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Connective tissue weakness: causes, symptoms and consequences

When it comes to weak connective tissue, many people think of unloved cellulite, dimples or sagging skin. However, weak connective tissue is not only associated with supposed visual blemishes, but can also cause serious medical problems. Weak connective tissue is considered a typical female condition, but more and more men are also affected.

Table of contents
  • Connective tissue: structure and functions
  • What is connective tissue weakness
  • ? Marfan syndrome: genetic weakness of the connective tissue
  • Connective tissue weakness affects women and men
  • How to recognize weak connective tissue
  • What promotes connective tissue weakness
  • What damages connective tissue
  • What helps against connective tissue weakness?
  • What to take for connective tissue weakness?

Connective tissue: structure and functions

The term connective tissue refers to various types of tissue that perform protective and supportive tasks in our body. Connective tissue runs through the entire body and surrounds muscles, nerves, organs and blood vessels. Collagen and elastic fibers are involved in the structure of connective tissue. The latter consist mainly of the protein elastin. Our lung tissue, blood vessels and ligaments have a high proportion of elastic fibers. Collagen fibers, on the other hand, are inelastic and rigid. They form different types of the structural protein collagen, which is found in the skin, bones and teeth as well as cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

Lysine - building block for collagen

The most important building blocks for collagen synthesis are lysine and vitamin C. Lysine is an essential amino acid that must be supplied to the body through food. Our L-lysine capsules contain 2200 mg L-lysine per daily portion and can provide support for weak connective tissue.

What is connective tissue weakness? With increasing age, less and less collagen is produced and the connective tissue loses stability. Factors such as UV radiation, hormonal changes, stress, alcohol and nicotine consumption or an unhealthy diet promote this natural ageing process. However, a reduced number of collagen fibers in the connective tissue can also be genetic. The consequences of weakened connective tissue first become visible on the overlying skin. Cellulite, dents or stretch marks appear. A weakening of the connective tissue can also lead to varicose veins, vasodilation of the face (rosacea) and haemorrhoids. If the supporting and stabilizing function of the connective tissue is restricted, this can also have an effect on the internal organs. In the worst case, this can lead to an inguinal or umbilical hernia (a so-called hernia) or a prolapse of the uterus.

Strong connective tissue is also important for athletes. Fascia in particular plays a crucial role here, as it protects muscles, ligaments and tendons from injury, among other things.

Marfan syndrome: genetic weakness of the connective tissue

One example of the extreme consequences of impaired connective tissue is Marfan syndrome. In this rare hereditary disease, the connective tissue does not develop normally. As a result, those affected have to struggle with numerous complications - bones, joints, eyes, heart and lungs are restricted in their function. The most life-threatening complications are damage to the heart and blood vessels. If the first signs of weak connective tissue such as dents and varicose veins as well as functional disorders of the internal organs (e.g. cardiac arrhythmia, shortness of breath, problems with the eyes) appear early on, this may indicate Marfan syndrome. Around 1-2 in 10,000 people are affected by the disease.

Marfan syndrome can affect anyone

Marfan syndrome is a hereditary disease. However, in every fourth person affected, the disease is not inherited from the parents, but the genetic information changes randomly. Marfan syndrome can therefore also occur in families that do not have a corresponding predisposition.

Weak connective tissue affects women and men

Women are more frequently affected by weak connective tissue than men. This is mainly due to the parallel arrangement of connective tissue fibers. This enables great flexibility, which is particularly important during pregnancy. A major disadvantage is that the underlying fat cells can push through between the fibers and become visible as dents on the surface. In men, on the other hand, the collagen and elastin fibers are cross-linked, resulting in greater stability. However, men can also develop connective tissue weakness due to genetic predisposition and an unfavorable lifestyle.

How can you recognize weak connective tissue?

  • Tendency to develop bruises
  • Stretch marks, spider veins, varicose veins, cellulite
  • Vascular dilatation of the face (couperose, rosacea)
  • Uterine prolapse, inguinal or umbilical hernia
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Herniated disc

What promotes connective tissue weakness?

Connective tissue weakness can have various causes. You can actively influence some of them to strengthen your connective tissue. For example, an unhealthy diet, obesity, alcohol and nicotine consumption promote connective tissue weakness. Deposits form in the blood vessels and the connective tissue is less well supplied. Acidification of the body is also associated with weak connective tissue. If you consume too much acid-forming foods (especially animal products such as meat and milk) in your diet, these can no longer be sufficiently neutralized by the body and accumulate in the connective tissue.

What damages connective tissue?


  • Natural ageing process
  • Medication (e.g. cortisol)
  • Being overweight
  • Diseases (e.g. Marfan syndrome)
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Nicotine and alcohol consumption
  • Stress and lack of sleep

What helps against connective tissue weakness

Drink enough

Connective tissue consists largely of water. In order to maintain its functionality, it must therefore be supplied with sufficient fluids. At least 1.5-2 liters of water or unsweetened tea per day is therefore a must.

A balanced diet

A plant-based diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholegrain products is ideal for connective tissue. Processed foods and ready-made products with lots of salt and sugar should be avoided. Meat, sausage and dairy products are also not suitable as they are acid-forming foods.

Sport

Sport increases blood circulation and thus improves the transport of nutrients and oxygen to the tissues. 30 minutes of exercise (e.g. swimming, cycling, walking) per day is ideal for combating weak connective tissue.

Fascia training

Regular fascia training or stretching (e.g. also in the form of yoga) helps to keep the connective tissue elastic and resilient.

Sufficient sleep and relaxation

Numerous regeneration processes take place in the body during the night. Growth hormones are released, which also stimulate collagen synthesis. It is therefore important to make sure you get enough sleep and relaxation. Excessive stress levels lead to a permanent release of the stress hormone cortisol. This promotes the breakdown of collagen and can therefore damage our connective tissue.

Massages

Massages are also very good for strengthening connective tissue. Here too, blood circulation is improved and the overlying skin is tightened. Brush massages, which are performed in circular movements over the body, are well suited.

What to take for connective tissue weakness

As already mentioned, the right diet can help to strengthen connective tissue. The essential amino acid lysine is important for the formation and cross-linking of collagen fibers. An adequate intake of lysine through diet or vegan supplements (such as Nutri-Plus Lysine capsules) can help to strengthen weak connective tissue. In addition, an alkaline diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables should be preferred. This also provides the body with sufficient vitamin C, which also plays an important role in collagen synthesis. Our alkaline powder can also support the acid-alkaline balance.


Sources: Medical Center for Quality in Medicine (ÄZQ) Patient information Marfan syndrome - What is it? Retrieved on 7.10.2021