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An Overview of PhysiVāntage’s™ New Nutritional Supplement: Supercharged Collagen (Hydrolysate)

Please note: As with all of my work, I’m going to oversimplify a very complex subject in order to facilitate information-uptake by regular climbers.  If you’re an expert and want to provide additional evidence either way, please contact me.  For more information on the injuries and risks in climbing, check out the Beta Angel Research Inventory’s section on injuries or the write-up on climbing risk factors.

Overview

Failure at your climbing project might be bad, but as long as you can climb there’s always the potential to keep hope alive – some new training paradigm, a subtle shift of technique or beta, the right conditions.  With an injury, hope fades.  Eric Hörst’s new company, PhysiVāntage™, is an attempt to bring climber’s hope during the dark times, but also to pre-emptively avoid injury.  His product, “Supercharged Collagen (Hydrolysate),” is being promoted as an important step (when combined with specific exercise) to strengthening climber tendons and ligament (annular) pulleys. 

It’s important that you have information to help guide you toward an informed, if personal, decision about a product.  First, the science behind Supercharged Collagen is relatively new.  Second, dietary supplements can be controversial.  Nutrition science itself doesn’t have the best indicators of effectiveness or methods generally.  The Beta Angel Project casts sunshine on climbing ideas associated with research so you have the best information available to make an informed decision for you.  

Always wanted a semi-related excuse to use this image. Anatomical Studies of the Shoulder by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Eric sent me some of his Supercharged Collagen.  Full disclosure: I’m using it while I rehab from knee surgery.  But I know that I can’t take the supplement and say miraculously that it works.  Science doesn’t work like that.  What I can do is shed light on the state of the science.  Eric also sent me his “white paper.”  White papers are often used for marketing or promotional purposes so it’s important to read them critically.  However, their purpose in decision-making can’t be understated – since they often generate ideas by synthesizing information from numerous sources.   

Supercharged Collagen is a new product based on the emerging scientific field of sinew remodeling through targeted exercise augmented with pre-exercise consumption of vitamin C-enriched collagen peptides (though referring to different things, collagen peptides are a second general term for ‘hydrolyzed collagen’ for purposes of this write-up).  I had extra time and I’m a little extra-motivated due to my knee, so I read the research behind Eric’s white paper.  The product is based off a growing body of research (from multiple biophysics labs) indicating the potential to influence collagen synthesis with specific exercise and nutritional protocols.  Because this product is based on new research, my goal is to provide you with a glimpse into the research behind the product, and hopefully provide some context for you to make an informed decision.

Quick Summary of the PhysiVāntage™ Supercharged Collagen White Paper

Eric’s white paper suggests that his goal is to strengthen those tissues important to climbing: the fingers, elbows, and shoulders.  His recommendation is that a certain type of exercise combined with a supplement can strengthen those tissues better than exercise alone.  The supplement’s intent is to support the body’s natural processes during exercise by increasing collagen – a protein which strengthens sinew, but which is usually very slow to build.  The product is intended to ‘supplement’ the specific building blocks of collagen, the amino acids glycine, proline (or hydroxyproline) and 1 of any of the other 17 amino acids.  The idea is to facilitate a stronger, more resilient support system for the cells in your tendons and muscle (extracellular) matrix.

Here are some common questions and answers.