Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that are integral for a number of vital processes in your body, and especially in your skin. There are 2 categories of aminos: essential and non-essential amino acids.
The 9 Essential amino acids are those that we need to source from various plant and animal-based products, because our body does not produce them.
The 11 Non-essential amino acids doesn’t mean that they’re not important, it simply means we don’t need to find them from foods and supplements, because our bodies are able to produce them.
Whether produced internally or applied topically, amino acids help to strengthen the immune system, maintain the skin’s hydration, resilience and an overall healthy appearance. They protect skin from free-radical damage and reduce signs of aging. There are various types of amino acids, and each one has a different job to do for your skin. The most common amino acids to look out for in beauty products are:
Lysine – Firms your skin, providing anti-aging benefits.
Histidine – Provides antioxidant benefits.
Glycine – Improves the skin’s elasticity.
Arginine – Helps to repair your skin.
Leucine – Helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Glutamine – Repairs the skin’s barrier function and provides moisture.
Glycylglycine – Helps to normalize pore size
So, as you have probably guessed by now, amino acids are incredibly important when it comes to maintaining healthy skin. Not only does it improve our skin, they are vital for functions throughout your body, including muscle protein synthesis, tissue repair, and nutrient absorption. Some may also help prevent muscle loss, support recovery after surgery, and improve mood, sleep, and athletic performance. How do we get the aminos we need? Look for foods that contain all nine essential amino acids, these are called complete proteins. These foods include beef, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, soy, quinoa and buckwheat.