Why Amino Acids are Good for Hair Growth

Specialty: Integrative Dermatology

Dr. Veerula (Dr. V) is a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology, a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and American Society of Dermatologic Surgeons. She is an energetic, proactive, and compassionate medical practitioner w... more

Amino acids are not just another buzzword. They are a significant nutritional requirement for healthy hair growth. There are at least 22 amino acids, 9 of which our body cannot synthesize (1). Deficiency in a few of these essential and non-essential amino acids can cause hair loss (2).

  • What Are Amino Acids?
  • Why Are Amino Acids Good For The Hair?
  • 9 Amino Acids For Hair Growth And Food Sources
  • Can Amino Acid Supplements Help?
  • What Is Liquid Amino Acid?
  • How To Use Liquid Amino Acid For The Hair
  • Watch Out For Over Supplementation

What Are Amino Acids?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which makes up one-fifth of the human body. Scientists have discovered at least 22 amino acids (1). Also known as essential amino acids, the 9 amino acids that the human body cannot synthesize are valine, phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine, threonine, tryptophan, histidine, and methionine.

Why Are Amino Acids Good For The Hair?

Amino acids are good for maintaining hair health, tensile strength, hair density, and shine. Essential and non-essential amino acids combine to form various types of proteins. One of these proteins is keratin, the major component of hair fiber (3). Eighteen amino acids (essential and non-essential) form this keratin protein.

9 Amino Acids For Hair Growth And Food Sources

1. Cysteine

Cysteine is the most crucial amino acid for hair growth. It helps stimulate new hair growth (4). Cysteine is a potent antioxidant that shields the hair from sun damage and other harmful radiations (5). Anecdotal evidence suggests that it can treat the symptoms of alopecia. Cysteine also provides sulfur to hair cells and enhances texture and strength.

Food Sources Of Cysteine: Broccoli, Chicken, Wheat germ, Brussels sprouts, Milk, and Yogurt.

2. Methionine

Methionine is another essential amino acid for hair growth. This amino acid is a strong antioxidant and warehouse of sulfur, a key ingredient for combating hair disorders. This increases blood supply to the hair follicles and scalp, which leads to hair growth. Anecdotal evidence suggests that methionine also plays a role in the synthesis of collagen that is responsible for strengthening the hair shaft.

Food Sources Of Methionine: Fish, Eggs, Brazil nuts, Cereal grains, and Sesame seeds.

3. Lysine

Lysine aids in the formation of collagen by absorbing calcium (6). This collagen is essential for developing the basic structure of hair follicles, strengthening the hair, and boosting hair growth. Lysine is also thought to inhibit 5-alpha reductase from converting testosterone into DHT, which is the main cause of androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness).

Food Sources Of Lysine: Chicken, Eggs, Fish, Red meat, Legumes, Nuts, Pulses, Pork, and Dairy products.

4. Glycine

This amino acid plays a vital role in the production of collagen necessary for hair growth. Glycine is also essential in the effective functioning of the digestive and central nervous systems. Thus, it can protect the body against nerve disorders that cause hair loss.

Food Sources Of Glycine: Meat, Fish, Dairy products, and Legumes.

5. Arginine

Arginine is an essential amino acid required for healthy hair. Human hair growth is dependent on arginine (7). However, the sun depletes arginine, which makes the hair dry and damaged. Consuming foods rich in arginine can help curb this problem and make the hair thick and shiny.

Food Sources Of Arginine: Nuts, Seeds, Whole grains, Meat, Seaweed, Yogurt, and Cheese.

6. Cystine

Do not confuse this cystine with the cysteine that we discussed earlier! Cystine is a non-essential amino acid that helps stimulate hair regrowth and fight hair loss. Cystine is formed in our body by the disulfide bonding of two cysteine molecules. This dual bonding of amino acids provides strength to the hair (91308/' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >8), (9).

