Imagine a bustling construction site where diligent workers are busily assembling the framework for a magnificent skyscraper. Now, envision that each worker is an amino acid, tirelessly operating as the “building blocks” of proteins in our bodies. These dynamic components don’t just clock in and clock out – they’re involved in a multitude of metabolic processes, meticulously crafting cell structures and functions. Their pièce de résistance? The radiant, resilient skin they help to create. Such is the power and significance of amino acids in our pursuit of optimal skin health.

When we think about proteins associated with youthful, clear, vibrant skin, we often first think of keratin, or corneocytes–the “dead” flattened keratinocytes that are ready to slough off, or the dermal proteins associated with youth, collagen, and elastin. What if we told you that if you want all THOSE proteins to function their best, you need to start with the more basic building blocks of protein? It’s true–for optimal proliferation and function of these proteins, the focus needs to be on amino acids more than those end-proteins themselves. Let’s break that down!


Woman using amino acid oil on healthy skin

The role of amino acids in skin health

Amino acids all directly nourish the human body, nails, hair, and skin. These organic compounds offer numerous benefits for skin health, including:

1. Collagen production: Amino acids like glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline are critical for collagen production. Collagen, a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin, relies heavily on these amino acids. As we age, our collagen production slows down, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. We can support our body’s natural collagen synthesis by ensuring a sufficient intake of these specific amino acids.

2. Maintaining a healthy pH balance: Amino acids help maintain the skin’s pH balance, which is crucial for a healthy skin barrier. This balance helps the skin stay hydrated and defends against external irritants and pathogens.

3. Combating the effects of aging: Some amino acids function as antioxidants, fighting off free radicals that can cause oxidative stress and premature aging in the skin. For example, methionine, an essential amino acid, has antioxidant properties that help protect the skin from damage.

4. Promoting healthy skin and nail growth: Amino acids are vital for producing keratin, a protein that promotes healthy skin and nail growth. Our bodies cannot produce enough keratin without adequate amino acids, leading to dry, brittle nails and dull skin.


foods rich in amino acids

Sources of amino acids

The human body requires 20 different amino acids, divided into two categories: non-essential and essential.

Non-Essential Amino Acids: These are synthesized by our bodies and, therefore, do not need to be obtained from our diet. They include alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid, among others.

Essential Amino Acids: These cannot be produced by our bodies and must be obtained through our diet or supplements. They include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Incorporating a variety of foods rich in both essential and non-essential amino acids is key for optimal skin health. These include lean meats, dairy products, eggs, soy, quinoa, and beans.


foods rich in collagen

In the grand scheme of skin health, it’s easy to get dazzled by the spotlight shining on popular proteins like keratin, collagen, and elastin.

We admire their roles in maintaining youthful, vibrant skin and often focus our efforts on boosting these specific proteins. But what if the secret to truly radiant skin lies not in these well-known stars, but in the diligent, behind-the-scenes crew? Yes, we’re talking about amino acids – the unsung heroes of protein synthesis.

Just as a magnificent skyscraper rests on the strength of its foundation, the efficacy of our skin’s proteins relies on the robustness of these basic building blocks. By shifting our focus to amino acids, we’re investing in the core of our skin’s health. It’s a game-changing perspective that could redefine your skincare strategy.

So, let’s lift the curtain and give these tireless workers the recognition they deserve. Remember, a well-nourished construction site thrives – and so does your skin. Here’s to celebrating the power of amino acids and unlocking the potential for truly optimal skin health!

Do you want to learn more about what micronutrients are needed for healthy, youthful skin?

We teach this extensively in our professionally accredited Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program! Learn more and enroll here.