The Best Supplements for Hair, Skin and Nails
|By Katie Webb, Staff Writer on Tuesday, July 19, 2011|
|Sure there are a lot of hair, skin and nail vitamins on the market now but knowing which ingredients to look for can save you time, money and frustration.||
Environmental stressors can really take a toll on vital looking hair, skin and nails. Smoke, sunlight, radiation and poor diet are among the most nefarious contributors to hair, skin and nail degradation, and over the course of several years these variable alone can turn a youthful smile into a frumpy frown. Worse still is the fact that hair and nails slowly start to brittle and break as they weaken, which can be just as painful as it is concerning. While there are many lotions, shampoos and conditioners that treat hair, skin and nails from the outside, there are several hair, skin and nails supplements that claim to strengthen from the inside. Several vitamins and nutrients have been studied just for these effects, and there are six that stand out above the rest as proven hair, skin and nails benefiting nutrients.
Elasticity is among the most important factors for healthy hair, skin and nails and silicon adds spring to the body's inner workings. It's used by the body to help keep cartilage, bones, tendons and artery walls healthy and it's great for putting some pounce in your pigtails. Silicon levels naturally decrease with age, which makes silicon supplementation even more important for people at or nearing middle age. Be sure to check the ingredient label of any hair, skin and nail supplement for silicon - not silica. Although the body handles these two chemical compounds similarly, silica is much less active in the body than silicon, and therefore not as effective.
Many people don't realize it but hair, skin and nails are made from a type of protein. This protein, like the protein in muscles, can become compromised and damaged without proper upkeep. Providing the body with the proper building blocks to produce this protein is tantamount to maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails. L-lysine is an essential amino acid that helps build healthy proteins, and thus, helps maintain healthy, youthful hair, skin and nails. Also, L-lysine plays an integral role in the formation of collagen, which makes it even more important for taut, smooth skin. Most importantly, L-lysine cannot be manufactured by the human body and therefore must be obtained from food or supplements. Any hair, skin and nail supplement should have an amino acid of some sort, if not L-lysine itself.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that's used to counteract free radicals and stabilize cell membranes. It scours the body for free radicals that have the potential to damage skin cells, neutralizes these threats and helps provide damaged cells with the electrons required to complete any unstable cells. The fact is, skin cells need to be protected by these antioxidants and vitamin E is the perfectly suited for the task; this is why a large percentage both topical and internal skin care products contain vitamin E.
Biotin is the more common name for vitamin B7 and is also known as vitamin H. It's crucial for the body's metabolism and protein production. A deficiency of biotin is often marked by dry, brittle nails and hair among the many other symptoms. Augmenting the daily diet with biotin supplements will result in optimized hair, skin and nail growth and heath. Most hair, skin and nail supplements will contain a biotin element, if not a biotin and vitamin B6 or B12 combination.
One third of the body’s protein is made up of collagen and skin tissue is the biggest benefactor from this fibrous protein. Collagen is necessary for joint and cartilage health but recent studies have shown that collagen is also good for skin health. The important thing to remember, however, is that there are more than ten different types of collagen and that choosing the right one may be a matter of trial and error. Current research indicates that Type II chicken collagen offers the best support for skin health but other sources of collagen are available.
Also known as methylsulfonylmethane, MSM is a natural source of organic sulfur and is required for collagen formation. Much like collagen itself, MSM has been proven to be essential for maintaining joint, connective tissue and skin health. What sets MSM apart from collagen is its ability to detoxify while keeping skin cells soft though. MSM is naturally found in fruits and vegetables but modern food processing and production methods strips these foods of this important nutrient. Quality hair, skin and nail supplements will include MSM or collagen itself, and the best ones will use a combination of the two.
Always be sure to check the label of any hair, skin and nail supplement to see if these six vitamins and nutrients are present and in strong enough doses to have an impact. The best supplements will have most if not all of these ingredients, and even if they're not all there - or if the doses aren't at the required strength levels - separate supplementation is always an option. All of these six ingredients, except for silicon, are easy to find and not expensive to buy. As with any supplement routine, a little experimentation and brand shopping may be necessary to reach optimal results, and always check with a doctor before introducing any new variable to your vitamin stack.
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