There is a simple relationship between amino acids and hair. Amino acids are the building blocks of all the proteins found in the body and hair is composed of keratin, a protein. It is this keratin which gives hair strands their strength.
If amino acids are insufficiently supplied to the cells of the hair follicles, the level of keratin production will drop or the keratin produced might lose most of its strength. Both of this will lead to reduced hair growth, discolored hair and hair strands that easily fall off.
While the body uses about 22 amino acids to build all the proteins in the body, those proteins go on to serve as enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and form into tissues, muscles and organs.
Of these amino acids, 9 are considered essential because they are not synthesized in the body. These amino acids need to be ingested either from dietary sources or from supplements. While animal protein sources (meat and dairy products) contain all 9 amino acids, plant sources don’t usually contain all of them.
The hair is an example of the complexity and beauty of how amino acids form into proteins. They are not simply strung together. Rather, each protein is made from specific sequence of amino acids to form a superstructure.
This superstructure must then be folded into the exact 3-dimensional form for the protein to function at all or properly. For example, the set of amino acids making up keratin, the hair protein, must not only be pieced together in a perfect sequence but must also be folded up in the right way to fulfill its role.
Lastly, amino acids have different functions and they do not all perform the same ones.
Some amino acids are interrelated, though, and some functions are complimentary. For optimal hair growth and to reverse hair loss, the amino acids that provide the most benefits are discussed below.
Amino Acids for Hair Loss:
The active form of arginine is L-arginine. It is a semi-essential amino acid that is normally synthesized in adequate levels in the body.
However, in distressed states due to disease conditions, stress and aging, the level of arginine will drop in the body and the amino acid is recommended for supplementation then.
Dietary sources of arginine includes nuts such as pecan, cashew, hazelnut, peanuts and coconuts; seeds such as those of sunflower and sesame; as well as wheat germ and flour, beef, fish, poultry and dairy products.
Arginine as a precursor of nitric oxide is essential for hair growth.
Hair growth is stimulated due to the properties of arginine increasing the amount of nitric oxide in the body to help potassium openings. This helps to improve blood supply to the roots of the hair and encourage hair growth.
Arginine also improves capillary microcirculation to the cells of the skin follicles through the vasodilation caused by the nitric oxide it produces in the body.
It is also known to strengthen hair shafts and accelerate the development of hair follicles.
This is an essential amino acid, and a very strong anti-oxidant. It is an excellent source of sulfur, which is something that can prevent problems with the hair, nails and skin.
Basically, Methionine is a lipotropic, meaning that it aids in breaking down fats and keeping fat from building up in certain areas of the body, including the arteries.
It can prevent premature hair loss, as well as act as a detoxifying agent for the body.
Methionine’s greatest attribute is the sulfur in its chemical structure. It supplies sulfur to hair cells and connective tissues, thereby improving hair strength as well as normal growth and appearance of the hair.
Dietary sources of methionine include cereal grains, eggs, sesame seed, fish, meat and Brazil nuts.
This is one of the non-essential amino acids that our bodies are able to produce.
Cysteine is one of the many amino acids that are necessary for healthy hair growth. Adding more cysteine to your diet can increase the rate of hair growth substantially.
Cysteine also supplies sulfur to hair cells to improve hair strength. Cysteine is also known to bind to and transport minerals such as iron and zinc which are essential agents in the reversal of hair loss.
Dietary sources of cysteine include pork, chicken, sausage meat, milk, eggs, yogurt, ricotta, whey protein, cottage cheese, wheat germ, granola, oats, garlic, broccoli red pepper, onions and Brussels sprouts.
This non-essential amino acid actually makes up approximately 10 to 14 percent of our skin and hair.
Cystine is formed from the disulfide bonding of two cysteine molecules. This bonding of two amino acids provides strength for hair shafts.
Since cysteine is formed from cysteine, it shares the same nutritional benefits and dietary sources as that amino acid.
It is important to have cysteine in our bodies, both for our overall health and for the health of our skin and hair. Cystine can be used to treat hair loss, and has been known to promote natural hair regrowth.
Tyrosine is produced in the body from another amino acid, phenylalanine.
Dietary sources of tyrosine include fish, chicken, turkey, dairy products, peanuts, almonds, lima beans, pumpkin seeds and soy products. It is also available as a supplement.
This is another non-essential amino acid that the body naturally produces. This amino acid creates melanin, which is the pigment that colors our hair and skin.
We need to have tyrosine for our metabolism, as well as for adrenal, pituitary and thyroid glands.
Not only is tyrosine a good amino acid for hair loss, it can also be used to treat many other health problems, including insomnia, anxiety and depression.
Tyrosine is also known to contribute to reduction in stress hormone levels in the body. Since stress is a strong factor in hair loss, tyrosine can slow alopecia too by reducing stress.
Taurine is an unusual amino acid because it contains a sulphonate group instead of a carboxyl group.
It is also synthesized in the body from cysteine but can also be ingested in food. Dietary sources of taurine include marine animals and meat. It is present in breast milk, and added to both energy drinks and infant formulas.
Taurine is the sulfur amino acid that is most abundant in humans, and can affect the health of organs and tissues. It is stored in the hair bulbs, and if there is not enough taurine in your system, it could result in thin, weak hair.
Apart from its benefits in the development and functioning of the central nervous system, and skeletal muscles, taurine has been shown in studies to maintain skin health and prevent the breakdown of hair follicles.
|Hair Health & The 6 Amino Acids|
|Arginine – Stimulates hair growth through the vasodilatory effect of Nitrous oxide; strengthens hair shaft and stimulates hair follicles.|
|Methionine – Supplies needed sulfur to the hair for improved appearance and healthy growth.|
|Cysteine – Improves hair strength through the contribution of sulfur|
|Cystine – Promotes natural hair growth and strengthens hair shafts with its disulfide bond.|
|Tyrosine – Contributes melanine to the skin and hair; improves general health by reducing the levels of stress hormones.|
|Taurine – Provides sulfur for hair growth and appearance; prevents breakdown of hair follicles.
Kassie Kuehl is a health coach and consultant, in addition to being a professional stylist and specialist in natural hair color. Kassie opened Kasia Organic Salon, a chemical-free, natural and euphoric experience, located in Minneapolis, MN. Kasia believes that beautiful hair and skin is directly linked to beautiful health. Our hair and skin reflects the state of the body\’s health and looks its best when all cells in the skin\’s layers are properly nourished and hydrated, naturally. “Be in the know” and learn more about Kasia Organic Salon at the Author’s Site: www.kasiaorganicsalon.com