The Best Core Exercises to Protect You from Injury

Stepping into the gym, most people are focused on growing their biceps, increasing their bench press, or taking countless selfies by the mirror. While each of these has their place in the gym, except the selfie nonsense that is, there’s a glaring omission from most athletes’ training regimen — core training.

Ask the typical gym goer if they’re training their core, and you’ll almost always get the same reply — they do a few sets of sit-ups or crunches at the end of their workouts 3-4 times per week. Here’s the dirty little secret though…

Endless bouts of crunches and sit-ups aren’t the solution to building a rock-solid core, but they are the way to a really achy and sore low back. The way to a stable, strong, and ironclad core are ones that strengthen the entire girdle of muscles enveloping your midsection, not just your abdominals. Proper core training increase balance, stability, and performance in just about everything else you do in life!

More than just Abs

When people think about training their core, they almost always focus on crunches and sit-ups. What they fail to realize, aside from the fact that these exercises are far from the most effective ab exercises, is that the core is made up of much, much more than just your 6 pack. In fact, the core is best described as a complex (lumbopelvic-hip complex, to be precise) of multiple muscles including [1]:

  • Diaphragm (superior)
  • Abdominal and oblique muscles (anterior-lateral)
  • Paraspinal and gluteal muscles (posterior)
  • Pelvic floor and hip girdle (inferior).

As you can see, the core isn’t just your abs on the front of your body. It’s actually a three-dimensional “corset” of muscles that stabilize the trunk and spine. Core stability is a foundational component of everyday movement. Lack of core stability makes daily tasks like picking up the groceries difficult and athletic activities (i.e. squatting) virtually impossible. Improving core stability enhances your power, efficiency, and control in just every other sports skill imaginable.

The trick is to avoid these common core training errors.

Core Training Mistakes

  • Too Many Exercises

    Sure, the idea of performing 5, 10, or 15 exercises for your core might sound like a great workout. You’ll certainly work up a sweat and “feel” like you’ve had an effective workout, but a more appropriate approach would be to select 2-3 exercises at most.

    Focusing on only a few movements allows you to better judge how well your core is performing at certain functions. You’ll have a better picture of where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and what areas need some work.

  • Waiting Until the End

    Most trainees tend to think of ab/core training as the “finisher” to a tough workout. The truth is, your core is extremely fatigued by the end of your workout from supporting and stabilizing your body during each movement of your workout.

    A smarter approach would be to perform one or two core exercises during your warm up prior to hitting the weights. Performing core training prior to lifting helps activate the core and ensures it’s ready for the heavy lifting to follow. This way, your body is primed and ready for when you go for those heavy squats and deadlifts, and you’ll reduce your risk of injury

  • Not Progressing

    Just like curls, squats, and presses, the intensity of core training must be gradually increased in order to keep progressing. The same rules apply to core training as they do your standard lifts. To make things more difficult and challenging, increase the number of reps, sets, or load for the exercise. You can also employ more difficult variations of the exercise if you’ve gotten out everything from the current variation you’re using.

    In line with this, don’t be afraid to change up your core training routine from time to time. You prioritize your weight training routine (or you should be), and core training is no different!

5 Crushing Core Exercises

Planks

  • Get into a low plank position with your elbows directly under your shoulders, back flat with eyes looking at the ground
  • Brace your core by pulling navel towards your spine and hold for time
Perform 3-4 sets holding the plank for 60-120 seconds

Note: Plank can be progressed to a high plank where you assume a push-up position and hold for the specified time.

Superman

  • Lie prone (face-down) on the floor or mat
  • Simultaneously elevate your arms and upper back above your head as well as your legs (stomach remains in contact with the ground)
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds
  • Lower under control to the starting position
  • Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions
Perform 2-3 sets of 10 reps

Bird Dog

  • Position yourself on your hands and knees with your hands underneath your shoulders and knees below your hips
  • Simultaneously, extend your left hand forward in front of your head while extending your right leg behind you and tightening your abdominal muscles
  • Hold for 10-20 seconds
  • Return to quadruped starting position
  • Now, extending your left leg back while raising your right hand off the mat and extending your arm forward past your head
  • Hold for 10-20 seconds
  • Repeat for prescribed number of reps
Perform 2-3 sets of 5 reps/side

Note: An advanced version of this can be performed by starting in a high plank, push-up position. Lift your right foot off the mat while simultaneously raising your left arm and extending it forward.

