Amino Me, Amino My
I don’t know about you but, when I hear the words “amino acids”, I think protein drinks and bodybuilders. I don’t really think of them as something I need.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I need protein in my diet but it’s not something I actually think about supplementing.
It wasn’t until one day I was doing research for one of Dr. Sears’ skin-care products. He wanted to create a topical filler.
So I went to work researching ingredients. It was at that time that I came across an amazing study about an amino acid called creatine. The study showed that it had significantly reduced saggy jowls and cheeks in men. In six weeks!
I was excited about the study.
Pour some creatine on me!
But I had to scratch my head.
So many thoughts went through my mind – why did they do the study on men? Men care about their saggy jowls? Do they even know what a jowl is? And men are so lucky. They can just grow a beard and poof, it’s hidden.
Well, needless to say, I brought the study to Dr. Sears and he was as thrilled as I was. So creatine went into his new formula ( Restore ).
But my curiosity didn’t stop there. I started really looking at amino acids for the skin.
You see, I feel like I have a couple of areas of my body that were aging a little faster than others. I can’t put serum all over. Serums usually come in small bottles, typically for the face, and are too expensive to use on the whole body. Plus I have yet to find a body serum.
So I started really reading about amino acids. What they do, how they do it, and which ones are conducive to tighter, plumper skin that is more youthful.
But first I wanted to understand what they are.
You see, the body consists of 20% protein. There are many different proteins and the one thing all proteins have in common is that they have a chain of amino acids. Amino acids are the building block of protein.
The body requires 20 different types of amino acids. The body makes some amino acids while others you get from your diet.
There are nine essential amino acids that your body does not make. They are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine (which becomes cysteine), phenylalanine (which becomes tyrosine), threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
The other amino acids you get from protein. The stomach breaks it down to form individual amino acids. Your cells then take the amino acids and reassembles them to make new protein.
Here’s where the interesting part comes in – amino acids are capable of forming and repairing muscles, tissues and organs. They are essential to the body’s metabolic and immune systems. They also transport nutrients and oxygen through the body.
I was so fascinated by everything I was reading. I knew there had to be a connection between anti-aging and amino acids.
I could write so much about amino acids and the role they play in good health (mental and physical) and anti-aging, but for today’s purpose, I want to focus on how we can make the skin look better.
Through my research I have learned that amino acids can actually repair the skin from within. Certain amino acids’ function is to supply nutrients to strengthen and build collagen and elastin. This helps keep the skin smooth and tight.
The first amino acid I want to tell you about is glutamine (l-glutamine). It’s the most abundant amino acid in the body and has a high content of antioxidants.
Glutamine is made by the body but the production slows down with age. Glutamine is also found in beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, dairy products, wheat, cabbage, beets, beans, spinach, and parsley.
Glutamine stimulates collagen and enables the production of glutathione. Glutathione prevents cell damage and protects against free radicals.
Amino acid studies report that, if there is not enough glutamine, the body takes the necessary protein from muscle mass and converts it to glutamine and energy. This leads to muscle proteins being lost, muscle strands becoming thinner and the skin becoming saggy.
And according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, glutamine is safe for adults over 18. Doses of 500 mg, 1 – 3 times daily, are generally considered safe. Doses as high as 5,000 – 15,000 mg daily (in divided doses), or sometimes higher, may be prescribed by a healthcare provider for certain conditions.
Other amino acids called branched-chain amino acids, also known as BCAA, are essential amino acids that consist of leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
BCAAs are mostly used by bodybuilders because it boosts muscle strength and performance.
What’s great is that the research is moving forward with BCAAs and proving that they don’t just belong in the gym.
BCAAs are helping type-2 diabetics manage their glucose. They also support a healthy nervous system and are being used in cancer and liver disease treatment strategies.
But the reason I’m telling you about BCAAs is because a recent study showed that, when combined with glutamine and arginine (l-arginine), collagen was significantly increased.
Not only was the collagen increased, the combination of amino acids was able to repair skin damaged by UV irradiation. The amino acids were able to build collagen, repair tissue, boost oxygen to the cells and improve wound healing.
I have to say I am now looking at amino acids and protein drinks a little differently. In fact, so much so, that I have replaced one of my daily cups of coffee for one.
If you start using amino acids to help your skin, let me know how it’s going. I love hearing from you.
To a younger more healthy you!
Peirano RI, et. al. Dermal penetration of creatine from a face-care formulation containing creatine, guarana and glycerol is linked to effective antiwrinkle and antisagging efficacy in male subjects. J Cosmet Dermatol. December 2011.
Fred Kummerow, PhD. Protein: Building Blocks of the Body. The Weston A Price Foundation. October 2011.
Hitoshi Murakami, et. al. Importance of amino acid composition to improve skin collagen protein synthesis rates in UV-irradiated mice. US National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. June 2012.
Karna E, et. al. The potential mechanism for glutamine-induced collagen biosynthesis in cultured human skin fibroblasts. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. August 2001.