bay-Jensen AC, Schattenberg J, Rambabu Surabattula R, Schuppan D. Profiling and targeting connective tissue remodeling in autoimmunity - A novel paradigm for diagnosing and treating chronic diseases. Autoimmune Rev. 2021 Jan;20(1):102706. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2020.102706. Epub 2020 Nov 12. PMID: 33188918. Source
  9. Kjaer M, JĂžrgensen NR, Heinemeier K, Magnusson SP. Exercise and Regulation of Bone and Collagen Tissue Biology. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2015;135:259-91. doi: 10.1016/bs.pmbts.2015.07.008. Epub 2015 Aug 17. PMID: 26477918. Source
  10. Holey LA, Dixon J. Connective tissue manipulation: a review of theory and clinical evidence. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014 Jan;18(1):112-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.08.003. Epub 2013 Sep 8. PMID: 24411158. Source
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