Vitamins and peptides play an important role in the normal biochemical functions of the skin and body. To promote the function of healthy skin, many aestheticians are looking for natural ingredients. This article will address the role of peptides and vitamin B complexes (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folate, and cobalamin) to increase the healthy function of cells. First, it is important to understand the key players and their function.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE B VITAMINS
Thiamine (B1) is a coenzyme necessary for energy production and assists in the synthesis of DNA and RNA. If deficient in this vitamin, one may experience burning feet sensations, weakness in extremities, rapid heart rate, swelling, and fatigue.
Riboflavin (B2) is a cofactor involved in redox (short for reduction oxidation) reactions. Redox reactions are a chemical process that take place when an exchange of electrons occurs. This vitamin supports normal vision and skin health but is easily degraded by sunlight. Deficiency in this vitamin is manifest through cheilosis (inflammation of lips and mouth sores), itchy eyes, and poor eye health.
Niacin (B3) has become extremely popular in skin care products because of its significant role in the Krebs cycle. Niacin contributes to the electron transporter, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). NAD contributes in the catabolism of fat, carbohydrates, protein, and alcohol. NAD assists in DNA repair, facilitates cellular signaling, and helps to control cholesterol levels by facilitating in the lipid synthesis of the liver.2 Interestingly, niacinamide is synthesized naturally in the human body from an amino acid, tryptophan. The human brain, skin, and gut require high energy levels and are usually the most susceptible to a niacin deficiency.2 Other signs of deficiency will manifest through lack of energy, excess fatigue, and loss of memory.
Pantothenic acid (B5) is a component of coenzyme A (energy production during Krebs cycle) and assists in synthesis of cholesterol, steroid hormones, and neurotransmitters.4 If a client is deficient in this vitamin, dermatitis and alopecia may manifest on the surface of the skin.
Pyridoxine (B6) is critical for the formation of red blood cells. This vitamin is often prescribed as a supplement to treat tuberculosis.1 Pyridoxine is also important in the metabolism of protein and is vital for maintaining a healthy nervous system, skin, muscles, and blood. Pyridoxine is involved with the conversion of the omega-6 essential fatty acids, which play an important role in hormonal health.
Biotin (B7) is a vitamin essential for the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and contributes to keratin formation and health.
Folate (B9) is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells, the synthesis of DNA and RNA, especially during periods of infancy and pregnancy. Deficiency in folate may include lack of energy, periods of heart palpitations, shortness of breath, changes in color of the skin and hair, and open sores on the tongue.
Cobalamin (B12) is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the body. It is also a cofactor of DNA synthesis, fatty acid and amino acid metabolism. One important role of cobalamin is the synthesis of myelin in the nervous system.2 Deficiencies in this vitamin can potentially cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system.3 Symptoms of B12 deficiency may include: fatigue, lethargy, difficulty walking (staggering balance problems), depression, poor memory, breathlessness, headaches, and pale skin.
FUNCTIONAL SKIN AND PEPTIDES
Peptides are crucial to almost all biological actions in the body and to carry out many important functions. Scientists found human cells thrive in a system of communication instead of isolation. One of the main function of peptides is to communicate in the correct language to cells. When cells receive a message, the task can then be performed. The peptide message must be recognized and received by the desired receptor of the cell. In other words, it must be bioavailable.
It is important to mention that the human body functions best during homeostasis and works diligently to achieve this state. Peptides and the B vitamin complexes provide a unique tool for aestheticians desiring to incorporate natural, functional skin care products to fight against accelerated aging and many skin abnormalities.
1 Lykstad, Jacqueline and Sandeep Sharma. “Biochemistry, Water Soluable Vitamins.” NCBI
Bookshelf, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Feb. 2019.
2 Wikipedia. S.v. “B vitamins.” Last modified 15 September 2019.
3 “Skin & Light.” Glossary.com.
4 Berardi, John and Ryan Andrews. “The Essential of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, 2nd Ed.”
Precision Nutrition, 2015.
Susan Wade is a licensed aesthetician joining Viktoria De’Ann in 2015 as the director of education and sales after being in the health and education industry for over 18 years. She has a master’s in higher education administration and enjoys sharing her wealth of knowledge with physicians, clinicians, and students nationwide. Wade has a diverse background beyond aesthetics as a college instructor in kinesiology and business and is an owner of a successful sports conditioning business’ and a nutrition coach. Her passion lies in understanding the complexities of physiology, nutrition, and biology and in educating practitioners on how to incorporate these areas to reach better solutions and successful results with their clients.