There’s no doubting the fact that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can be hugely beneficial for your overall health and wellness. However, some research suggests that vegans and vegetarians may actually age faster than their meat-eating counterparts because of missing key ingredients in their diets–namely, complete proteins. Here is an overview of the ways in which a plant-based diet could be contributing to premature signs of aging, as well as what you can do to help restore a younger and more radiant look and feel to your skin.
Complete vs. Incomplete Proteins
The primary difference between complete and incomplete proteins is that complete proteins contain all nine of the essential amino acids that our bodies can not innately produce, but require in order to properly function. Incomplete proteins, on the other hand, do not contain all nine of these amino acids in the proportions needed for good health. While animal sources of protein are considered complete, only a few plant sources are complete. These include soy, quinoa, and amaranth [1, 2]. Many other plant protein sources, however, are incomplete, meaning that you would need to eat a wide variety of plants to get all nine of the essential amino acids that your body needs. The concern is that many vegans and vegetarians do not eat a sufficient variety of foods to obtain all the essential amino acids. This may contribute to a number of health and skin problems, including dry, cracked skin, lines, wrinkles, and nearly all other signs of skin aging.
The Link between Diet and Aging
In addition to a limited supply of plant-based complete proteins, we all tend to eat fewer proteins of all kinds as we get older. In fact, an estimated 35 percent of men and women over the age of 65 do not obtain adequate amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals from their diets and are therefore considered malnourished . To add to this concern, the rate at which our bodies are able to synthesize new proteins gradually declines as we age, making it even more important that we consume enough proteins of high biological value in our diet to make up for this decline in protein turnover rates . Vegetarians and vegans may need to work a little harder to be sure that they get a good supply of the amino acids necessary for good health. They also need to be aware that highly processed foods, including many frozen meat substitutes, contain refined starchy carbohydrates, which can trigger the process of glycation . During glycation, sugar molecules attach to and damage proteins like collagen and elastin. Because these proteins are responsible for giving the skin its smooth, supple, youthful structure and texture, glycation can be highly detrimental to your skin’s overall appearance.
How to Increase Your Skin’s Amino Acid Content
Whether or not you choose to eat a strictly plant-based diet, the fact of the matter is that many of us are not getting enough of the complete proteins, especially as we age, that we need for excellent skin health and appearance. The good news is that topically applied amino acids can help compensate. The right combination of the 20 amino acids needed for protein synthesis, as found in AminoGenesis products, can help to restore a more youthful and healthier-looking complexion. Just some of the many benefits of topical amino acids for the skin include:
- Increased collagen production
- Free radical protection
- Improved skin hydration
- Improved barrier function of the skin
- Accelerated wound healing
The Bottom Line
Eating a balanced diet that incorporates a wide range of proteins in order to obtain all of the essential amino acids is important not only for our skin’s appearance but also for the overall health and wellness of our entire bodies. In particular, vegans and vegetarians need to pay special attention to their diets to ensure optimal skin health, function, and appearance. If you notice that your skin, hair, and nails are dry, brittle, and lackluster, you may have an amino acid deficiency. Support your skin health by including expertly formulated topical amino acid skincare products in your everyday routine.