One of the most frustrating aspects of aging that we rarely talk about is hair loss and brittle or slow-growing fingernails. It's fairly common for people over the age of 45 to experience problems with their hair and nails. But you can restore both simply by following the ABCs.
If you immediately think vitamins, you're on the right track. Let me explain.
Vitamin A is the nutrient that cares for the scalp. This is where your hair follicles sit. And a healthy root system is essential for healthy hair. In fact, many experts estimate that about 25% of hair loss is due to issues in the scalp.
So how does vitamin A help the scalp? It helps the sebaceous glands in our hair make sebum, an oily substance that acts as a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp.
However, there is some concern with vitamin A. Some studies suggest taking too much of it can result in hair loss. So you want to keep your intake within reasonable levels. If you're taking a good multivitamin, you're probably getting enough vitamin A.
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Next are the B vitamins. These include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B6, biotin (B7), and vitamin B12. All of these B vitamins are vital for healthy hair and nails. But the one that really stands out is biotin.
In 2012, researchers gave participants biotin and found that they experienced improvement in their hair growth and quality after 90 and 180 days. This study relied more on the participants' perception than quantified measurements. So the researchers redid the study in 2015.
In this study, researchers gave women with thinning hair a biotin supplement or a placebo twice a day for 90 days. They took digital images of the affected areas of the scalp at the beginning and end of the study. They also washed each participant's hair and counted any hairs they shed during the washing. The researchers found that the women who took the biotin had a significant amount of hair growth in the areas affected by hair loss. And they also had less shedding.
Finally, there's vitamin C. You probably know vitamin C as an immune booster. And that's where it helps with your hair and nails. Poor immune function can reduce the strength and condition of your hair and nails. And lead can lead to brittle nails and hair loss. Taking vitamin C helps strengthen the capillaries that supply the blood flow to your extremities, including your hair and nails.
So if you've noticed your hair and nails don't have the same luster of your younger years, try the ABCs. But don't stop there. You also can try other nutrients, such as silica, l-cysteine hydrochloride (both of which I'll discuss more in the future), and minerals like zinc and copper. You can get all the nutrients you need for great hair and nails in one supplement from Advanced Bionutritionals. It's called, appropriately enough, Healthy Hair & Nails. Perhaps you can experience what one reader experienced, "My nails are finally growing! After decades they are now growing for the first time after I started taking this supplement, so I definitely will keep taking it!"
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND.