Most of us are familiar with the common human tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter. But did you know that there is another taste that describes certain amino acids? This “fifth taste” is umami, and it plays an important role in our health, wellness, and even the appearance of our skin. Here’s how.
What Is Umami?
Until fairly recently, sweet, salty, sour, and bitter were the four known human tastes. Then, in 2009, scientists concluded that humans also have a receptor for a fifth taste–umami . This is the savory taste that is characteristic of a hearty soup, for example, and other protein-rich foods including cheese, meat, mushrooms, peas, and tomatoes. Broths and soups, however, are known as some of the strongest sources of umami, and experts say that this has to do with the release of amino acids that occurs with slow cooking .
In particular, umami describes the taste of the amino acid L-glutamate. Although individuals may have more or less sensitivity to the taste receptor for umami, research shows that this “fifth taste” is essential for human nutrition. This is because amino acids like glutamine are the building blocks of proteins. Nearly all systems within the human body rely on proteins to function properly and maintain optimum health, including our skin.
Craving Umami? It Could Be an Amino Acid Deficiency
So what happens when our bodies lack sufficient amino acids? Without the right balance of the 20 amino acids that are used to synthesize proteins, you may experience a number of adverse effects, including muscle loss, fatigue, difficulty recovering from an infection, and poor skin and hair conditions.
Thus, umami may serve a biological function to help humans recognize and satisfy their need to consume enough protein in order to properly function. This doesn’t necessarily mean that just because you’re craving stew you must be deficient in amino acids. However, if you notice that you can’t seem to get enough of these foods, your body may be trying to tell you something.
Equally important to note is the fact that as we age, our bodies naturally synthesize fewer proteins, which can contribute to these same deleterious effects. This is also the reason why lines, wrinkles and sagging skin are common signs of skin aging, as the amount of available collagen–a key protein in your skin–naturally declines with age .
Restoring Healthier-Looking Skin with Topical Amino Acids
Although the aging process is inevitable, many of its effects on your skin can be slowed and even reversed with the right topical ingredients. Designing a skin care routine around the use of amino acids can encourage your skin’s natural production of collagen, resulting in a smoother, more even, and younger-looking complexion .
AminoGenesis Therapeutic Facial Repair anti-aging moisturizing cream, for example, can improve the appearance of fine lines, deep wrinkles, discoloration, and loss of skin elasticity thanks to its powerful concentration of 17 amino acids. Nine of these are essential amino acids, meaning that the human body is not able to produce them on its own and therefore needs to acquire them from external sources.
Understanding the amazing ways in which our body combines various molecules, such as amino acids, to form its larger components can help us to better choose the foods that we eat and the ingredients that we put on our skin. Using amino acids in topical skin care products comes along with a wide range of benefits, including helping to restore a younger and healthier look and feel.
If you’d like to stay up-to-date on the latest news and research in amino acid skin care, as well as receive exclusive offers, sign up today to become an AminoGenesis Insider.
 The Guardian
 Amino Acids