Vitamins for Hair and Nails - Boosting Keratin

Written by: RKT Hair Care Team


Time to read 5 min

What is Keratin?

Keratin is a fibrous protein that your hair and nails are primarily composed of. In fact, 95% of your hair is keratin, and 100% of your nails are composed of keratin. Keratin is a protein that provides structural support to most of your outer layers, such as your hair, nails, and skin. However, as a structural protein, it is difficult to mass produce for your body because it is dense and costs lots of resources.

In order to maintain the youth of your skin and hair, keratin is an essential protein to be producing. As you age, all of your body’s functions slow down, and it is keratin production that is the most physically visible of them all. Your hair becomes more brittle and falls out. Your skin becomes saggy and you lose the bounce in your skin. Even your nails grow slower and become dull. This is all because proteins like keratin are less available in your body.


Vitamins for Hair and Nails

In order to combat the lack of keratin in your body as you age, it is important ot maintain a healthy diet. A healthy diet that boosts your keratin levels consists of vitamins and minerals that aid the process of producing keratin. There are keratin supplements you can also take in the form of pills, but it is much more efficient to consider maintaining a balanced diet. Supplements may artificially boost your intake of vitamins and minerals, but it does so without giving you other forms of nutrition that would otherwise be used in the production of keratin.

That being said, here are five explained vitamins for hair and nails and how they boost your keratin levels.

1. B Vitamins

B vitamins are essentially all the vitamins you hear about that start with the letter B. These vitamins range from B1, B2, and B3, all the way to B7 (which is biotin) and then there is B12. They are found in a variety of sources, but the most important ones include protein from animal sources, such as meat, eggs, and dairy products. You can also find B vitamins in leafy greens, beans, peas, and some cereal.

The reason why B vitamins are important is that these vitamins help your body make energy from the food you eat and allow your body to absorb that energy. They help form red blood cells which transport energy and nutrients to the rest of your body. They help turn nutrients and energy from glucose and fats into chemical energy that your body can use for the formation of new proteins. Without B vitamins, you cannot form proteins like keratin, so they are an essential on the list of vitamins for hair and nails.

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is the vitamin that is most known for its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are key to protection of your cells. They are known to prevent and repair damage from the sun, as well as help with the prevention of hair greying. Antioxidants target your hair follicle health and promote hair growth within the follicle simply by keeping the cuticle healthy and void of dna molecular damage. As vitamins for your hair and nails, vitamin C’s antioxidants increase blood circulation to any area that requires more nutrients. Therefore nutrient supply to areas such as your scalp cells will have more resources to grow keratin and hair cells.

Vitamin C is attainable through many sources, so vitamin C deficiency is not common. It is abundant in citrus fruits, many acidic fruits and cruciferous vegetables, but if you do not have enough vitamin C in your body, hair loss is one of the first symptoms you will show. It is important to have vitamin C not only because it is a good vitamin for hair and nails, but it allows for your body to absorb other key vitamins needed for healing wounds and allow your blood to transport iron to the rest of your body.

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is closely related to bodily growth and maintenance, but it does not really help with hair growth. It prevents hair loss because your hair follicles need vitamin D to stay strong and healthy, so it is vital to the scalp. If you feel as if your hair may be brittle, there is a possibility that it can be attributed to a lack of vitamin D.

It is harder to attain Vitamin D than it is with vitamin C and the B vitamins, but you can find vitamin D in most dairy products and fats. A natural source of vitamin D also comes from the sun, for when the sun hits your skin, vitamin D production in initiated. Just remember to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from damage.

4. Iron

Iron is essential to anything that requires the transport of oxygen, which is essentially most of your body. It is a mineral that allows your body to transport oxygen by providing the structure for oxygen molecules to bind to. People with iron deficiency will most ocmmonly expect to experience hair loss and anemia. Hair loss would occur when their is a lack of blood flow and essential nutrients to your scalp, which weakens its vitality and thus makes it difficult to support voluminous hair.

Food that contain iron can be found in a variety of food, but only in minimal amounts. Iron is most abundant in red meat, leafy greens, and cereals labelled high in iron. Seafood and organs meats are rich in iron, but if you are vegetarian, then dried fruit like prunes, raisins, and apricots are good alternatives. Tofu, beans, and peas are also rich in iron.

5. Zinc

Zinc is important to your immune system. If you are suffering from zinc deficiency, your immune system will show signs of weakness, such as being more susceptible to illness, struggling to fight off infected wounds, and a lack of dermal strength. Zinc is commonly recommended as a vitamin for hair and nails because one of the symptoms of zinc deficiency is also hair loss. Your weakened immune system leaves your skin and hair follicles more susceptible to damage, so your hair falls out more easily under merely mild strain.

Zinc can be found in most of the same products as iron. It is in red meats, seafood (especially oysters), nuts, eggs, and whole grains. As a vitamin for hair and nails, it is more common in everyday foods than iron, being present in both many fruits and vegetables. 

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