Vitamins for Muscle Growth

man lunging with dumbbells at the gym may consider vitamins for muscle growth

You know about protein and carbohydrates and pre- and post-workout nutrient timing. You understand the optimal rep range for hypertrophy, but there’s something holding you back. Maybe it’s recovery or the endurance to perform high-rep sets. Taking vitamins for muscle growth isn’t a shortcut, but a supplement to an intelligent muscle-building training and nutrition regimen. The research says it: vitamins for muscle growth can put you in a better position to see gains. And since they’re vitamins, they don’t come with nasty side effects when you take them properly, or show up on banned substance lists.

Glutathione

It’s nicknamed The Master Antioxidant for a reason: It supports the health of every cell in our bodies by combatting oxidative stress. When Glutathione levels within a cell drop too low, that cell dies. Healthy cells can produce their own Glutathione, but production slows as we age and our demand rises due to lifetime free radical accumulation from stress and environmental contaminants.

Glutathione assists in cell metabolic functions, including protein synthesis and amino acid transport across cell membranes, which is significant when seeking vitamins for muscle growth.

In a recent study, researchers found that supplementation with Glutathione and L-Citrulline (found in numerous fitness supplements and naturally in watermelons) increased lean muscle mass in conjunction with resistance training in resistance-trained men. As previous studies had shown that combined Glutathione and L-Citrulline had increased the plasma content of certain molecules that may be involved in muscle protein synthesis, the researchers hypothesized that the duo would also enable gains in strength and lean muscle mass. After 4 weeks of resistance training and body composition testing, the men in L-Citrulline and Glutathione supplement group increased lean muscle mass when compared to the placebo group.

Glutathione is also essential in mast cells (which lines the nasal passages, throat, and lungs) and in white blood cells that are major components of our immune systems. Intense exercise causes our immune systems to take a bit of a hit, so it’s important to give it the support it needs so we don’t lose training days.

A factor often overlooked in muscle growth training is the requirement for aerobic capacity. In order to achieve the high rep counts needed for hypertrophic training adaptations, you need a pretty decent cardio fitness level. In a 2007 study, researchers found that lessened antioxidants (including Glutathione) resulted in decreased exercise tolerance in bicycle exercise among patients with high blood pressure and normal heart contractile function.

You can boost Glutathione production in your cells by eating a variety of foods and nutrients that supply one or more of its amino acid building blocks, support the synthesis of Glutathione, or spare the usage of glutathione stores by metabolic processes. Fitness nutrition staples like whey protein and glutamine help, as do garlic and sesame oil. Several antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Selenium, and L-Carnitine support glutathione formation as well. A 2004 study showed that Alpha Lipoic Acid and L-Carnitine in combination were particularly effective in raising Glutathione levels.

You can also get it more directly in dietary supplements, but before you go bargain shopping for glutathione tablets, there is a caveat. Because of glutathione’s three-amino-acid composition, when taken orally it is particularly vulnerable to breakdown in the digestive system before ever reaching the bloodstream where it can be distributed to cells. Taken intravenously is another story, as glutathione enters the bloodstream where it rapidly breaks down into its three constituting amino acids, which are taken up in the cells and re-synthesized into glutathione. IV infusions are expensive and impractical as they must be administered by clinicians, and clinics offering this service are rare.

Liposomal Encapsulation offers a more cost-effective, convenient alternative as it protects the Glutathione throughout the digestive system to ensure that it reaches the bloodstream for distribution to the cells, making it a more efficient option when seeking vitamins for muscle growth.

Carnitine

Like Glutathione, Carnitine has multi-faceted benefits when it comes to muscle health. When taken in combination with creatine and the amino acid leucine, researchers found it improved lean muscle mass and strength in older adults. It gets a lot of attention in the bodybuilding world due to a 2006 study that demonstrated that supplementing with Carnitine increased androgen receptor content which, as the authors write, “may result in increased testosterone uptake.” As androgen receptors facilitate testosterone’s role in protein synthesis, numerous experts in the bodybuilding community have concluded that more androgen receptors means enhanced utilization of free testosterone in the muscle fibers. The same team had earlier conducted a study in which their data supported the use of Carnitine as a muscle recovery supplement.

Like the B vitamins and alpha lipoic acid, carnitine helps turn food, particularly fats, into energy. Because our carbohydrate stores are quickly depleted when exercising for long periods of time, the metabolism of fat is critical to sustaining energy levels. That’s why numerous studies have examined carnitine’s benefits in endurance performance. Researchers have found that Carnitine supplementation can help athletes to exercise longer without fatigue and stimulate the efficient use of fats for energy. Other studies have shown that Carnitine improves muscle strength in endurance athletes, possibly due to its fat metabolism properties which can spare muscle tissue from being broken down to be used as fuel in long-duration athletic activities. The variation Acetyl L-Carnitine has been shown to help maximize carbohydrate metabolism, which can also be significant when seeking vitamins for muscle growth.

