Amino acids and their significance for Anti-aging
Beautiful skin, firm nails and shiny hair are certainly symbols for health and natural beauty. In order to keep them this way for as long as possible and to delay the aging process, a supply of certain nutrients is important. As the skin is a reflection of our metabolism, it is sensitive to any changes which may occur. Allergic reactions, infections or poor circulation and oxygen supply are quickly recognisable on the skin by a pale complexion, coarse-pores and sagginess.
The right amino acid mix acts like a repair treatment from within. This is confirmed by various studies which stress the importance amino acids have to keep the hair healthy and the skin firm.1,2,3
Amino acids supply nutrients to nourish the skin, hair and nails from within the body. This procedure strengthens connective tissue and keeps the skin smooth and elastic, the nails firm and the hair strong.
Creatine supports skin functions and stimulates collagen production
Creatine plays an important role for healthy skin. It is produced from the amino acids arginine and methionine, which are in turn a part of carnitine. Creatine is found naturally in the body and is particularly important for the energy metabolism of the cells. A person who weighs around 11 stone (70 kg) has around 120g of creatine in their body, especially concentrated in the tissue and cells with a high turnover of energy such as the muscles, brain or immune cells. The skin, which is the biggest organ, requires creatine to carry out its functions effectively. Creatine provides the cells with energy and thereby supports the regeneration of connective tissue, cells and metabolism of the skin.
As we age, cell division slows down and instead of every 28 days the cells are only renewed every 30 to 40 days (from age 40 onwards). This reduces the number of new cells which are needed for a youthful appearance. The number of supporting fibres in the tissue- collagen and elastin – already begin to decrease from aged 25. The constant assembly and degradation processes are shifted away until more cells are broken down than are produced. UV rays, free radicals and aggressive oxygen compounds also damage the skin, resulting in the tissue becoming weaker, the skin less elastic and wrinkles forming.
The amino acids arginine and carnitine form creatine
When the amino acids arginine and carnitine form creatine, natural skin functions are supported and the cells are stimulated to produce more collagen and elastin. Cells which are supplied with creatine are capable of repairing damaged DNA. Furthermore, creatine can protect the cells from harmful substances by surrounding them with a film of water. This allows the skin to replenish lost moisture. The importance of creatine for the formation of collagen is also prominent. This endogenous protein forms a fibre net, protects the connective tissue and is responsible for firm skin and strong ligaments, tendons and cartilage. Above all, collagen increases the ability to store water in the skin. Creatine stimulates endogenous collagen production. This allows the skin to connect more moisture, become thicker and have a smooth, fresh and wrinkle-free appearance.4
Glutamine regulates the acid-base balance and firms the skin
A balanced diet is a pre-condition for healthy skin. A supply of important nutrients slows down the aging process of the skin and supports the regeneration of the cells. It is however often the case that our diets are unbalanced or unhealthy. Coffee, nicotine or excess meat consumption can lead to hyperacidity. The acid-base is thrown off balance and cells and tissues are destroyed. Amino acids can contribute significantly to a balanced acid-base balance, by neutralising the acids. Unfortunately, the availability of amino acids decreases with age and they are increasingly extracted from their own stores. Muscles and skin lose their elasticity, often resulting in hair loss and wrinkles forming.
Glutamine is the deciding factor when trying to regulate the acid-base balance. This amino acid can drive off poisonous ammonia in the kidneys. A basic ammonia molecule combines a proton acid and is eliminated. Through this, one acid is expelled from the body, while the bicarbonate is preserved, which is beneficial as it is needed for endogenous neutralisation of acids. Glutamine therefore supports the regulation of the acid-base balance. It is also important for firm skin.5
Although glutamine can be produced by the body, it is not able to produce it in sufficient quantities as we age. The consequences are alarming as the substance is responsible for the production of protein. If there is not enough glutamine available, the body takes the necessary protein from the muscles and turns it into glutamine and energy. This means that muscle protein gets lost, muscle strands become thinner and the skin loses its elasticity. The aging skin can be compared to a plant which withers and dries up. Glutamine can slow this process down, which is why scientists refer to it as the “fountain of youth from within”.6
Carnitine supports the transfer of fat to energy
The amount of fat in our bodies increases as we age. It is therefore important to do sport to keep fit. Carnitine can also help with weight control as it improves the transport of fatty acids as fuel to be burned off. This is why it is often referred to as a “fatburner”. When combined with movement, carnitine can contribute to an increased rate of fat burning. This is why it is an important aspect of fitness and wellness programs.7
1Saini, R. & Zanwar, A. A. (2013) Arginine Derived Nitric Oxide: Key to Healthy Skin, Bioactive Dietary Factors and Plant Extracts in Dermatology (pp. 73-82)
2Evangeliou, A. & Vlassopoulos, D. (2003) Carnitine Metabolism and Deficit – When Supplementation is Necessary? Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Volume 4, issue 3, (pp. 211-219)
3Reda, E., D'Iddio, S., Nicolai, R., Benatti, P. & Calvani, M. (2003) The Carnitine System and Body Composition Acta Diabetol, issue 40, (pp. 106-103)
4Williams, J.Z., Abumrad, N. & Barbul, A. (2002) Effect of a Specialized Amino Acid Mixture on Human Collagen Deposition Annals of Surgery, Volume 236, issue 3, (pp. 369-375)
5Welbourne, T.C. (1995) Increased plasma bicarbonate and growth hormone after an oral glutamine load The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 61, issue 5, (pp. 1058-1061)
6Bowtell, J.L., Gelly, K., Jackman, M.L., Patel, A., Simeoni, M., Rennie, M.J. (1999) Effect of oral glutamine on whole body carbohydrate storage during recovery from exhaustive exercise Journal Of Applied Physiology, Volume 86, issue 6, (pp. 1770-1777)
7Müller, D.M., Seim, H., Kiess, W., Löster, H. & Richter, T. (2002) Effects of Oral l-Carnitine Supplementation on In Vivo Long-Chain Fatty Acid Oxidation in Healthy Adults Metabolism, Volume 51, issue 11, (pp. 1389-1391)