Having healthy hair, skin and nails is a great indicator of how your body is doing. They are visible feature and because of this, the way they look can absolutely transform the way you view and hold yourself. This makes them crucial. In fact, hair loss can indicate an underlying issue or imbalance in your body so it’s best to keep on top of it all.
It’s important to make sure your hair, skin, and nails are healthy, if for no other reason than to feel great.
The Role of Biotin
When it comes to hair, skin, and nails, Biotin plays an absolutely crucial role. Biotin, sometimes called Vitamin H, is a B complex vitamin. Simply put, it’s one of the vitamins that helps the body turn food into energy.
To understand biotin, you must first understand the role that B Complex vitamins play in the health of your body. Vitamin B, or B complex, refers to 8 different B vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, folate (or folic acid) and vitamin B12. Each plays its own important role in maintaining an individual’s health and wellness.
Biotin is a vitamin B-7. It is water-soluble and metabolizes fats, protein, and carbohydrates that you consume through food and turns them all into the energy your body needs. There have been some studies to show that biotin can strengthen nails – however the studies were smaller in size.
The fact that it’s water-soluble means that it is not a vitamin that can be stored in the body. Basically, in order to get enough of it, the daily consumption of it is important.
What we do know for sure however, is that a deficiency in biotin can lead to other health issues. Not to worry though, because biotin deficiency is not all that common. This is because biotin can be found in a number of foods such as eggs, seeds, nuts, red meat and organ meat such as the liver. It is also made by the good bacteria (also known as the microbiome) in your gut and intestines.
If you are deficient however, you would be experiencing some of these symptoms:
- Hair loss or alopecia
- Red and scaly rash in different parts of the body (anus, eyes, nose, and mouth)
- Brittle and thin nails
- Thinning hair
- Conjunctivitis (also sometimes referred to as pink eye)
- Pins and needles sensation
These symptoms do not always point to biotin deficiency however, so it’s important to see your doctor if you are experiencing any of the conditions listed above.
Who’s at Risk?
So even though biotin deficiency is not super common, some groups of people are more at risk of it than others. Here are some group at risk of a deficiency:
- People who have been fed intravenously for long periods of time
- People who take anti-seizure medication regularly, as this can decrease biotin levels in the body.
- Alcoholics/regular alcohol consumers. Alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to absorb biotin
Other Nutrients for Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails
While biotin is great and important for the overall health of your body, it is good to supplement it with other vitamins and nutrients.
Vitamin A, for example, is needed for cell growth. This includes both hair and nails. Vitamin A is also needed to moisturize the scalp. It does so by creating a substance that’s oily and waxy called ‘sebum’. A sign that you might have a Vitamin A deficiency is hair loss.
Vitamin C is another good nutrient for healthy hair, skin, and nails. This vitamin acts as an antioxidant against free radicals that cause damage by blocking cell growth. Too little Vitamin C would lead to your hair aging faster as a result of that damage. Vitamin E also functions very similarly, making them both important nutrients.
Zinc does its part by making sure the follicles are well oiled. It also helps hair tissue to grow and repair itself. Some dietary sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds, spinach, lentils, oysters and beef.
Iron is another important nutrient. Iron’s main role is to help your red blood cells carry oxygen all around your body. A deficiency in iron is referred to as anemia and is particularly common among women. Anemia can be short or long term. One of the indicators of anemia is hair loss so make sure you’re paying close attention. Your hair just might be trying to tell you something.
And finally… protein! It’s important to remember that protein is the main building block of hair. This makes it a crucial part of having healthy hair, skin, and nails. Make sure you are incorporating lots of protein into your diet to make your locks healthy and luscious.
Good sources of biotin include eggs, almonds, and Cauliflower. It’s also available as a supplement. You can find biotin supplements at your local drugstore or online.