Side Plank

  • Lie on your right side with your elbow underneath the body, directly below the shoulder. Left foot stacked on top of right foot
  • Keeping your body rigid and tight, elevate your hips so that you’re only balancing on your forearm and outside edge of your right foot
  • Hold for specified time
  • Repeat on opposite side
Perform 3-4 sets per side holding the plank for 60-120 seconds

Pallof Press

  • Assume an athletic stance perpendicular to a cable machine
  • Using a firm grip, grab single handle attachment and press arms straight out, extended at chest level
  • Relax neck and upper shoulders, focusing on maintaining tight core and not rotating towards the machine
  • Hold press position for a prescribed time
  • Repeat on opposite side
Perform 2-3 sets per side for 30-60 seconds

Core Strong

Hopefully, by now you realize just how vital core training is to your performance and overall function. With a strong core, you’ll be able to tackle anything and everything that stands in your way, without it, you’ll have trouble rolling out of bed in the morning. Use the pointers and exercises outlined above to forge an iron core so that you’re stronger, more durable, and primed for the big time.

References

  1. Huxel Bliven KC, Anderson BE. Core Stability Training for Injury Prevention. Sports Health. 2013;5(6):514-522. doi:10.1177/1941738113481200.

Why Carbohydrates are Ideal Post-Workout

So often in the fitness community, we’re told to avoid cheap carbs and simple sugars like white bread, candy, cookies, cake, and soda for a couple of reasons.

  • They’re calorically dense and nutrient-poor
  • They spike insulin levels
  • They raise blood sugar levels
  • They promote fat storage
  • They lead to energy crashes
  • They are easy to overeat and derail your diet

It’s easy to see why so many coaches, trainers, and nutritionists steer athletes away from high carb/high sugar foods, and while it’s true that the vast majority of the time you want to avoid these foods, there is a time when it’s more or less “ok” to have some of the quintessential “dirty” foods like candy, pizza, Chinese takeout or fried food — post-workout.

The post-workout window is those select few hours immediately following your workout where your muscles are starving for energy, desperately seeking nutrients to repair, rebuild, and grow the muscle tissue that you just worked so hard to train in your workout.

That’s why the post-workout time period is so often called the anabolic window. Your body is primed to take whatever you throw at it and use it for recovery and growth. But, what is it about the anabolic window that makes your body work differently than other times of the day. Why is this brief window of opportunity the ideal time to consume high carb/high sugar foods?

It has to do with the most anabolic hormone in your body — insulin.

What is Insulin?

No doubt you were thrown for a loop when we said that the most anabolic hormone in the body is insulin. You were probably thinking it was something along the lines of testosterone, human growth hormone, or insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Make no mistake, those hormones are incredibly anabolic, but it’s insulin that’s the real star of muscle growth and fat loss.

Insulin is “peptide hormone” that is secreted by the β cells of the pancreatic islets of Langerhans, which is a fancy way of stating that insulin is a protein made in the pancreas.[1] The primary function of insulin, as you probably know, is to regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels in the body by transporting glucose from the bloodstream and into muscle cells or fat cells for storage. But that’s not insulin does, it also is primarily known for regulating blood glucose levels by facilitating glucose uptake into your cells, but insulin also [2]:

  • Regulates carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism
  • Increases the rate of amino acid delivery into tissues (including muscles)
  • Reduces glycogen breakdown
  • Decreases lipolysis (breakdown of stored fat) in adipose tissue
  • Encourages cell division and growth (via mitogenesis)
  • Reduces the rate of fatty acid oxidation (fat burning) in muscle and liver
  • Increases protein synthesis in muscle (i.e. builds muscle), as well as adipose tissue and many others
  • Decreases the rate of protein breakdown in muscle (stops catabolism)

As you can see, insulin plays a vital role not only in muscle growth and repair but also fat burning and fat storage.

And therein lies the quagmire with insulin — it stores nutrients, period. It does not discriminate between where it stores those nutrients. Insulin is just as likely to store excess blood glucose in muscles as it is adipose tissue (fat cells). Insulin doesn’t really care where it stores the glucose, it’s job is to regulate blood sugar levels and keep them at a safe level. Just because you’d prefer insulin to store all those carbs in your muscles doesn’t mean it’s going to comply. Its job is to keep blood sugar levels from reaching critical status.

