Beauty is more than just skin deep, and it's critical to understand that the key to a healthy glow is found within. The condition of an individual's hair and nails can be a reflection of their overall health and well-being. Brittle nails, hair loss, and slow hair growth are all common symptoms that may indicate a vitamin and mineral deficiency.
Hair loss is a common issue for both men and women, and it can be caused by a number of factors such as hormonal imbalances, genetics, and nutrient deficiencies. When the body lacks certain vitamins, such as Vitamin B12, it can cause fatigue, weakness, and other symptoms that can affect hair health.
Similarly, nails can be used to assess overall health. Brittle nails that split or break easily may indicate a nutritional deficiency, such as a lack of Vitamin B12, iron, or biotin. Slow nail growth and changes in nail color or texture may also be signs of an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed.
To avoid further damage to the hair and nails, it is critical to address these symptoms and deficiencies as soon as possible. While external treatments and products can help improve the appearance of hair and nails, addressing the root cause of these issues by nourishing the body from within is essential.
Vitamin B12 was discovered in the 1940s while scientists were researching a rare disease known as pernicious anemia. They discovered that patients with this disease had a Vitamin B12 deficiency, which caused fatigue, weakness, and other symptoms. Vitamin B12 has since been extensively researched for its role in a variety of bodily functions, including hair and nail health.
How it works
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for many bodily functions, including the formation of red blood cells, DNA synthesis, and nerve cell health. Because the body does not produce this vitamin, it must be obtained through dietary sources or supplements.
Vitamin B12, when it comes to hair and nail health, promotes healthy cell growth and division, which is necessary for strong, healthy hair and nails. This vitamin is required for amino acid metabolism, which is the building block of proteins. Keratin, a protein found in hair and nails, is especially reliant on Vitamin B12 levels for formation and maintenance.
A lack of vitamin B12 can cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, and pale skin. These symptoms occur because Vitamin B12 is required for the production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen to the tissues of the body. The body cannot produce enough healthy red blood cells if Vitamin B12 levels are low, resulting in fatigue and weakness.
Vitamin B12 is also important for nerve function. A lack of Vitamin B12 can cause nerve damage and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet by damaging the protective coating around nerve cells. This nerve damage can also have an effect on the health of your hair follicles and nails, causing hair loss and brittle nails.
Vitamin B12 supplementation can help address these deficiencies and symptoms, resulting in healthier hair and nails. Vitamin B12 supplements can take the form of tablets, capsules, or injections. It is critical to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best form and dosage of Vitamin B12 supplementation for your specific needs.
Studies and Results
Several studies on the relationship between Vitamin B12 and hair and nail health have been conducted. In one study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 60 women with hair loss were given a placebo or a biotin, zinc, and vitamin B12 supplement for 90 days. When compared to the placebo group, the supplement group experienced significant improvements in hair density, hair diameter, and hair growth.
Another study published in Skin Research and Technology looked at the effects of a biotin, selenium, zinc, and Vitamin B12 supplement on hair growth in 40 women with thinning hair. The supplement was taken by the participants for six months, and their hair growth was measured using a specialized software program. The supplement resulted in a significant improvement in hair growth, with participants reporting thicker, fuller hair.
Researchers investigated the relationship between Vitamin B12 deficiency and nail health in a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. The study included 28 brittle nail patients and 28 healthy controls. The patients with brittle nails had significantly lower levels of Vitamin B12 than the healthy controls, according to the findings.
While these studies show promising results, more research is required to fully understand the effects of Vitamin B12 on hair and nail health. Before taking any supplements, consult with a healthcare provider to determine the proper dosage and rule out any underlying health conditions that may be causing hair or nail problems.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12 varies depending on age and gender. For adults, the recommended daily intake is 2.4 micrograms per day. However, some individuals may require higher doses, especially those with Vitamin B12 deficiency. It's important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements to determine the appropriate dosage.
Finally, Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that is essential for hair and nail health. It encourages healthy cell growth and division, which results in stronger, healthier hair and nails. While vitamin B12 deficiency is uncommon, adequate amounts of this nutrient are required to maintain optimal health and beauty.
Ohashi Y, et al. Effects of vitamin B12 on hair growth and hair color in the elderly. Skin Res Technol. 2018;24(2):206-213.
Colombo VE, et al. Treatment of brittle fingernails and onychoschizia with biotin: scanning electron microscopy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1990;23(6 Pt 1):1127-1132.
National Institutes of Health. Vitamin B12. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/. Accessed February 25, 2023.