Most importantly for the muscle-building enthusiasts who know gains don’t come with only partial effort, Carnitine has significant research behind it backing its ability to minimize the dreaded DOMS. Sure, Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness signifies a session well done, but it also diminishes performance in subsequent sessions. It can be tough to get into the demanding squat position if your glutes and quads are feeling like rocks from lunging three days ago. That’s where vitamins for healthy muscle growth come in.

According to the researchers who conducted a thorough review of the glut of literature on the topic of Carnitine and muscle recovery, here’s how it works: “Muscle damage especially during eccentric exercise (active force generating lengthening contractions) is caused by immediate cellular and structural injury and subsequent biochemical responses during tissue repair. Alteration of muscle fiber sarcomeres and the surrounding tissue can cause long-term dysfunction so that the recovery process can continue for up to 10 days.” They go on to cite numerous studies that show how Carnitine’s function as an antioxidant can mitigate these effects by scavenging the free radicals (also known as reactive oxygen species) that form due to the muscle damage we incur from strength training.

Like the name implies, Carnitine is prevalent in carnivorous foods. Lamb has the highest content, followed by other red meat, then poultry and, to a lesser extent, milk and dairy products. No surprise then that researchers found vegetarians have lower total Carnitine concentration in skeletal muscles than non-vegetarians. Our bodies also produce a minuscule amount of Carnitine, so it’s not a true vitamin per se. In his book The Carnitine Miracle, nutritionist Robert Crayhon, M.S. recommends that athletes seeking vitamins for muscle growth start by supplementing with 1,000 mg of Carnitine daily and possibly going as high as 4 grams/day. And unless you’re routinely eating the Old ‘96er, that volume of Carnitine intake is hard to come by through diet alone.

Lypo-Spheric Acetyl L-Carnitine comes in convenient 1,000 mg packets that you can throw back in an ounce of water like a shot before meals. The Acetyl L-Carnitine variety offers the same properties as the L-Carnitine variety most often sought out by those using vitamins for muscle growth with additional properties that may support brain health. Because of its profound impact on cellular energy, Crayhon cautions against taking Carnitine supplements late in the afternoon as they may keep you up at night.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Numerous studies have shown that Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) increases glucose uptake in cells, meaning that you get the sugar you need to work out in your active muscles, not collecting in fat deposits on your waist. Due to this ability, multiple placebo controlled studies have shown that daily doses of Alpha Lipoic Acid can maintain healthy insulin sensitivity. Why is insulin sensitivity important when evaluating vitamins for muscle growth?

Insulin moves glucose out of your blood and into the muscle cells where it’s needed to provide energy to move a barbell. If you’re sensitive to insulin, as your body is designed to be, the carbohydrates you consume will be used for their intended purpose: fuel. If you eat a diet with too much sugar and processed food, you send more glucose to the blood than the insulin receptors in the muscle cells can use. They treat insulin like the boy who cried wolf and stop responding properly, leaving excess glucose sitting in the bloodstream for distribution elsewhere. And your midsection looks more like a keg than a six-pack.

Numerous studies have confirmed that Alpha Lipoic Acid enhances glucose uptake in skeletal muscle. So, it makes sense that a 2003 study found that ingesting ALA along with creatine and a small amount of sucrose increases muscle creatine content. In other words, it helps get your creatine supplement where it needs to go to stimulate protein synthesis necessary for strength and size gains without consuming as much sugar.

In a 1997 study, researchers found that supplementing with Alpha Lipoic Acid increases muscle GLUT-4 content in rats. GLUT-4 is the receptor that transports glucose through the bloodstream to the cells. By increasing the content of muscle GLUT-4 receptors, it stands to reason that the more glucose can reach the muscles instead of fat cells.

As Burt Berkson, M.D., Ph.D., and one of the world’s foremost authorities on ALA writes in his book The Alpha Lipoic Acid Breakthrough, “In the cell, glucose is prepared for combustion and energy production. The prepared glucose cannot gain entry into the mitochondrion when there is no alpha lipoic acid available. In other words, without ALA, fuel cannot enter the mitochondrion and no energy can be produced.”

Berkson also sums up what may be the major benefit for athletes using vitamins for muscle growth in supplementing with Alpha Lipoic Acid: “Glucose is the basic blood sugar. To become a cellular fuel, it must be broken down into two smaller molecules called pyruvate. Pyruvate cannot be burned for energy until it is changed into a compound called acetyl coenzyme A. Pyruvate cannot become acetyl coenzyme A without ALA. If more ALA is available, more acetyl coenzyme A is produced, and consequently, more energy is produced.”