Now, some individuals have better genetics than others, and their body’s will preferentially stores more of those sugars in muscle than they will fat. Aside from winning the genetic lottery, this individuals also have superb insulin sensitivity.  

What is Insulin Sensitivity?

Insulin sensitivity essentially describes how “efficient” your body is when it’s faced with an increase in blood glucose. In an otherwise healthy, lean individual, they secrete small amounts of insulin to deal with the rise in blood sugar. However, if you have poor insulin sensitivity, also known as insulin resistant, your body secretes large amounts of insulin to deal with the increased blood glucose levels.

With insulin resistance also comes less fat burning, brain and pancreatic cells are exposed to higher levels of blood sugar for longer periods of time (which can be toxic), and muscle protein synthesis falls off dramatically. Suffice it to say, you do not want to be insulin resistant, especially if you’re looking to maintain a lean, muscular physique.

What causes insulin resistance?

A few things, including lack of exercise, excess consumption of simple sugars, as well as several other things. Insulin resistance is a tell-tale warning sign of health complications in the future including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure, and even cancer.

Having poor insulin sensitivity also means you’re more likely to store fat when trying to gain size and strength, as opposed to those excess calories going to pure muscle building. Basically, you want to avoid being insulin resistant at all costs and want to do everything in your power to maximize insulin sensitivity.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do right now to improve insulin sensitivity. Just because you were born with poor genetics doesn’t mean you’re forever stuck with poor insulin sensitivity. By manipulating insulin and taking advantage of it, we can ensure that those tasty carbs we consume post workout go towards muscle growth, not fat storage

How to Improve Insulin Sensitivity

As we noted up top, when insulin levels rise, fat burning stops and energy storage starts. Right here, you can see one of the first “hacks” to improving insulin sensitivity — what you eat and when you eat it.

By consuming the majority of your carbohydrates before, during, and after training, you’ll force your body to use them for energy production during training and for glycogen replenishment and muscle repair and growth following training. No other time is your body more primed to deal with a surge of carb and sugar-laden food than post workout.

During training, glycogen stores become depleted and insulin sensitivity skyrockets. This improves carbohydrate storage via two different means. Intense exercise, such as weightlifting, not only heightens insulin-dependent glucose uptake into skeletal muscle but also non-insulin dependent glucose uptake, meaning glucose absorption by your muscles without the actions of insulin! [3]

In other words, if there ever was a time for you to crush some serious carbs, it’s definitely post workout. Your muscles have been broken, bloodied, and beaten from the workout, glycogen levels are low, and they’re hungry…

That means you need to feed them carbohydrates. They’re begging for them. Carbohydrates are the preferred form of energy for the body during high-intensity exercise, and the quickest way to replenish those depleted glycogen stores is by eating carbs, the simpler the better. This ensures faster digestion, which leads to faster uptake by your muscles, and ultimately quicker glycogen storage and recovery (and less soreness).

Now, that means for the rest of the day, when insulin sensitivity isn’t as high and muscles are not depleted of glycogen, you want to avoid huge spikes in insulin, as well as high carb-low fiber meals. Meals farther away from exercise should be full of fiber (i.e. vegetables), higher in fat and protein. These factors help reduce the glycemic load of your meal, which limits the amount of insulin the body has to release to deal with rising glucose levels in the blood, thereby allowing for more fat burning and less fat storage.

Aside from exercise, here are a few other “hacks” you can use in your daily life to improve insulin sensitivity, so if you do have the occasional cheat meal outside of the post-workout window, you’re not going to store (as much) fat:

  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

    A muscle cell that is full of glycogen is technically insulin resistant as it has no more “room” to store glucose (as glycogen), which means the glucose-insulin is carrying is probably going to be stored as fat.

    However, performing an exercise that burns glycogen, leaves your muscles empty and increases their insulin sensitivity. There’s no better way to burn through glycogen than with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). [4]

    Options for HIIT training include sprints, prowler pushes, bodyweight circuits, or concept2 rower. These forms of exercise burn through glycogen like you wouldn’t believe and if you know you’re going to be having a carb-heavy meal later in the day, but it’s technically an “off day” from lifting, do a quick HIIT session to burn off some glycogen and get the body primed to put those tasty carbs to work.

