San Diego Center for Health


Nutrition for Soft Tissue Recovery



The body is a nutrient driven machine, continuously breaking down and rebuilding tissue on a daily basis. This happens in both a state of injury and non-injury. During a state of injury, healing tissue requires an increased number of macro and micronutrients. This enables the body to maintain a positive state of repair, which is needed to create a positive internal environment needed for recovery. A positive environment for recovery requires: vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D, E and K, as well as several minerals.   It is not widely known that minerals, or micronutrients, are an important component of tissue healing. They include, but are not limited to: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Selenium, Manganese and Copper (in small doses).

Particular vitamins and minerals will chemically assist in enhancing the healing of an injury, while their deficiency will hinder it. Vitamin A, when deficient, will negatively impact the state of healing by impairing the physiological process to repair damaged tissue.  In general, the B vitamins will stimulate neuroligic tissue responses required for reeducating muscles and movement patterns during rehabilitation. Many B vitamins are also involved in metabolizing other vitamins and minerals needed to assist in the repair phases.  Additionally, most B vitamins are used for energy production and metabolism of macronutrients. (Protein, Carbs and Fats).

Vitamin C is a major contributor to tissue healing, as it is involved in the formation of collagen, elastin, and neurotransmitters.  As previously mentioned regarding vitamin A, vitamin C deficiency will also slow the tissue maturation, delaying healing. In instances where soft tissue healing isn’t the only concern to rapid recovery, vitamin D works to increase absorption of nutrients and co-factors needed for general bone health. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which protects neurologically stable tissues, delaying fatigue and muscle weakness. Lastly, vitamin K controls bleeding and initiates proteins required for bone and muscle health.

While micronutrients are important, tissue healing requires a great amount of macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fats, particularly proteins, to aide in the rebuilding of damaged tissues. These macronutrients require micronutrients and their co-products to chemically enable tissue to break down and rebuild rapidly. In most aspects of recovery, it is important to not only include these nutrients in supplementation form, but also consume them via natural food products such as meats, fruits and vegetables to promote recovery.

Food Sources and Supplementation

Natural Food and Supplementation sources should both be used in conjunction; complementing one another and aiding in the nutritional recovering of injured tissue.  Many natural food sources contain a multitude of nutrients, overlapping in micro and macronutrients. I have provided a list of valuable foods encompassing many of the nutrients needed to facilitate healing.

Protein: Great Protein Sources include: Grass feed beef or bison, fish, chicken, turkey, and natural yogurts. Traditional beef and pork are good sources, but tend to be higher in fat and should be used in moderation. Protein powders are recommended primarily for vegetarians as a good source of protein; however they are beneficial for most individuals, even those who consume animal sources.   Athletes are encouraged to take protein supplements containing glutamine – a protein regulating amino acid used to stimulate growth hormone release in athletes with increased levels of stress, injury or training.

Carbs: “Good Carbs”, those with high fiber content and a low glycemic index include: Fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Other carbohydrates include simple sugars and starches with a low glycemic index, such as potatoes.

Fats: “Good Fats”, essential fatty acids include: fats from flax seed, black currant, walnuts, almonds, avocados, coconut oil, and dark green leafy vegetables. Natural Omega 3 sources include: salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines. 

Natural foods encompassing much of the needed macro and micronutrient levels to promote a speedy recovery include, but are not limited to:

Nutritional Food Sources







red peppers






variety of nuts


dark green veggies





egg yolks











peanut butter

sunflower seeds



Tissue Recovery Recommendations

Protein supplementation is an important component in increasing protein levels while keeping a positive nitrogen balance. A positive nitrogen balance enables collagen formation to continue and accelerates connective tissue repair. Recommendations for optimal healing using natural foods and/or supplements should consist of:

-       Consuming extra water throughout the day; consume three big glasses spread over the morning noon and night on top of your normal water regimen. Dehydration of injured tissues can delay recovery.

-       Get more protein than your normal protein consumption in natural or supplementation forms. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is bodyweight (BW) (lbs) multiplied by .364 g daily. For injuries and tissue healing BW x 0.5g, Surgical situations BW x 0.7g, muscle building BW x 0.8g.

-       Get extra Vitamin C: Take your BW x 10 = mg of Vitamin C needed to activate enzymes in the repair of connective tissue. This amount should be tapered off over a period of days and consumption should be that of a standard multi-vitamin.

-       During this time frame it is important to maintain a healthy diet, limiting fatty fast food and food without nutrient value.

2667 Camino del Rio S. Suite 112B   

San Diego, CA 92108     

(619) 299-1200