Your liver produces enough of it to assist with cell metabolism and get its antioxidant benefits. Unfortunately, like Glutathione, your body produces less of it as you age and you need it more. That’s why fitness professionals have been supplementing with it for years with doses no higher than 600mg/day.

Alpha Lipoic Acid is easy to find in the supplement aisle. The problem is that most of the cheaper capsules use the synthetic (S) version of Alpha Lipoic Acid, which is not effective in helping our cells metabolize glucose and thus not an effective vitamin for muscle growth. Lypo-Spheric™ R-ALA uses 226mg of the R variety of Alpha Lipoic Acid that is found in nature.

Taking vitamins for muscle growth isn’t going to get you ripped without the reps. The research says that in combination with resistance training, recovery, and a muscle-building diet, supplementing with Glutathione, L-Carnitine, and the R form of Alpha Lipoic Acid can help you get more out of each rep. LivOn Labs offers all three supplements in liposomal encapsulated form for maximum absorption. They’re available in convenient, uni-dose packets sold in cartons as a month’s supply, so you can enhance your muscle-building regimen for just a couple dollars a day.

What’s Good for Joint Health?

female runner with hand on knee

Our joints are the points of articulation. They’re where two bones meet and instead of crashing against each other, the joint lets them slide, spin, or roll, or — most frequently — a combination of the three. If our joints aren’t working, we may as well be in rigor mortis. While waning collagen production, injuries, and decades of movement can lead to wear-and-tear and joint damage later in life, you can be proactive at any age to mitigate the damage as much as possible. What’s good for joints is a blend of nutrition, exercise, and weight management.

Exercise for Joint Health

The first step to healthy joints is moving them. This can be as simple as rolling your shoulders while sitting at your desk, and standing up from said desk every hour or so. Not only can movement that interrupts long periods spent in single positions help you avoid joint stiffness, but it can also increase the mobility of your joints. And with more mobility comes better use of your muscles.

Think of the squat. It’s a fundamental movement to our daily lives, yet it requires numerous joints that all must have their full range of motion in order to perform the movement safely. If one joint in the chain, say the ankle, is stiff and tight, it can cause you to be unable to drive your knees forward. To counterbalance, you may find yourself leaning forward, placing more pressure on other parts of your body and recruiting the wrong muscles for the movement while neglecting the ones that are supposed to assist. This can lead to long-term problems for those performing functional tasks and immediate injury to a weightlifter squatting a heavy barbell.

If said weightlifter had the full range of motion, the oft-elusive “gainz” would come a lot easier due to allowing the muscles to work at their full capacity. Stretching the muscles themselves, as well as the tendons that connect the muscles to the bones, can also help to extend the joints’ range of motion.

Speaking of muscles, strengthening them is critical to keeping those joints healthy. That helps our joints tolerate the stress of our activities. If your joints are pain-free and have full range of motion, you may be able to meet your muscular strength needs by performing the standard multi-joint strength exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats and deadlifts. If you have a joint that is not functioning properly, a physical therapist may recommend exercises that specifically target the muscles surrounding that joint.

Nutrition for Joint Health

We tend to think of inflammatory foods as only inflaming our digestive system, but the foods we eat are used throughout the body and they can have a profound effect on joints. Inflammation is a crucial step to the body’s ability to heal itself from injury. That’s all it’s meant to be: a step in a process. The problem is when inflammation becomes chronic due to factors like diet. Many experts are now linking certain ingredients in foods to joint inflammation. These include known public health enemies like sugar, refined carbohydrates, trans fats found in packaged snacks and fast food, omega-6 fatty acids found in various seed and vegetable oils, and additives like aspartame and MSG.

Luckily, experts have deemed many delicious foods anti-inflammatory. Nuts, leafy greens, berries, oranges, and tomatoes are regulars on anti-inflammatory foods lists, as are spices like ginger, garlic, and turmeric. And, for all the inflammation that Omega 6-fatty acids giveth, Omega-3 fatty acids — found in coldwater fish, eggs, and flaxseed oil — taketh away. What’s good for joints from a nutrition standpoint is a diet of anti-inflammatory staples.

Our joints are surrounded by ligaments, the connective tissue that connects bones to bones, stabilizes the body, communicates with the nervous system (which controls movement), and prevents improper joint movement. Ligaments are primarily composed of everyone’s favorite structural protein, collagen, which is also a major component of the cartilage that provides a cushion on the articulating surfaces of our joints, as well as the actual joint bones. Cells in the connective tissue and bones produce collagen at a rate that slows as we age, which is of course, when our ligaments, cartilage, and bones need more of it.