  • Sleep

    If you already get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, you’re already doing one of the best things possible for optimizing insulin sensitivity. Getting even more sleep isn’t going to significantly enhance your insulin sensitivity. However, if you’re not getting adequate sleep each night, you might want to start doing so. Research shows that even a single night of disrupted sleep can impair insulin sensitivity! [5]

    Aside from insulin, disrupted sleep also raises cortisol levels and decreases testosterone levels, which further hurts muscle growth and encourages fat storage. Basically, if you’re not getting enough quality sleep each night, start doing so…NOW!

  • Reduce stress levels

    Similar to sleep disruption, stress can also wreak havoc on your hormone levels, particularly cortisol and insulin. Stress increases cortisol levels and lowers insulin sensitivity, [6] which is a double whammy for increased fat storage and less muscle growth.

  • Train fasted

    Training in a fasted state can improve insulin sensitivity, as your body is forced to run on its energy stores rather than food you may have ingested as part of your pre-workout nutrition. Research notes that training while fasted increased insulin sensitivity more so than the group consuming a high carb meal prior to exercise. What’s really interesting is that these effects also occurred even though subjects at a “standard American diet” (i.e. high fat, high carb) the rest of the day. [7]

  • Sprinkle Cinnamon on your Food

    Cinnamon is a delicious spice that adds warmth and excitement to any dish, including baked sugary treats like cookies and cakes. It’s also effective for combating insulin resistance induced from sleep loss. [8]

    Other pungent spices, such as garlic and ginger, also improve insulin sensitivity, so don’t be afraid to experiment with new recipes and cuisines to enhance glucose disposal in the body and broaden your culinary horizons.

  • Add Vinegar

    Sprinkling a dash of vinegar on your appetizer prior to a high carb meal, say on a salad prior to a dinner full of pasta, might be an easy way to improve insulin sensitivity, as research documents better glucose tolerance in type 2 diabetics following consumption of vinegar prior to high-carb meals. [9]

  • Lose Fat

    Insulin resistance is often the result of excess energy consumption (i.e. overeating). Losing fat increases energy removal from the body, which improves insulin sensitivity, especially if the fat loss comes from belly fat. [10]

  • Drink Tea

    Consuming tea, whether it be green tea, black tea, or Pu-Erh tea, has been shown to improve insulin resistance. [11,12] If you are going to consume tea, make sure to not load it up with a bunch of sugar though, as that will negate the insulin-sensitizing benefits of tea consumption.

Now, this is by no means a complete list of ways to improve insulin sensitivity, but they are some of the most convenient ones you can easily work into your daily life.

The bottom line is that carbohydrates aren’t always the enemy, and they’re certainly not bad for you. As with everything in life, “timing is everything.”

If you’re craving some sugary, fast-digesting carbs, just make sure to get in a tough workout beforehand, and that way, you can put those tasty carbs towards building muscle and not storing fat. To help you make the most of your workout and really burn through that muscle glycogen, there’s Steel Pump™.

Steel Pump™ is a scientifically-formulated pre-workout specifically designed to enhance your performance during training. With Steel Pump, you’ll have greater energy, focus, and stamina to push harder in your workouts, burning more glycogen and calories than ever before. After your workout, you’ll be ready to tackle those sugary carbs head on and get the most benefit from them!

