The human body is an incredibly complex and amazing machine capable of performing a vast amount of functions without our realizing it. One of the most abundant components of the human body are substances called proteins, which make up just under 20 percent of your body. These proteins can be manufactured by the human body using smaller molecules called amino acids, which are arranged in particular orders using the genetic code.
Use this as a guide to navigate what the genetic code is and how it combines amino acids to form the vital proteins that make up much of your body.
What Is the Genetic Code?
Every living thing stores important genetic information, called codes, within a specific material called DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA consists of various genes that ultimately instruct your body to perform certain functions. Proteins are often the molecules that are responsible for carrying out these functions.
For example, your DNA includes a specific genetic code that contains the instructions to create your unique skin color. That code is translated to a specialized protein–in this case, a protein called melanocortin 1 receptor. This protein uses your genetic code to signal to cells called melanocytes what type and amount of melanin to produce . Therefore, differences in the genetic code for melanocortin 1 receptor proteins will affect your skin and hair color. This is what gives us our unique characteristics.
How Are Proteins Made?
Before proteins are able to carry out specialized functions, however, they need to be produced. There are two primary steps that go into this process: transcription and translation.
Transcription occurs when DNA is transcribed to a messenger material called RNA, or ribonucleic acid. Then, RNA is responsible for translating the genetic messages contained in DNA into a specific sequence of amino acids. This combination of amino acids forms a protein.
The unique combination and order in which amino acids are assembled via this process will determine the type of protein that is manufactured. Collagen, for instance, is one of the most abundant proteins in your body. Collagen consists of exactly 1050 amino acids that are wound around each other in a triple helix structure. This amino acid sequence is a repeating motif of glycine-proline-X, where X can stand for any amino acid, depending on the specific type of collagen and its function .
Amino Acids, Collagen, and the Skin
Collagen is also one of the two primary proteins that make up the firm, elastic structure of your skin. Although your body uses its genetic code to continually synthesize collagen proteins, this process begins to slow with age and exposure to certain age-accelerants such as UV light, air pollution, and cigarette smoke.
Because of this, the skin begins to lose its firm, youthful texture and may give way to the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. These effects, however, are both preventable and reversible. In order to prevent signs of aging in the first place, avoid external factors that can cause them. In fact, an estimated 80 percent of all visible signs of aging are caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays .
After years of sun exposure, however, these effects may have already set in. To help restore a smoother and younger-looking complexion, you can add amino acids to your diet and topical skin care products to increase collagen production within your skin.
AminoGenesis Therapeutic Facial Repair, for instance, is an anti-aging moisturizing cream that contains a unique blend of plant-derived amino acids to help nourish your skin and boost its natural production of collagen. Use this formula to see a significant improvement in the appearance of expression lines, deep wrinkles, sagging skin and discoloration.
In addition, you can eat foods rich in amino acids such as avocados, eggs, lean meat, and nuts to help nourish your body and skin with the nutrients it needs to properly carry out gene expression and perform all of the unique functions that keep you healthy, happy, and active.