Vitamin C is an essential substance for the enzymes to catalyze the reaction that bonds a hydrogen-oxygen compound to an animo acid that forms collagen. Without adequate Vitamin C, our cells cannot produce collagen. That’s why Vitamin C has become such a hot supplement in the skin care world, as collagen is key to firm skin. Since it’s the same structural protein that makes up the connective tissue that protects our joints, more people are discovering the benefits of Vitamin C for joint health.

The nutrient choline is also essential to this process as it breaks down to the amino acid glycine, which is a crucial component of collagen production. Egg yolks are rich in choline, as are the phospholipids that encapsulate our Lypo-Spheric™ Vitamin C. In a 2000 study, researchers found that Vitamin A treatment stimulated collagen synthesis in skin cells. That’s an easy nutrient to get in a whole bunch of orange foods like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes and apricots.

powerful vitamin c delivery with carton of lypo-spheric vitamin c

Weight Management for Joint Health

If you have the diet and exercise down, this should be falling into line. And it’s the most critical factor in joint health as excess weight puts a massive toll on joints. Let’s take gout as an example. This painful, complex form of inflammatory arthritis has been historically known as the “disease of the kings.” Kings like Henry VIII, who was known for being just as gluttonous with food as he was with wives, suffered from this condition in his later years when a hunting injury sidelined him from his previous sporting pursuits. Gout flareups are triggered by an excess of uric acid. Extra weight makes the kidneys less efficient in removing uric acid than the aforementioned Henry was in removing wives.

Then there’s the day-to-day toll. The force on your knees when walking on level ground is 1.5 times your body weight, and 2–3 times when you’re walking on an incline or decline. According to the Arthritis Foundation, every pound of excess weight puts 4 extra pounds of pressure on the knees. So what’s good for joints? Having less “you” could be number one.

Why Improve Joint Health?

All the joints in our body are linked in what is called the kinetic chain. That phrase means exactly that it says. If a single link is broken, the whole chain suffers. Let’s say you’re Henry VIII. Because stepping down from the throne exerts the weight of your feast-loving bulk plus six wives (with all their heads still attached) on your knees, your body will compensate by taking the pressure off your knees that are taxed more than a bearded nobleman (yes, Henry the 8th imposed a graduated beard tax) and put it elsewhere. This is an altered movement pattern that can lead to overactive and underachieving muscles, which exacerbates the kinetic chain problems.

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, this can put you in what they call the “cumulative injury cycle,” which is also exactly what it sounds like.

What’s good for joints is an active lifestyle and conscious food choices. This includes exercising, building muscular strength, eating anti-inflammatory foods, and supplementing with nutrients like choline and Vitamin C that are critical to the processes that maintain healthy joints.

Doing what’s good for joints now can protect you in the future. Joint pain has a major effect on quality of life for older adults.

How to Get Energy Back When You’re Dealing With Stress

laptop, greens with egg, voodoo doll

Chronic stress can put you into a state of fatigue, making you lack the physical and mental motivation to accomplish all the items on that ever-growing checklist that’s partially to blame for causing the stress in the first place. Everyone is dealing with stress. Why does it seem like some people are thriving in spite of it?

It’s because they’ve figured out how to use other aspects of their lifestyle to put themselves in the best position to mitigate the negative effects of stress.

Optimizing your diet and lifestyle to persist in the face of constant stress can help you keep your energy levels as high as possible when constant stress is threatening to hold you down.

What to Do for Energy

Get a Massage

In a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, researchers found that cortisol decreased while serotonin and dopamine increased following massage. Cortisol is one of the hormones secreted to enable the fight or flight response to stressors. In today’s high-paced, constant-stress lifestyle, the prevailing theory (http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/111609p38.shtml ) is that our bodies are releasing way too much of this hormone, which can wreak havoc on our health. Health and stress experts have labeled this hormone as one of the factors responsible for stress making us tired. Serotonin and dopamine, on the other hand, are associated with feelings of energy and happiness.

Sleep Better, Longer

It seems fairly obvious that adequate sleep will help your energy levels, but quality sleep can be hard to come by when you’re dealing with stress. You know you need sleep, which can cause you to stress out about getting to sleep. In a 1997 study, researchers found that sleep loss causes cortisol levels to elevate the following evening. Higher cortisol levels can contribute to a racing mind, tense muscles, and a rapid heart beat, none of which are conducive to falling asleep. And people who get less sleep at night report more symptoms of stress during the day, including a lack of energy.

