Hair, Skin & Nails...What You Need to Know!
There are definite benefits to having a clean diet & foods rich in antioxidants and healthy fats. However, some supplements that have been clinically proven to help with skin health simply are not consumed in our diets, or the therapeutic dose is hard to achieve by your daily food intake.
While factors such as age, genetics and hormones also affect hair growth, optimal nutrient intake is key.
Below are our suggestions for vitamins and other nutrients that may be important for hair growth, skin & nails.
One of the best known vitamins for hair growth is a B-vitamin called biotin. Biotin supports your skin, nerves, digestive tract, and metabolism.
B-vitamins help carry oxygen and nutrients to your scalp, which aids in hair growth.
Some findings show that cigarette smoking may cause a deficiency in biotin, with symptoms that include:
- Loss of hair color
- Red scaly rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth , eczema.
- Thinning of the hair
Biotin has been found to be “likely effective” in treating biotin deficiency and is safe when used in recommended amounts (read the supplement label).
Biotin can be found in foods like peanut butter & bananas, whole grains, almonds, meat, fish, seafood and dark, leafy greens.
Additionally, animal foods are the only good sources of vitamin B12. So if you're following a vegetarian or vegan diet, consider taking a supplement.
As with any vitamin for skin or hair, always consult with your physician before you try it.
#2 Essential fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are another essential vitamin for hair. Omega-3s may boost the shine in your hair & keep your sensitive scalp from flaking.
A study published in September 2017 in the journal Biochimica et Biophysica Acta found that dietary supplementation with fish oil — filled with omega 3 fatty acids — could have therapeutic value to many inflammatory skin conditions.
Another study, published in March 2015 in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, revealed that taking omega-3 & omega-6 supplements for six months, along with antioxidants, acts efficiently against hair loss & improves hair density.
It’s not uncommon for women of childbearing age to have anemia due to blood loss during menstrual periods, resulting in hair loss.
Iron-deficiency anemia can lead to brittle, oddly shaped nails & is a major cause of hair loss, especially in women.
Iron replacement is generally done through vitamin & mineral supplements. The best sources of iron include clams, oysters, eggs, red meat, spinach and lentils.
Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your cells. This makes it an important mineral for many bodily functions, including hair growth.
Although zinc is an essential mineral in the body, because the body can't make it, zinc must be obtained from the diet or supplementation.
Zinc is vital for growth, immune function, testosterone metabolism, and numerous other functions in the body.
Zinc also has antioxidant properties and is vital to your body’s resistance to infection as well as tissue repair.
It also helps keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly.
Hair loss is a common symptom of zinc deficiency. Studies show zinc supplements reduce hair loss caused by zinc deficiency.
Foods high in zinc include oysters, beef, spinach, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds and lentils.
Talk to your doctor about your diet to see if you need to zinc supplement, as high doses of zinc can be toxic.
Hair is made almost entirely of protein. Consuming enough is important for hair growth.
However, actual protein deficiency is extremely rare in Western countries.
#6 Vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D are linked to alopecia, a technical term for hair loss.
Research also shows that vitamin D may help create new follicles (tiny pores in the scalp where new hair can grow).
The actual role of vitamin D in hair growth is unknown. That said, most people don't get enough vitamin D and it may still be a good idea to increase your intake.
Your body produces vitamin D through direct contact with the sun's rays. Good dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, cod liver oil, some mushrooms and fortified foods.
#7 Vitamin C
Free radical damage can block growth and cause your hair to age. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
In addition, your body needs vitamin C to create a protein known as collagen — an important part of hair structure, giving it a smoother appearance.
Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, a mineral necessary for hair growth.
Strawberries, peppers, guavas and citrus fruits are all good sources of vitamin C.
A study published in November 2017 in the Journal Nutrients showed that vitamin C also helps in wound healing and helps to control inflammation.
Many hair vitamins & vitamins for skin have the power to give you a younger-looking complexion, healthier looking hair, & stronger nails.
It is also important to remember that it takes a few skin cycles to notice a change and that’s because supplements work at the lower levels of the skin.
Be sure to check with your doctor before adding any of these supplements to your routine.