Ever wonder how some people achieve porcelain skin or that perfect, split-end-free, shiny hair? Most of us assume its genetics or that we need to spend half our paycheck at the salon for glam results. We’re probably right. But some research shows an association between certain vitamins and minerals and these celeb results. Does this mean we can eat our way to glowing skin and hair? Tune in for the 411 on some specific vitamins and minerals that may help . . .
This fat-soluble vitamin is essential for our vision, immune system, and skin health. The beauty industry calls Vitamin A “retinol.” What they know it for is its anti-aging and acne-healing abilities. The Mayo Clinic gives vitamin A an “A” grade for its ability to clear acne as a topical solution or oral prescription. Lack of vitamin A may result in scaly, dry skin and loss of hair. But increasing your intake won’t increase your hair growth more than normal. Because Vitamin A is fat-soluble, in excessive quantities it may be toxic to our bodies. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 900 micrograms daily for men and 700 microgram daily for women. To maximize your vitamin A potential, eat a well-rounded diet. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables, along with dairy products, fish, liver, and fortified cereals.
Biotin is probably the most well known over-the-counter (OTC) supplement for beauty needs. But you may not need a supplement to get its benefits! Much of the biotin hype comes from magazine and shampoo ads suggesting magical results. Biotin is part of the B complex that helps our bodies convert food into energy and metabolize fats and proteins. Misconceptions that biotin is a cure-all beauty fix may come from deficiency symptoms. If you don’t get enough biotin, you’ll see thinning of hair, scaly skin, and brittle nails. Don’t get me wrong, the vitamin does have beauty benefits. The NIH associates biotin with possible increase in nail and hair thickness and strength. Some research says in combination with zinc, biotin can reduce hair loss. But overdoing biotin supplements won’t give you a luscious repunzel mane overnight. Instead, reach for biotin-rich foods including nuts, vegetables, and eggs.
Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in our bodies, and research links vitamin C with UV protection. Our bodies need Vitamin C to make the protein collagen for wound healing. It also acts as a barrier to free radicals such as cigarette smoke, pollution, and UV rays from the sun. Vitamin C is easily consumed in citrus fruits and some fortified beverages. The RDAs for men are 90 milligrams per day and 75 milligrams per day for women. A glass of orange juice offers 80 mg per serving. That may be all the added vitamin C you need before supplementation.
Zinc is an essential mineral necessary for cellular metabolism, immune function, and wound healing. Research shows zinc is effective in healing skin lesions, like in the treatment of acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Although zinc won’t increase your hair growth, including zinc in your diet with help prevent lifeless locks and hair loss. We get most of our zinc from high-protein foods such as meat, fish, and nuts. Vegetarians and vegans may need an extra boost, but you can also find zinc in beans, mushrooms, and spinach.