Which vitamin is good for hair and nails*

Best Vitamins for Hair, Skin and Nails

Vitamins for healthy hair, skin, and nails contain the same vitamins your entire body needs for growth and maintenance of cells Hair, skin, and nails respond well to certain vitamins that support keratin production Keratin is the protein that builds hair and skinYou should not consume more than 2000 mg of this vitamin each day, as it can result in toxicity and symptoms of diarhhea.

Hair, Skin, and Nail Health

Important facts about skin, hair, and nails include the following:

Important Vitamins

The best source of vitamins for healthy hair, skin, and nails come from eating a balanced diet that contains healthy foods and servings as recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Use the USDA's MyPlate or the Harvard School of Public Health's Healthy Eating Plate as guides and select a wide variety of foods within each food category to give your body the best opportunity possible to form healthy skin, nails, and hair A well-balanced daily diet contains:

  • Three to six ounces of whole grains
  • Four to six daily servings of fruit
  • Five to seven servings of vegetables
  • Three to five servings each of low-fat dairy products and lean protein
  • Minimal intake of sugar, fat and salt

Choose fruits and vegetables from across the spectrum of colors to ensure you get all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients necessary for health In addition, the following vitamins and minerals supplements can help improve the appearance of hair, skin, and nails if your diet is deficient

Vitamin B12

Dr Ted Daly, a clinical professor of dermatology at Nassau University, states on the website Vitamin and Supplement Guide that many patients complaining about hair loss, especially women exhibit signs of vitamin B12 deficiency MedlinePlus states on its website that the deficiency may also cause anemia, leading to pale skin

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is normally obtained from food - only animal products - because the body does not make it on its own A chemical in the digestive system helps the body digest and absorb vitamin B12 With aging, people lose some ability to utilize B12, and many people become deficient in this vital vitamin MedlinePlus states oral supplements or monthly B12 shots may be recommended when adequate amounts cannot be obtained through food A simple blood test can check your levels of vitamin B12

B-Complex Vitamins

Overall, the entire suite of B-complex vitamins is essential for good hair and skin In addition to Vitamin B12, vitamins B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine) and B7 (biotin) are also critical for hair and skin growth and appearance A balanced B-complex vitamin supplement provides the extra boost your hair and skin may need to look great

Antioxidant Vitamins

Antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C, A, and E, are also critical for healthy hair, skin, and nails Antioxidants, such as Vitamin E, support healthy skin, hair and nails by fighting oxidative stress from free radicals These radicals promote aging of skin and other cells, according to the National Institutes of Health Topical and oral use of antioxidants help to improve damage to skin and prevent wrinkles

In addition to supplements, antioxidant vitamins are found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, pomegranate and spinach While it is considered safe to supplement with vitamin C at recommended levels, watch for high levels of vitamin A and E which are fat-soluble vitamins, which can build up to toxic levels in the body In fact, according to an American Academy of Dermatology article, too much vitamin A can cause nails to become brittle and fragile

Biotin, also known as vitamin H or B7, is often used to treat brittle nails A 2007 review in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology states a daily biotin supplement appears to improve brittle nails

Adequate biotin also prevents hair loss Most people get adequate amounts of biotin in their daily diet Good sources of the vitamin include eggs, dairy products, Swiss chard, nuts, whole grains, and chicken

Essential Fatty Acids

Scientists are discovering more of the benefits of the essential fatty acids each and every day One benefit is to help build beautiful hair, nails, and skin Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation and support healthy skin and hair according to the University of Maryland

Omega-3 fatty acids also support scalp health, and a deficiency in these fats can lead to dull skin and hair You can also supplement omega-3 fats by taking fish oil or flax oil You can obtain essential fatty acids from eating cold water fish, such as tuna and mackerel, taking krill or fish oil supplements, or adding these plus a flaxseed oil supplement

Zinc is a mineral, not a vitamin and contributes to the health of hair and skin cells The National Institutes of Health writes zinc deficiency can cause hair loss Zinc also builds the immune system and helps support overall metabolism

In addition to a supplement, good sources of zinc are oysters, red meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, cereals, and bread High levels of zinc in a supplement might cause stomach discomfort and decrease the effects of other nutrients in the body such as copper, iron and calcium

Supplements to Take

Doses of a vitamin for good hair and skin vary with age, gender, and health status It's best to talk to your doctor, a registered dietician or nutritionist, or a natural health expert who can guide you as to which vitamins to take for glowing hair, skin and nails

You can get many of the recommended vitamins and zinc by taking a daily multivitamin There are also supplements formulated specifically created to address skin, hair, and nails concerns A good quality liquid vitamin with a balanced mix of essential vitamins, plus a fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement, may also add luster to hair and skin

You can order supplements online or find them at your local pharmacy Here are some options to consider:

Good to Know

One thing that's important to note is that a sudden change in the appearance of hair or skin or sudden hair loss may be a sign of illness Nail discoloration can indicate unhealthy nails caused by diabetes, anemia, or other serious diseases

Sudden hair loss combined with rapid heartbeat, insomnia, weight loss, and scanty menstruation in women may be a sign of thyroid disease, for example Hair loss may also be due to stress, chronic disease, or many other illnesses If you suddenly see lots of hair coming out every time your brush or shampoo, it's time to make a doctor's appointment

A Reflection of Health

Healthy skin, hair, and nails reflect your overall state of health Eating a well-balanced diet that contains a variety of foods is the best way to keep hair, nails, and skin healthy; however, vitamin supplementation can help give you an extra boost