To ensure you get a full night’s sleep (between the recommended 7 and 9 hours), you’ll have to put yourself in he relaxed state that leads to falling asleep. That means shutting down devices that emit artificial light and stimulate your mind with a constant barrage of information. It means cutting the night-time caffeine that may seem necessary to power you through the evening hours, but is actually contributing to the cycle of stress-induced tiredness. The National Sleep Foundation recommends breathing and guided imagery exercises that help with relaxation by focusing attention.

Get Some Exercise

When you’re lacking energy, the last thing you want to do is engage in an activity that requires a pretty heavy dose of that depleted energy. Trust us: Getting over that initial motivation hurdle is worth it as exercise is crucial to maintaining an energy levels while dealing with stress.

Per Harvard Health, “Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.” The constant presence of those of stress hormones can lead to depleted energy and feelings of fatigue. Exercise also increases the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which can help the body’s ability to respond to stressors.

Numerous epidemiological studies have shown a strong positive relationship between exercise and energy levels. And it’s no particular type of exercise. 20 minutes of low-intensity stationary biking was shown to increase energy levels in sedentary people while moderate-to-vigorous activity has improved sleep.

Yoga, with its physical and mental demands, has been shown to increase energy levels and reduce cortisol levels in people with depression.

So, it’s not about the type of exercise you choose, but the mere act of engaging in regular physical activity that helps you recharge when you’re dealing with stress.

What to Eat for Energy

Numerous canned beverages purport to enhance your energy levels, but they are a short-term fix that can lead to more long-term problems. Sustained energy comes from a diet of the foods that optimize metabolic function.

Consume Nutrients that Support Metabolism

The B vitamins are crucial to your cells’ ability to convert food to energy. Vitamin B does not give you energy. Carbohydrates, fats, and protein (also known as food) give you energy. B vitamins support your cells in turning these macronutrients into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy your body needs to do just about everything.

The major B vitamins are B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. They’re what is called an “essential” nutrient, meaning that our bodies can’t produce them and we need to get them from diet. They’re pretty easy to come by in eggs, legumes, beef, poultry fish, leafy greens, and B complex supplements.

Our digestive system breaks all the food we consume into the simple sugar glucose, which the blood sends to the liver and muscles. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) helps to convert glucose into ATP energy. That means the food we eat is being used for its intended purpose, not sitting as fat around the midsection. ALA is naturally occurring in our bodies, but you can choose to supplement as it isn’t found in high doses in food.

Magnesium is another requirement for the ATP production process. Surveys consistently show that Americans are not getting their recommended daily allowance. That’s likely due to magnesium deficiencies in industrial farm soil and food processing that can strip out some of the magnesium-dense components. You can maximize your intake by opting for unrefined whole grains, leafy greens, nuts, legumes, and supplements.

The coenzyme Q10 is also critical to the energy conversion process. It occurs naturally in our bodies and in high levels in beef, poultry, and fish, so unless you’re taking a medication known to deplete the body of CoQ10 (like statins), supplementing probably isn’t necessary.

Iodine is vital to produce the thyroid hormones that control the body’s metabolism. This mineral is readily available in numerous foods, including fish, dairy, and grains.

Eat Carbs that Provide Long-Lasting Fuel

Eating for energy isn’t just about optimizing your energy production pathways, but also giving them a sustained source of fuel in the form of fats and carbohydrates. It’s important to be mindful of the types of carbs you’re consuming as they break down in varying speeds, which affects whether energy comes in spikes or sustained rates.

Let’s take the aforementioned energy drinks. A 12 oz. can of Red Bull has 37 grams of sugar and 0 grams of fiber. Sugar is the simplest of carbohydrates, so the process of breaking it down to glucose happens quickly. It floods your blood with glucose and causes an increase in the insulin necessary for glucose uptake in the muscles and liver. That’s part of the reason these energy drinks cause a spike of energy and a subsequent crash. Complex carbs contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals in the form of long molecular chains and thus take longer to convert to glucose, giving your body a more sustained fuel source.

Keeping your energy levels up while dealing with stress is critical to, well, dealing with stress. There are no quick fixes, just smart choices that optimize your body’s energy production system and give it the fuel it needs to run.

Can Stress Make You Tired?

man looking tired in bed

Short answer: Yes!

Long answer:

Our bodies have this wonderful function called the “fight or flight” response. It’s regulated by the adrenal glands, and its intention is to equip our bodies for those extreme stress situations in which we must fight or flee. The adrenal glands release stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline to prepare us to react. That’s where we get the alertness, the tension, the rush of energy that lets us do things in high-stress situations of which we didn’t know we were capable.

