Elastin is extracellular matrix protein, which represents an integral component of human connective tissue found in the epidermis, walls of the blood vessels, interarticular joints, cartilage, ligaments, muscle fascia and sheath of the internal organs. |Elastin along with other proteins such as collagen forms a 3D-network of protein fibers ensuring sufficient strength of the tissues.
This thread-like protein has the rubbery alike properties and provides elasticity and extensibility helping the body to gain original condition in case of skin being pinched, human inhaling or exhaling air or emptying the bladder etc. Sufficient amount of elastin in the human body is important for maintaining proper functioning of the cardiovascular system, blood vessels, internal organs which are systematically subjected to compression and tension such as a heart, lungs, bladder, skin, tendons, and sphincters.
Total amount of elastin and collagen in human body reaches 35% from total amount of proteins, which are required to ensure the following things:
- turgor, elasticity, firmness and contours of the face and body;
- joint mobility;
- ligament strength.
Elastin is produced by human body, but its production decreases with time. This necessitates regular replenishment of the elastin deposits to prevent the age-related health problems. Additional amount of elastin is needed at the young age especially if one is exercising on a regular basis.
Outcomes of Elastin Deficiency
Granted continuous elastin deficiency in human body, different functional disorders may occur as follows:
- increased fragility of bones;
- shortening and deformity of limbs;
- joint stiffness;
- dental anomalies;
- progressive myopia;
- osteoarthritis alike joint disorders;
- spontaneous rupture of the large vessels;
- severe kidney damage;
- systematic violations of the epidermis integrity, high injury rate of the dermis.
Serious diseases associated with inadequate levels of elastin and collagen include osteogenesis imperfecta, Knista illness, Stickler’s syndrome and Wagner’s disease, EDS, Alport syndrome, Goodpasture’s syndrome, epidermolysis bullosa.
What’s Causing Low Elastin?
This protein is synthesized by the human body. Natural causes for lowering its amount are aging and destruction during intense physical activity. Other reasons include unbalanced diet, alcohol abuse and smoking, dehydration, gastrointestinal diseases, stress, intense UV-exposure and hormonal changes.
Elastin synthesis is directly linked to the level of sex hormones such as testosterone in men and estrogen in women. It is especially true in menopausal women, who experience sharp drop in estrogen levels in the early menopausal years. The latter results in reduction of elastin’s and collagen’s synthesis by 30%. This relationship determines the need for hormone replacement therapy in menopausal women to preserve skin elasticity and maintain proper functioning of the cartilage, muscles, ligaments, tendons and whole musculoskeletal system.
Elastin and Its Sources: Everyday Meal Planning
There are only two ways to replenish collagen and elastin reserves:
- Synthesis in the human body;
- Obtaining these substances from external sources by means of consuming the certain foods and BAAs.
Synthesized amounts of a collagen and elastin are not always sufficient to restore and maintain the physical shape and stay fit after regular and intensive workouts. In this case, the athletes and those, who simply care of their health should stick with certain nutrition and sports foods. Thus, it is necessary to consider that proper absorption and digestion of protein supplied with foods requires consumption of a range of certain micro elements and minerals that ensure synthesis of elastin and collagen. They are as follows:
- Vitamins: А, Е, С, F, D (fish oil, fish liver, animal liver, eggs, seawater fish and milk products as well as citrus fruits, nuts, vegetable/olive/corn oils, fruits and berries, green vegetables contain these vitamins);
- Minerals: Fe, Si, Cu, S, Zn (animal liver and kidneys, seafood, lean meat, milk products, bran, nuts, beans, eggs, grains, wholegrain pasta, some fruits, berries and vegetables contain these vitamins);
- Lutein and anthocyans (pumpkin, spinach, egg yolks, carrots, persimmons, beans, black rice, hot pepper, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries and green tea contain these substances).
Complementary therapy is recommended not for the athletes only. Body’s production of collagen and elastin starts to decline steadily once the one turns 30 to 40 years old, therefore the nutrition plan should be adjusted accordingly and corresponding supplements should be incorporated to the diet for all people. To achieve the maximum therapeutic and prophylactic effect, it is recommended to take drugs containing collagen and elastin along with glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and calcium in bioavailable form as well as vitamin D, and corresponding vitamin and mineral complex in general.
Duration of such a therapy and certain features of a diet or drugs consumption should be adjusted individually. The general rule is systematic prevention. Supplementation is not a panacea for the musculoskeletal system related issues. Thus, corresponding approach to workout process in the presence of certain injuries and contraindications should be followed with caution.