– Hair, skin and nails are constructed from cells that are produced within the body. Old cells die off and are replaced by new cells on a regular basis. In order to produce healthy cells, your body needs to be fuelled by a variety of nutrients. It can be difficult to obtain all the nutrition your body requires from a modern diet, which often includes large amounts of processed food. In order to maintain strong, healthy hair, skin and nails, you can take a daily supplement that contains key vitamins that may be missing from the food you eat. read more about hair, skin and nails » | find answers to your vitamins questions »
If your daily food intake lacks sufficient nutrients, the results may become obvious from the condition of your hair, skin and nails. Skin is very sensitive to nutritional deficiencies and the results may become apparent in a matter of weeks. Because hair and nails have slower growth cycles, it can take two to four months for nutritional deficiencies to become apparent in these areas. If your diet is lacking in essential vitamins and minerals, you may find that your nails become brittle, dry and ridged. They may fail to grow or break easily. Hair can become excessively dry or greasy, breaking easily when you wash or comb it. Skin can become dull and prone to breakouts and rashes. Lack of nutrition can contribute to the aging process, with skin becoming prone to wrinkles due to a lack of vital proteins, such as collagen and elastin.
Supplements containing biotin can help to strengthen hair and nails. Biotin helps your body to metabolize amino acids, fats and carbohydrates to form protein, which is an essential component of hair and nails. In a small Swiss study conducted in 1993, researchers measured a 25% increase in nail thickness in some patients with brittle nails who received a biotin supplement. Biotin is water-soluble and cannot be stored by your body. Although biotin can be obtained from food sources, it can be destroyed by processing. If you eat a diet high in processed food, a supplement containing biotin could prove beneficial.
Vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of skin cells and tissue. It helps the body to produce collagen, a protein that helps to keep skin smooth and supple. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that can mitigate the damage caused by free radicals, which form in the body in response to environmental aggressors. Smokers are at particular risk of vitamin C deficiency because smoking cigarettes lowers the level of vitamin C in the body. Vitamin C cannot be stored by the body because it is water-soluble and so levels of this vital vitamin may need to be supplemented every day if appropriate.
Essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, cannot be produced by the body. They have to be obtained via diet or supplements. Low levels of fatty acids can lead to dry, scaly or itchy skin. The natural emollient properties of essential fatty acids hydrate the hair, skin and nails from the inside, helping them to grow strong and lustrous.