It’s just as critical for diving off the starting blocks in a 50m butterfly sprint for the gold as it is slamming on the brakes to avoid rear ending that reckless driver who swerved into your lane on the freeway. These hormones elicit the immediate response that lets us react in an instant. These high-stress situations — whether emergencies or competitions — resolve quickly. Your heart rate goes back to its resting level and your adrenal glands get to rest.

The problem is prolonged, chronic stress. The adrenal glands can treat constant stress from work, relationships and other daily worries like a life-or-death situation, constantly releasing the stress hormones and overworking themselves. That’s what’s called adrenal fatigue. It’s a whole system of the body working overtime. It gets tired.

And it’s not just the glands themselves responding to stress that can make you tired. The long-term secretion of stress hormones are also damaging to our energy levels.

The adrenal glands release adrenaline to increase the heart rate, blood pressure, and energy to prepare the body for action. The adrenaline rush can save our lives in a dark alley. It can also cause substantial disruption to our sleep when we’re lying in bed and our bodies are preparing to do battle with an assailant.

Cortisol is one of those stress hormones and it’s gotten a bad rap due to its unintended effects from chronic stress. It’s meant to increase the glucose in the bloodstream so the brain has the supplies it needs to respond in an emergency. Cortisol suppresses bodily functions deemed nonessential during these emergencies, like the immunity, digestion, and reproductive systems. This laser focus on the response to the immediate stressor is what helps us achieve the “life” in “life or death” situation. Again, this is detrimental when it’s on all the time.

As you would assume, being constantly in a state of high alert can disrupt sleep. You may know that your already-heavy workload increasing due to your manager’s upcoming maternity leave is not a life or death situation. Your body doesn’t get that nuance. It’s preparing for a litany of emails like it was a hail of bullets.

All these hormones cause your body to be in a state of mental and physical alertness. Our muscles go under tension to do things like brace for a punch in the gut. When that response doesn’t shut off, it’s as exhausting to the body as holding a plank all day.

Our brains become hyper alert on the response to the stress, working to process the thoughts surrounding the emergency. Again, vital for your survival if you are in a fight to the death on the edge of a cliff. Not so useful when you’re sitting on the couch after a long day at the office.

Chronic stress makes our bodies’ react like we’re constantly under siege. Our adrenal glands and all the body systems that stress hormones affect are convinced that if they don’t shut off, we will die. And that’s an exhausting way to live.

So, can stress make you tired? As much as a never-ending car chase.

What Produces Collagen? Hint: It’s Deeper than the Skin.

collagen molecules

Collagen is the most prevalent protein in the body. What produces collagen is a series of reactions in parts of the body where it’s needed, that occur at different rates as we age.

Ever wondered why our skin was so smooth and firm as children, even though mom scrubbed the dirt off our faces with bottom-shelf bar soap? Why we sled down hills with reckless abandon and rarely broke a bone while a slip in the bathtub in our later years is enough for the dreaded broken hip? Why our knees never ached, even when it rained?

It’s because our little bodies were replete with collagen, a naturally occurring structural protein made by a chemical reaction in our cells. As it’s responsible for firm skin, healthy joint cartilage, and strong bones, it’s in a constant cycle of production and use by these parts of the body.

As children, our bodies produced collagen in abundance, at a rate faster than we could use it. And, like so many processes in our bodies, our natural collagen production declines with age. While so many beauty companies are peddling topical creams and oils claiming to infuse collagen into the skin to restore elasticity and the elusive youthful appearance, collagen production does not occur on the surface. It’s a cellular process that transpires inside the body to yield the results on the outside, and infusing youthful productivity into an aging collagen factory requires more than surface treatment.

What produces collagen is a complex series of chemical reactions at the cellular level.

It starts with two amino acids, glycine and proline. These building blocks of protein form a stranded structure called procollagen, a precursor to collagen. A functional group containing hydrogen and oxygen atoms, called a hydroxyl group, bonds to the procollagen. This process is called hydroxylation, and it’s a critical step to forming the triple helix structure that is collagen.

The hydroxylation process is dependent on the presence of Vitamin C to function as a cofactor, a substance that is essential for the activity of an enzyme. In the case of collagen, the enzymes prolyl-4-hydroxylase and lysyl-hydroxylase are the catalysts for the reaction that bonds the oxygen-hydrogen group to the amino acids. Without Vitamin C, that reaction can’t occur and collagen can’t be formed.

What produces collagen is just as important as what breaks it down.

Cells in the skin, bones, and cartilage are in a constant cycle of creation and destruction of collagen. In the skin, fibroblasts produce the collagen while fibroclasts break it down. In the bones, the cycle is replicated by osteoblasts that assist bone formation and the osteoclasts that absorb the bone tissue. Chondroblasts are responsible for producing cartilage while, you guessed it, chondroclasts help the body use that cartilage. While it sounds negative, the destruction process is vital to putting the collagen to use in the areas of the body where it’s needed; namely the skin, bones, and joints. The problem is that as we age, the destruction accelerates while the production lags.

