Among the things that I pay more attention to than I ought is a vast swath of preliminary research (and guesses based on preliminary research) about how large physical things (like diet and exercise) work at the scale of cellular biology.
To work though an example:
- It seems likely that eating soup, or just drinking good, gelatinous bone broth, will provide your body with the amino acids that it needs to build connective tissue: tendons, ligaments, cartilage, as well as skin and hair.
- Actual growth of those tissues is mediated in various ways. It seems virtually certain that mechanical transduction is involved—just pulling on tendons and ligaments, as well as pounding on cartilage—spurs them to get stronger and thicker. But it seems likely that it’s mediated by chemical signals as well. There’s pretty good evidence that Human Growth Hormone signals all these tissues to grow, provided all the building blocks are available.
- Even if (like me) you’re quite leery of exogenous supplements of Human Growth Hormone, you can nevertheless raise your circulating levels in various ways, such as by getting a good night’s sleep. In particular, exercise will do it, both resistance exercise and aerobic exercise. In fact (I have heard) a hard leg workout will raise your circulating HGH level temporarily higher than the level produced by a typical dose of supplementary HGH.
This suggests a simple protocol, good for your tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, but also good for skin and hair:
- Drink some bone broth. (Make sure you have some vitamin C as well. Doesn’t have to be extra; an ordinary amount is fine.)
- After 30 minutes or so, do some stretching exercises and some light lifting. (Your tendons, ligaments, and cartilage tend to have poor circulation. The mechanical action of pushing and pulling them produces the fluid exchange necessary to get the amino acids into them.)
- Do a heavy resistance workout, focusing on your largest muscles. Squats are the obvious choice.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
This is why my thighs are really sore this morning.