The Insider's Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Collagen: Fad or Fountain of Youth?

Collagen is a naturally occurring protein that diminishes with age.

collagen powder

Medically reviewed in February 2022

Collagen is praised for its anti-aging, joint and gut health benefits. Some Hollywood celebrities even attribute their glowing, dewy skin to the protein. So, is collagen just the latest and greatest in health food trends? Or should you start adding collagen powder to your morning espresso or oatmeal? Let’s take a look.

Breaking it down
Your body naturally produces collagen in your muscles, tendons, skin and bones. Collagen is a protein that keeps the body’s strength and structure firm and intact.

Defying age
Your body’s production of collagen starts to diminish in your 20s, and the quality of collagen decreases more as we age. Think of collagen fibers like elastic—over time these fibers lose their elasticity and become dull. The decline in quality results in more wrinkles and aching bones and joints. You can maintain your collagen with a healthy, protein-filled diet, staying hydrated and smoke-free. Sun damage depletes collagen too, so opt for the shade or forgo that beach day altogether.

Rethinking food
Many are turning to snacks that promote collagen, but the ultimate collagen source is animal protein. Try adding a bowl of steamy bone broth to your next meal or indulge in a hearty piece of steak for a boost of natural collagen. And if you’re vegan, there’s collagen for you, too. Try seaweed snacks or adding furikake or nori to your meals.

Getting a boost
Sales of food, vitamins and supplements containing collagen are booming. Last year, hundreds of collagen-filled products were introduced in the market. Many brands are also turning collagen into powder, which can be added to smoothies, baked goods, tea, energy bars and even gummies.

So, is collagen right for you? Like anything, it’s best to consume in moderation and consult your doctor with questions. Collagen may not make you forever young, but it could help keep you feeling healthy and looking young.

This content originally appeared on wellbeinghi.com.

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