Derived from the German words haar and haut, which mean “hair” and “skin” respectively, the name “vitamin-H” has long been attributed to biotin, a specific type of vitamin B that has been shown to possess a wide range of benefits for the health and beauty of your skin, hair and nails. Biotin is readily available from a variety of food sources, but without amino acids and various enzymes, its synthesis would not be able to occur.
Here is an overview of the ways in which amino acids are commonly involved in the synthesis of other important molecules, including biotin, and how this vitamin and topically-applied amino acids could benefit your skin.
Amino Acids as Precursors
It’s difficult to discuss the synthesis of a large variety of proteins and other molecules without addressing amino acids, as these tiny ingredients are involved in the creation of a wide range of molecularly larger substances. When this happens, the specific amino acids involved in this process are considered “precursors,” meaning that they are key ingredients needed in order for the right chemical reactions to occur to produce the desired outcome.
The amino acid tyrosine, for example, is a precursor to melanin, the pigment that gives our skin and hair their unique colors. It’s also an essential precursor to the hormones thyroxine and epinephrine . In the same sense, the amino acid alanine is a precursor to biotin, meaning that it is directly involved in its creation in nature . In addition to alanine, there are several specific enzymes that also need to be present in order to form biotin, but if any one of these ingredients is missing, the correct reaction cannot occur. Biotin then fulfills its functions in cell growth, fatty acid synthesis, and metabolism .
Thus, an easy way to think of amino acids as precursors is like baking a cake. You need to combine every individual ingredient in just the right way in order to make your cake turn out correctly. One small deviation from your recipe, and you could end up with a drastically different outcome, such as a cake that won’t rise, is too dry, or crumbles.
Symptoms of Biotin Deficiency
Although biotin deficiencies are rare, they can happen if you’re not eating enough of the foods that contain this vitamin, which include eggs, wild salmon, cheese, avocado, raspberries, and yeast. The most common symptoms of biotin deficiency include:
- Dry, flaky skin
- Hair loss
- Brittle nails
- Muscle aches
- Impairments in cognitive function
The Importance of a Well-Rounded Amino Acid Formula
Many amino acids are like biotin in that they need to be obtained from external sources in order for our bodies and skin to function properly. Because amino acids are the precursors to so many different proteins and other molecules, getting enough of these ingredients through diet, supplements, and topical products is crucial for excellent skin health and beauty.
Considering the cake baking analogy once more, remember that many ingredients need to come together for a good result. Likewise, a high-quality amino acid skin care formula is going to deliver a large number of the 20 amino acids in the genetic code in order to yield the most comprehensive results. Otherwise, including just one or two aminos in your skin care routine isn’t likely to have a dramatic effect on its appearance.
So when you’re shopping for amino acid skin care products, be sure to read the ingredients list. As is the case with the AminoGenesis collection, you should see a wide range of different aminos listed to ensure that you’re getting an effective formula.
The Bottom Line
The human body is a complex machine that requires a vast number of moving pieces in order to optimize its health and appearance. At the heart of all proteins and many other vitamins and nutrients needed for excellent function lies amino acids–powerful little molecules that can pack a punch when it comes to getting the smooth, healthy-looking skin you’ve always wanted. Their involvement in biotin synthesis is just one of the countless ways that amino acids play central roles in our skin’s health.
If you’re interested in learning more about amino acids in skin care, and to receive special offers on AminoGenesis products, sign up today to become an AminoGenesis Insider.