True story: I thought my dad was The Hulk when I was growing up. A mild mannered Bruce Banner but made of pure muscle. He was a dad for all seasons. Hiking & climbing in the summer, fishing in ice cold streams in the autumn, cross country & downhill skiing in the winter and hang gliding over the newly thawed lakes in the spring. I used to hang off his arm like it was a chin up bar. I couldn’t imagine anyone stronger.
Growing up, free ranging in the Midwest of America, he had of course developed the base of those superpower dad skills during his own childhood. He had competed at the highest level of sport and eventually coached those same sports he had excelled at, and then went onto coach me through my teens, enduring sub zero temps and fired up side-lines.
An unstoppable duo, together we have trekked through South East Asia. I give you an image of my dad – twice the size of our guides - on his hands and knees squeezing through crevices that I could not bring myself to attempt. The two of us scaling mountain ranges, sweating, lifting, and hauling side by side. It never occurred to me that he would ever slow down. However, all those years of extreme activity finally caught up with him. In my mid-thirties I noticed he was compiling a list of injuries, scar tissue and enduring nerve damage that inevitably brought him to a halt.
At that point, I was well into my career in sports nutrition and began actively looking for things to help cure him. I couldn’t imagine my own children not climbing and swinging from him like a jungle gym. He too craved to keep his title as World Strongest Dad, but his body was failing him. After countless years of frustrating searches, numerous doctors’ appointments and mindboggling pain relief prescriptions that he mostly refused to take, he finally went under the knife, not once, but 3 times.
My daughter was born in 2008, my parent’s first grandchild. I remember my dad being afraid to hold her because the nerves in his back would spasm and cause him to fall. It was so heart breaking. Shortly after this he underwent the first of his spinal procedures; a Spinal Stenosis surgery. We waited nervously to see if this would be the cure. It wasn’t. He had to endure 2 more: In 2015 he underwent surgery again, this time a Spondylolisthesis of the Lumbar.
All of these measures brought short time relief, if you could call it that, but then pain spasms would return compromising his mobility and his patience. In 2021 after a lot of advocating by my mother, Dad was admitted for an experimental surgery at Dartmouth University Hospital. He underwent the trial and then the implantation of the Spinal Cord Stimulator. It’s not perfect but does help.
But 2021 was also a crucial year for Dad. He started taking a daily dose of 10g of Pura Collagen’s Flex+
and the benefits of our two collagen peptides on ‘white tissue’ got to work. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body making up 30% of our total proteins. It is the scaffolding keeping the structure of skin, tendon, ligaments & cartilage together. Our bodies production of cartilage declines between 1-2% per year from our mid 20’s. By the time my dad reached 70 his body had naturally lost well over 60% of his total body collagen and that was made more extreme because he had accumulated many years of wear and tear due to competitive level sport and training. Quite frankly, where his will was winning first place, his body was coming in last.
When he began supplementing with Flex+, he noticed he could move better within a few weeks – not just with less pain – but also with more efficiency. Bending became easier, reaching was an ease and carrying out day-to-day tasks were no longer painful. This is all because those amazing fibroblasts
(cells in connective tissue which produce collagen and other fibres) were getting to work! He was making collagen fibres to replace what was depleted and damaged.
Here’s what we know because the science says so - not all collagens are created equal
: Bioactive Collagen Peptides® show effects (e.g. reduced joint pain) that generic collagen peptides are not able to show, even when doubling the daily dose. Dad didn’t need more of a particular supplement, he needed the exact
amount of what he was getting in his daily serving of Flex+! Study after study
proved the positive and restorative effects of Fortigel® on cartilage, but joint disfunction tends to be from 3 main ‘tissue issues’. So in addition to 5g Fortigel®, we added 5g of Tendoforte® which specifically targets tendon and ligament tissue. Tendoforte® has been on professional and Olympic athlete’s road to recovery check list for years. These specific peptides stimulate the white tissue cells in tendons and ligaments to produce new collagen matrix proteins, which helps sportspeople to train at high intensity, while minimising activity related wear and tear of the white tissue.
We also added 2 key supporting players, vitamin C and manganese that play crucial support roles in aiding our Bioactive Collagen Peptides® most specifically with bone health. My sister has 2 children under 3 years old and my superhuman dad is once again a climbing frame, piggyback giver, seesaw balancing, active grandpa. He only requires 2 scoops of flex+, cake and the occasional nap😉.