Chances are, you probably don't think about cartilage very often. It's not exactly the most exciting topic, after all. However, this humble tissue plays a vital role in your body—and there are some pretty interesting facts about it that you may not be aware of.
Here are three of the most surprising.
Cartilage Is Found In Some Pretty Unusual Places
You might not realize it, but cartilage is actually present in quite a few places outside of your joints.
For example, did you know that your esophagus and trachea are both lined with cartilage? This tough tissue helps to protect these delicate organs and keeps them from collapsing.
Cartilage is also found in your nose and ears—in fact, it's what gives your nose its shape!
Cartilage Has Important Work To Do
As we mentioned before, cartilage is responsible for protecting our delicate organs and keeping them functioning properly.
But that's not all this super tissue can do. Cartilage is made up of several components, including proteins, water, and chondrocytes.
Chondrocytes are responsible for producing a type of protein called collagen which helps to provide strength and support.
Collagen also helps cartilage remain flexible so that bones can move without damage.
Not only that… Cartilage also contains glycosaminoglycans which act like sponges, helping to retain moisture within the tissue. This helps to keep our joints lubricated and reduce friction when we move them.
In short, we wouldn't be able to live without it!
Cartilage Can Regenerate Itself—Up To a Point
If you've ever broken a bone or damaged a joint, you know that your body has an amazing ability to heal itself.
What you might not realize is that cartilage can do the same thing—up to a certain point.
When cartilage is healthy… It has the ability to repair minor damage and regenerate itself. However, if the damage is too severe, it might not be able to recover completely.
This is why it's so important to take care of your joints and avoid injury!
Cartilage might not be the most exciting topic in the world—but it's definitely one of the most important!
This humble tissue plays a vital role in our bodies, supporting our bones, protecting our organs, and helping us move smoothly.
Next time you think about cartilage, remember these three fascinating facts!