Food Sources Of Cystine: Eggs, Red meat, Chicken breast, Tuna, Lentils, Seeds, and Cheese.

7. Tyrosine

Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid produced naturally in our body and responsible for hair melanin production (10). It also treats anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other stress issues that cause hair fall and hinder healthy hair growth (11).

Food Sources Of Tyrosine: Dairy and soy products, Almonds, Lima Beans, Pumpkin seeds, and Fish.

8. Glutamine

Glutamine’s role in hair growth is quite tangential. The main component of the hair is keratin, which contains large amounts of cysteine. The synthesis of cysteine requires sulfur, which is delivered to the scalp with the help of glutamine.

Food Sources Of Glutamine: Beef, Pork, Chicken, Cheese, Yogurt, Eggs, Beans, Legumes, Nuts, Cabbage, and Spinach.

9. Proline

Proline is a fairly non-essential amino acid that helps in collagen production and plays a role in maintaining muscle tissues (12).

Food Sources Of Proline: Eggs, Meat, Dairy products, Beans, Soybeans, Legumes, Spinach, Broccoli, Asparagus, and Avocado.

These are the 9 amino acids beneficial for hair growth and their food sources. But instead of food sources, can you take supplements? Let’s find out in the following section.

Can Amino Acid Supplements Help?

If you work out and have protein drinks, you are probably taking amino acid supplements. Protein drinks with L-glutamine and collagen can make your hair healthy. However, there is no research suggesting that protein supplements can help hair growth.

Note: Consult a doctor and find out which supplements will work for you.

What Is Liquid Amino Acid?

Liquid amino acids are mostly used as food seasonings. They are prepared by fermenting coconut sap or treating soybeans in an acidic solution.

But can you apply it to your hair? Yes, you can. But no research studies confirm liquid amino acid’s efficiency in promoting hair growth when applied topically.

Here’s how to use liquid amino acids for hair growth.

How To Use Liquid Amino Acid For The Hair

You Will Need

  • 2 tablespoons of liquid amino acid
  • 3 tablespoons of leave-in conditioner

How To Use

  1. Mix the liquid amino acid and leave-in conditioner in a bowl.
  2. Massage this mixture gently onto your scalp.
  3. Apply the rest of it to your hair strands.
  4. Wear a shower cap and wait for 30 minutes.
  5. Wash your hair with shampoo.
  6. Do this at least once a week and not more than twice a week.
Benefits Of Liquid Amino Acid

Here are the benefits of applying liquid amino acid to your hair:

  • Softens the hair.
  • Adds definition to wavy and curly hair.
  • Protects the hair from damage.
  • Nourishes the hair follicles.
  • Adds shine to the hair.
  • Smoothens the hair.
  • Prevents excessive hair shedding.

Before we come to a close, here’s what you need to know.

Watch Out For Over Supplementation

Over supplementation is never good for your hair. Consume foods rich in amino acids, but do not overconsume. Your body needs a balanced diet that includes carbs, fats, and proteins. Merely consuming proteins and sources of amino acids will adversely affect your hair.

Final Thoughts

Amino acids are the building blocks of hair protein. If your body does not receive sufficient protein from plant and animal sources, the amino acid deficiency may trigger hair fall. Add these amino acid-rich foods to your diet, remain stress-free, and exercise regularly to watch your hair grow beautifully!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a lack of amino acids cause hair loss?

Yes, amino acid deficiency can cause hair loss.

Is it safe to take amino acids every day?

Yes, it is safe to take amino acids every day as long as they are not consumed in huge amounts.

How many amino acids are there in the hair?

Your hair is made of keratin protein, which is made of 18 amino acids.

Is lysine good for hair growth?

Yes, lysine is good for hair growth as it helps in the production of collagen.

Is keratin an amino acid?

No. Keratin is a protein, which is made of 18 amino acids.

How many amino acids are found in keratin?

There are 18 amino acids in keratin.

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