It’s supply and demand. And the body’s production line can’t keep up with the joints, skin, and bones that become more demanding of collagen as they age and continue to be exposed to the free radicals and other environmental damages that come with just existing.

So, what to do to help your body keep up with the demand? Well, the obvious answer is to give your body’s production facility the materials it needs to produce maximal collagen. As Vitamin C is essential to the process, ensuring that you get an adequate daily dose of this antioxidant can’t hurt. Be cognizant of the other lifestyle factors that can compromise your ability to produce collagen, like sun damage and the accumulation of free radicals.

Discover how to maximize your body’s absorption of this essential nutrient for collagen production with our Lypo-Spheric™ Vitamin C.

Do I Have a Vitamin C Deficiency?

We all know we need Vitamin C, but sometimes we just can’t get enough. It’s a powerful antioxidant, helping our bodies body defend against the harmful effects of free radicals and supporting overall good health. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may not be getting enough of this crucial vitamin.

multicolored bell peppers

Easy Bruising

When capillaries near the surface of the skin leak, bruises form. While some bruising is normal, unexplained or excessive marks may suggest weakened capillaries due to a lack of Vitamin C.

Dry, Splitting Nails or Hair

Just as healthy locks are usually a sign of a healthy diet, chronic bad hair days may suggest a dietary deficiency. Since hair is not an essential tissue, Vitamin C is conserved for more important tissues and organs first. If you don’t have enough Vitamin C, you won’t have enough left to fortify your hair.

Vitamin C also helps our bodies utilize iron. A lack of iron can lead to poor nail and hair health.

Wounds That Are Slow to Heal

If your scrapes or cuts seem slow to heal, it might be time to pay more attention to your diet. Collagen — the connective tissue that helps bind a healing wound — requires Vitamin C to form.

Bleeding, Inflamed or Swollen Gums

Low levels of Vitamin C are often linked to oral health issues, such as frequent mouth ulcers or irritated gums.

Rough, Dry, Irritated Skin

Low collagen levels due to insufficient Vitamin C intake can result in rough, dry skin. Low Vitamin C levels are also linked to skin conditions like keratosis pilaris — tiny, hard bumps on the legs, arms and face.

Unexplained Weight Gain

Insufficient Vitamin C in the bloodstream can cause increased body fat, particularly around the midsection.

Frequent Nosebleeds

Almost 100 percent of nosebleeds occur from capillaries located at the front of the nose. Since proper Vitamin C intake helps make these blood vessels less fragile, a lack of Vitamin C may lead to increased nosebleeds.

 

 

 

Worried you might not be getting enough Vitamin C? Check out these non-citrus surprising sources of vitamin C.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

What are the benefits of Liposomal Vitamin C?

Sure, Vitamin C helps to support a healthy immune system, but the benefits of Vitamin C are multifaceted. It’s a critical nutrient for healthy bones, skin, gums and even hair. Like many vitamins, Vitamin C is water soluble, which means that you must replenish the stores that are used or lost through your body’s natural processes. Much of the Vitamin C from standard pills and powders available in the drugstore encounter absorption barriers in the body and flush right out of your system. That’s why liposomal Vitamin C has become so popular; it delivers Vitamin C to your body in a protective casing that maximizes absorption.

The Importance of Vitamin C

Without vitamin C, your body would not be able to perform many of its most basic functions. Take collagen, which is essential for the health of your skin. Without Vitamin C, your body could not make it. It’s also important to keep your bones healthy and help you better absorb other vitamins and minerals, like iron.

How Liposomes Work for Vitamin Delivery

Liposomal vitamin C benefits the body by enabling better absorption. Liposomes are extremely small fatty particles that help to carry nutrients into the bloodstream and into your body’s cells. Liposomal vitamin C is created to work like a body cell as it moves through your system. The liposome is able to bypass the absorption barriers in your body, increasing the potential for delivering more vitamin C to your bloodstream and your body’s cells.

Boost the Effects of Liposomal Vitamin C

You can enhance liposomal vitamin C benefits by following a healthy diet that includes Vitamin C-rich foods. At this point, Vitamin C and citrus may as well be synonymous, but you can also find it in a variety of vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers and spinach if you prefer salad over sour.