References

  1. Wilcox G. Insulin and Insulin Resistance. Clinical Biochemist Reviews. 2005;26(2):19-39.
  2. Dimitriadis, G., Mitrou, P., Lambadiari, V., Maratou, E., & Raptis, S. A. (2011). Insulin effects in muscle and adipose tissue. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 93 Suppl 1, S52-9. http://doi.org/10.1016/S0168-8227(11)70014-6
  3. Hayashi T, Wojtaszewski JF, Goodyear LJ. Exercise regulation of glucose transport in skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol. 1997;273(6 Pt 1):E1039-51.
  4. Boutcher SH. High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss. Journal of Obesity. 2011;2011:868305. doi:10.1155/2011/868305.
  5. Donga E, van Dijk M, van Dijk JG, et al. A single night of partial sleep deprivation induces insulin resistance in multiple metabolic pathways in healthy subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010;95(6):2963-2968. doi:10.1210/jc.2009-2430
  6. Li L, Li X, Zhou W, Messina JL. Acute Psychological Stress Results in the Rapid Development of Insulin Resistance. The Journal of endocrinology. 2013;217(2):175-184. doi:10.1530/JOE-12-0559.
  7. Van Proeyen K, Szlufcik K, Nielens H, et al. Training in the fasted state improves glucose tolerance during fat-rich diet. The Journal of Physiology. 2010;588(Pt 21):4289-4302. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2010.196493.
  8. Jitomir J, Willoughby DS. Cassia cinnamon for the attenuation of glucose intolerance and insulin resistance resulting from sleep loss. J Med Food. 2009;12(3):467-472. doi:10.1089/jmf.2008.0128
  9. Johnston CS, Kim CM, Buller AJ. Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004;27(1):281 LP-282.
  10. Goodpaster BH, Kelley DE, Wing RR, Meier A, Thaete FL. Effects of weight loss on regional fat distribution and insulin sensitivity in obesity. Diabetes. 1999;48(4):839-847.
  11. Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Ahadi Z, Fallah Tafti M. The Effect of Green Tea versus Sour Tea on Insulin Resistance, Lipids Profiles and Oxidative Stress in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences. 2014;39(5):424-432.
  12. Du W, Peng S-M, Liu Z, Shi L, Tan L-F, Zou X-Q. Hypoglycemic effect of the water extract of Pu-erh tea. J Agric Food Chem. 2012;60(40):10126-10132. doi:10.1021/jf302426w

Collagen 101: What it is and What it Does

If you’re looking for information about collagen, congratulations! You’ve arrived at your destination.

Collagen is one of the big buzzwords tossed around these days regardless if you’re talking about health, fitness, beauty or bodybuilding. There are collagen supplements, supplements to improve collagen, collagen creams, lotions, and even foods you can eat to boost collagen.

Collagen is literally everywhere it seems. But what is it, what does it do, and why does everyone seem to be interested in it lately?

We’re here to answer those questions and many more in this complete guide to all things collagen.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein. In fact, collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, especially type 1 collagen. It’s composed principally of the two amino acids, glycine and proline. As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is present in your skin, bones, muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and even the digestive system.

Collagen is what gives the skin elasticity and strength. In essence, collagen is the “glue” that holds your body together!

Unfortunately, as we age, the amount of collagen produced by the body gradually declines, as with most other things in life. In addition to aging, a number of other factors can impact your body’s collagen levels and production. Prolonged exposure to the sun and excessive sugar consumption have both been shown to reduce collagen synthesis, as do activities such as drinking and smoking. [1,2,3]

To further complicated things, there isn’t just one type of collagen present in the body either. You’ll probably be surprised to learn that there are in fact SIXTEEN (16) different kinds of collagen found throughout the body. [4]

Now, types I, II, and III accounts for the vast majority of the collagen in your body (around 90%), but nevertheless, that’s a LOT of different types of collagen floating around inside you.

Benefits of Collagen

Collagen has become a hot commodity in recent years due to the wide range of benefits it offers:

  • Improves the health of hair, skin, and nails

    Seeing as that collagen is the main structural protein of the body, it makes perfect sense that it would improve the quality and appearance of your hair, skin, and nails. Research has shown that supplementing with collagen can help reduce signs of aging by reducing the appearance of cellulite and wrinkles as well as improve skin elasticity. [5,6]

    If you suffer from brittle nails or thinning hair, consuming collagen may help there too, as the protein is a primary component in the structure of your nails and hair. [7] A 2015 study noted that there are “essential relationships between extracellular matrix (ECM) and hair follicle regeneration”[7], and suggest collagen supplementation could be beneficial for treating hair loss and skin-related diseases.

  • Preserves joint integrity

    Collagen isn’t only important for your external structures, but also your internal ones, especially your connective tissues, including cartilage and tendons.

    Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when there is a significant breakdown of the entire joint complex — cartilage, joint lining, ligaments, and bone. This continual degradation leads to pain, stiffness, and swelling, which limits range of movement, significantly impacting quality of life.

