What are amino acids?
Amino acids are molecular structures that are the building blocks of proteins. There are 20 amino acids that combine in configurations to make countless proteins - these proteins go on to facilitate processes like breaking down food, repair body tissues, and catalyze reactions .
Out of the 20 amino acids needed to build proteins - there are some that the body can synthesize and others that need to be in our food or supplemented.The amino acids that our body can make are called non-essential amino acids, while the amino acids we cannot make are called essential amino acids.
Non essential amino acids:
- Aspartic acid
- Glutamic acid
Essential amino acids:
Amino acids in relation to skin health
Amino acids have a pivotal role in skin health.Important skin components - such as collagen and elastin are composed of amino acids .In response to UV damage, the amino acids that make up collagen and elastin fibers are damaged - leading to sagging and wrinkly skin. Proper amino acid incorporation aids in repairing acute or chronic UV damage and maintaining healthy skin appearance.
Amino acids play an important role in :
- Wound healing and repairing damaged skin
- pH balance and water retention in skin cell layers
- Protection against sun damage
- Maintenance of the skin microbiome
Best amino acids for skin
So what amino acids are best for skin? Well, that depends on your area of concern :
- Arginine: helps torestore visible skin damage
- Histidine: soothes skin and provides antioxidants
- Methionine: protects skin from harmful substances
- Lysine: strengthens skin surface
- Proline/Leucine/Glycine: reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
The best ways to get amino acids needed for skin and overall health is through a balanced and well planned diet. Other than diet, incorporating eye and face creams with amino acids is a good way to apply amino acids directly to the skin .
- Solano F. Metabolism and Functions of Amino Acids in the Skin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2020;1265:187-199. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-45328-2_11. PMID: 32761577.