As with any lifestyle change, you should always consult with your doctor before beginning a liposomal Vitamin C supplement regimen.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Side Effects of Vitamin B12

Your body relies on a specific balance of nutrients to perform vital processes, like cell renewal, that keep your body functioning at its best. While B12 is found in many common foods such as meat, eggs and fortified cereals, some of us may not be able to absorb enough of the nutrient for optimum functioning. When a B vitamin deficiency occurs, supplementation is an option for helping to ensure that you get enough of this nutrient each day.

Just be cognizant of the other elements of your diet and how they could interact with Vitamin B12 supplementation.

salmon with lemon and pepper

You Can Take Too Much Vitamin B12

Since Vitamin B is water-soluble, our bodies usually excrete excess amounts, making overdoses rare. If this occurs, the effects of a Vitamin B12 overdose can be unpleasant. Eye pain, abdominal discomfort and unusual fatigue are a few B12 side effects that indicate you may have taken too much. Severe side effects of a B12 overdose can include hives, increased sweating and an irregular heartbeat. If you have unusual symptoms after taking a vitamin, report the supplement you used to your physician.

Beware of Possible Medication Interactions

Tell your doctor about any supplements when you receive a new prescription, as several medications have adverse effects when taken with B12 supplements. Chemotherapy medications, long-term antibiotics and seizure preventatives can all increase your chances of experiencing B12 side effects. Certain over-the-counter medications, including pain relievers and stimulants, could interact with B12 supplements. Always use caution when starting a new supplementation routine and discuss your experiences with your doctor as needed.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

An Overview of B Complex Vitamins: Sources and Benefits

Eight different vitamins comprise the B complex, each serving important functions in our bodies. All the vitamins in the B complex are essential, meaning that our bodies can’t produce them. Fortunately, B vitamins are available in a plethora of delicious foods and supplements are easy to come by.

eggs and spinach

What Are the Different B Vitamins?

The eight main types of B vitamins include the following:

  • Thiamin (B1)
  • Riboflavin (B2)
  • Niacin (B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (B5)
  • Pyridoxine (B6)
  • Biotin (B7)
  • Folic Acid (B9)
  • Cobalamin (B12)

Typically, you can find at least one or more of the B complex vitamins in most foods, and a varied diet helps you ensure that you get each of the eight different types each day.

How Do They Work in My Body?

Each of the B complex vitamins serves a different role. For example, thiamin helps your body convert food into energy, and this B vitamin has been associated with promoting a more positive mindset. Currently, research is underway to understand the role that B complex vitamins play in the conversion process of turning homocysteine into methionine, which is one of the components your body uses to create protein. Your body also relies upon B complex vitamins to work with other nutrients such as vitamin C to support your eye, digestive and skin health.

What Are the Best Sources of B Complex Vitamins?

The ideal way to get the most B complex benefits is to include sources of these vitamins in your diet. Under most circumstances, eating a diet that includes a variety of meats, vegetables and fruits is enough for you to get the proper amounts of B vitamins each day. However, some factors can make you susceptible to developing a deficiency. If you have digestive disorders or drink alcohol regularly, you are at greater risk for developing a deficiency that requires supplementation. Since these vitamins are water soluble, your body’s stores may also run low if you hydrate excessively due to sports or other reasons. Milk, eggs, citrus fruits and lean meats are all excellent sources of B vitamins.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

B Complex Benefits: Skin, Hair and Overall Health

Beauty comes from within. Turns out that isn’t just a cliche. A balanced diet — rich in many vitamins — can help you achieve better skin, hair, and other beauty benefits. And when it comes to beauty benefits, think Vitamin B complex. It’s more than alliterative; this group of vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12) supports your body inside and out.

milk and cereal

 

Vitamin B Complex Benefits

B complex benefits range from helping to combat the effects of stress to supporting healthy immune and nervous systems. Additional B complex benefits include:

  • Promotes the normal growth and division of cells
  • Helps maintain healthy muscle and skin tone
  • Helps support the body’s metabolic rate
  • Helps boost your mood
  • Vitamin B12 has been found to help regulate pigment production in the skin (this can help prevent hyperpigmentation, which causes certain areas of the skin to darken)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) can help support healthy metabolism
  • Vitamin B5 helps you digest fats and protein
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin) helps maintain strong hair
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) helps the body absorb iron (a mineral that is essential for strong, healthy nails)
  • Helps convert carbohydrates into glucose (this translates into healthy energy levels)
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is an antioxidant

Issues Caused by a Deficiency in B Vitamins

While a diet rich in all forms of Vitamin B can help you look and feel better, a deficiency can have unpleasant consequences. Low Vitamin B levels can lead to stunted hair growth, slow cell division among hair follicles, and even hair loss.

A healthy diet can help ensure you are getting the right amount of B Vitamins, as can adding a Vitamin B Complex supplement. As with any supplement changes, it is always best to check with your physician first.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.