    Joints naturally degrade over the years, but intense physical activity also contributes to wear and tear of the joints. As such, collagen supplements aren’t used by just the elderly, but also athletes, bodybuilders, and even recreational lifters. A comprehensive review of the literature found that collagen supplements can be extremely beneficial for improving signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis. [8]

  • Combats leaky gut

    Collagen is a crucial cog in the function and integrity of your digestive system. For starters, collagen regulates the number of gastric juices released into the stomach, preventing an excessive amount of stomach acid, which can lead to heartburn, stomach ulcers, and other painful GI issues. On top of that, glycine and proline, the two primary amino acids of collagen, can help heal the lining of the stomach, preventing ulcers from forming. Finally, low levels of collagen are associated with certain GI illnesses, including inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS). Supplementing with collagen can help raise collagen levels in the body, which promotes gut health and contributes to the structural integrity of the entire GI tract. [9]

  • Accelerate injury recovery

    Collagen has also been studied for its ability to enhance recovery following traumatic injury, wounds, skeletal muscle injury or burns. [10,11] From collagen-based wound dressings to orally consumed collagen supplements, researchers are exploring the many different ways by which collagen can accelerate the recovery and rehabilitation process both in the internal structures and external appearance of the body.

  • Better sleep

    Consuming collagen 30 to 60 minutes might help with sleep too! This is due to the fact that collagen is very high in glycine, which has been shown in research to reduce fatigue, improve mental clarity the morning after taking glycine. Additionally, it’s also been shown to accelerate how quickly you fall asleep and how “deep” your sleep is. [12,13]

  • Supports liver health

    Collagen supplementation can also improve your body’s ability to detox, thereby enhancing its ability to stave off sickness. One of the biggest contributors to liver function and health is the amino acid glycine, one of the primary building blocks of collagen. Glycine is essential to glutathione production, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body. [14]

    It’s also required for something called “phase 2 detoxification” which is one of the two pathways involved in detoxifying the body. Phase 2 detoxification involves converting fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble chemicals that can then be excreted out through bile and urine. This involves converting the fat-soluble toxic chemical and transforming the toxins into water-soluble chemicals. Then they are passed out through body fluids as such as the bile or urine. Deficiencies in glycine (or one of the other amino acids needed) can severely reduce Phase 2 detoxification, heightening your chances for illness and infection.

  • More Muscle

    Yes, collagen can even help you build more muscle, which is probably another reason lifters are shoveling down collagen by the spoonful. Research conducted in elderly men demonstrated that consuming collagen supplements in conjunction with resistance training increased mass and strength more than placebo. [15]

How to Increase Collagen

Given the litany of benefits that collagen has to offer, you’re probably salivating at the prospect of getting your hands-on collagen and adding it to your supplement stash. Before you resort to supplements though, there are a few things you can do with your current diet to ensure optimal collagen production in your body, namely consuming more of the following four nutrients:

  • Glycine

    The primary building block of collagen is found in vast amounts in chicken skin, gelatin, and pork skin. So, feel free to have some more of those skin on chicken breasts, thighs, and legs.

  • Proline

    The other major amino acid of collagen is found in high amounts in dairy products, asparagus, mushrooms, egg whites, and wheat germ.

  • Vitamin C

    Everyone’s favorite cold-combatting vitamin, the water-soluble vitamin can be found in a great many foods, but some of our favorites are bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and of course everyone’s favorite — the orange.

  • Pantothenic Acid

    Also known as Vitamin B5, Pantothenic Acid is an essential nutrient that is required for the metabolism of dietary carbs, proteins, and fats consumed on a daily basis. Vitamin B5 is critical for the growth and differentiation of keratin and collagen.

Aside from diet, collagen supplements are becoming increasingly more affordable and accessible. While there are a great many options to choose from, our recommendation is to go with BioCell Collagen®, which is a main ingredient in Steel Beauty™. It’s the only form of collagen supplement on the market with several clinical trials demonstrating its effectiveness at increasing collagen production in the body, improving symptoms of joint pain and discomfort, and accelerating recovery from exercise. [16,17]

For these reasons, and many more, BioCell Collagen® which is found in Steel Beauty™, is the clear front-runner when it comes to purchasing your collagen supplement.

Wrap Up

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, quite possibly the most important one too. It’s involved in just about every aspect of appearance, function, and health of the body, and it’s definitely one protein you don’t want to be lacking. If you’re suffering from achy knees and cranky elbows, looking to up your gains in the gym, or wanting to restore your youthful looks collagen can be a safe and effective means to enhancing your appearance and performance.

By supplementing with Steel Beauty™, you will maintain youthful looking skin and promote healthy, lustrous hair and strong, beautiful nails. Steel Beauty™ is physician formulated with clinical doses of the most cutting edge, research validated, patented ingredients known to boost collagen synthesis, improve skin hydration, reduce wrinkles and fine lines, strengthen hair, reduce oxidative stress and support cellular and tissue health.*

References

  1. Donejko M, Przylipiak A, Rysiak E, et al. Hyaluronic acid abrogates ethanol-dependent inhibition of collagen biosynthesis in cultured human fibroblasts. Drug Design, Development and Therapy. 2015;9:6225-6233. doi:10.2147/DDDT.S91968.
  2. Overbeek SA, Braber S, Koelink PJ, et al. Cigarette Smoke-Induced Collagen Destruction; Key to Chronic Neutrophilic Airway Inflammation? Hartl D, ed. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(1):e55612. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055612.
  3. Danby FW. Nutrition and aging skin: sugar and glycation. Clin Dermatol. 2010;28(4):409-411. doi:10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.018.
  4. Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 22.3, Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix.
  5. Proksch E, Schunck M, Zague V, Segger D, Degwert J, Oesser S. Oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides reduces skin wrinkles and increases dermal matrix synthesis. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(3):113-119. doi:10.1159/000355523.
  6. Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S, Proksch E. Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body Mass Index-Dependent Beneficial Effect on Cellulite Morphology. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2015;18(12):1340-1348. doi:10.1089/jmf.2015.0022.
  7. Chen P, Cescon M, Bonaldo P. Lack of Collagen VI Promotes Wound-Induced Hair Growth. J Invest Dermatol. 2015;135(10):2358-2367. doi:10.1038/jid.2015.187.
  8. Bello AE, Oesser S. Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature. Curr Med Res Opin. 2006;22(11):2221-2232. doi:10.1185/030079906X148373.
  9. Koutroubakis IE, Petinaki E, Dimoulios P, et al. Serum laminin and collagen IV in inflammatory bowel disease. Journal of Clinical Pathology. 2003;56(11):817-820.
  10. Mathangi Ramakrishnan K, Babu M, Mathivanan, Jayaraman V, Shankar J. Advantages of collagen based biological dressings in the management of superficial and superficial partial thickness burns in children. Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters. 2013;26(2):98-104.
  11. Baar K. Minimizing Injury and Maximizing Return to Play: Lessons from Engineered Ligaments. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.z). 2017;47(Suppl 1):5-11. doi:10.1007/s40279-017-0719-x.
  12. INAGAWA, K., HIRAOKA, T., KOHDA, T., YAMADERA, W. and TAKAHASHI, M. (2006), Subjective effects of glycine ingestion before bedtime on sleep quality. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 4: 75–77. doi:10.1111/j.1479-8425.2006.00193.x
  13. YAMADERA, W., INAGAWA, K., CHIBA, S., BANNAI, M., TAKAHASHI, M. and NAKAYAMA, K. (2007), Glycine ingestion improves subjective sleep quality in human volunteers, correlating with polysomnographic changes. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 5: 126–131. doi:10.1111/j.1479-8425.2007.00262.x
  14. Ruiz-Ramirez A, Ortiz-Balderas E, Cardozo-Saldana G, Diaz-Diaz E, El-Hafidi M. Glycine restores glutathione and protects against oxidative stress in vascular tissue from sucrose-fed rats. Clin Sci (Lond). 2014;126(1):19-29. doi:10.1042/CS20130164.
  15. Zdzieblik D, Oesser S, Baumstark MW, Gollhofer A, König D. Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Nutrition. 2015;114(8):1237-1245. doi:10.1017/S0007114515002810.
  16. Lopez HL, Habowski S, Sandrock J, Kedia A, Ziegenfuss T. Effects of BioCell Collagen® on connective tissue protection and functional recovery from exercise in healthy adults: a pilot study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2014;11(Suppl 1):P48. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-11-S1-P48.
  17. Schauss AG, Stenehjem J, Park J, Endres JR, Clewell A. Effect of the novel low molecular weight hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract, BioCell Collagen, on improving osteoarthritis-related symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Agric Food Chem. 2012;60(16):4096-4101. doi:10.1021/jf205295u.