Good looks, good health?
It’s often said that our hair, skin, and nails are external tell-tale signs of how healthy we are (or not!). The first obvious signs of nutrition deficiency are of course external – so unhealthy hair, skin and nails indicate that your body needs a nutritional boost!
Good health often is reflected in an attractive, youthful appearance. So you might be tempted to blame ageing and stress for facial lines, unsightly fingernails, or hair loss.
In fact, these flaws can signal underlying health issues, says integrative medicine specialist Molly M. Roberts, MD, of the Institute for Health & Healing, in San Francisco, and president of the American Holistic Medical Association.
“Your Body will start by whispering, then it’ll start talking, and, if you don’t pay attention, it’ll start yelling and shouting, and then you’ve got an illness,” Molly M. Roberts, MD
In the modern world, our diet is often deficient in optimal levels of essential nutrients and in addition, includes foods that inflame our cells and cause a breakdown and even end up tearing apart the collagen, keratin, and elastin that provide supple skin, strong and silky hair and strong, fast-growing nails.
Toxic overload, stress, poor diet and nutritional deficiencies all contribute to lack-lustre skin, dry and brittle hair, and brittle nails that never seem to grow.
One of the neatest things about eating a healthy diet and supplementing with the right nutrients – is your nails, hair, and skin are often the first things to change for the better!
We encourage you to download the free The Eat Savvy Diet, as following this will help you to decrease toxins and increase the important nutrients and essential fatty acids for better hair, skin, and nails.
Eating a nutrient-rich diet is important, however you ‘fast-track’ your road to looking great and feeling healthier by increasing your supplementation of specific youth-boosting nutrients.
Here are 13 Nutrients for Healthier Hair, Skin & Nails . . .
Fish oils consumed in foods or taken as a supplement help to prevent or treat a wide range of conditions and the nutrients also produce a number of cosmetic effects! The healthful fatty acids found within fish oils can improve some skin conditions, protect against the sun’s damaging rays and even boost hair health and quality.
According to a 2009 article in ‘Dermatoendocrinology’, the fatty acids found in fish oil, can improve hair quality and density, decrease instances of hair loss and restore an overall hair cycle balance. In a 2004 study published in the ‘Journal of Biological Chemistry’ that was conducted on mice, very-long-chain fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, were shown to play a critical role in normal hair and skin functioning. The very-long-chain elongase protein known as Elovl3 for example, contributes to improved hair function on the cellular level. A lack of Elovl3 in testing led to hair sparseness.
A study published in a 2003 edition of ‘Carcinogenesis’, found that beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil have properties that protect skin from the sun’s damaging effects. One fatty acid, in particular, eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, reduced incidences of sunburn and ultraviolet radiation-induced skin breaks, even showing protection at the DNA level, when added to participants’ diets. Researchers suggest long-term supplementation of EPA could therefore be linked to greater protection against sun damage and skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, sun damage is responsible for up to 90 percent of changes to the skin over time, including brown spots, dryness, wrinkles and a leathery appearance.
Also, Omega-3’s found in fish oil, help to keep your skin hydrated and ‘plumped-up’ improving the tone and flexibility of your skin; particularly important where there is dry, flaking or rough skin. The standard diet is frequently high in omega-6, but lacking in omega-3’s. Balancing the intake of omega-3’s to omega-6 results in smoother, younger-looking skin as well as healthier hair and nails.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil has proven to be a valuable treatment choice for people suffering from skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Studies published in the ‘International Journal of Cosmetic Science’ [ref] have even shown that evening primrose oil can help with age-related structural and functional changes in skin tissues, such as redness, firmness, roughness and fatigue resistance.
Research shows that people with eczema don’t have the normal ability to process fatty acids; this results in a deficiency of gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA. GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that the body can convert to substances that reduce inflammation and cell growth. Studies prove that evening primrose oil is remarkably effective in relieving many symptoms of eczema, including itching, redness, and swelling.
Psoriasis occurs when skin cells replicate too quickly, which results in swollen patches under the skin covered with whitish scales on top. The scaly patches, also known as psoriatic plaques, are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production. The cause of psoriasis includes hormonal changes, poor diet and gut imbalances. An evening primrose oil benefit is its ability to help naturally reduce psoriasis — because the essential fatty acids help with hormone balance and digestion.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, relapsing, itchy skin condition that commonly starts in childhood. The condition begins with a defective metabolism of essential fatty acids. One study published in the Indian ‘Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology’, measured the impact of taking 500 milligrams of evening primrose oil on patients who struggled with this skin condition. Ninety-six percent of the patients showed improvement after five months, and this form of treatment was noted as safe and effective. [ref] If this nutrient is so helpful in cases of skin conditions, imagine the benefit in nourishing your skin and slowing the signs of ageing, if you don’t suffer from skin conditions!
In addition, this oil can prevent your nails from cracking and keeps them healthy. Plus it also nourishes the scalp and treats many other hair problems. The essential fatty acid, GLA (Gamma-linoleic acid) from evening primrose oil, can be highly effective in the fight against hair loss with results noticed in as little as six to eight weeks!
Horse chestnut contains a compound called Aescin, which has several observed prospective benefits. Middlesex University in England published information that showed horse chestnut extract to be one of the most effective free radical fighters available. Additionally, Aescin helps the vascular system by making capillaries less fragile. This is likely to be of tremendous interest to those who experience the swelling that results when fragile capillaries leak fluid. [ref]
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a condition in which ill-functioning valves prevent blood from efficiently circulating away from the extremities. There are different causes of CVI but the most common include deep vein thrombosis and obesity. CVI is often identifiable by itchiness, increased leg pigmentation, swelling, varicose veins, and even leg ulcers. The most common treatment is to wear compression socks. Made of a tight elastic, compression socks do exactly as their name implies, they compress the veins and arteries which decreases the size of distended veins. This increases pressure on the arteries and forces more blood to circulate. All this allows less blood to pool in the feet and legs.
Studies have shown that horse chestnut extract provides a similar effect to compression socks and helps to contract veins and arteries [ref]. According to the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association, horse chestnut seed extract is widely used throughout Europe for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Italy’s University of Milano performed research that showed aescin to be as effective as compression therapy for CVI and additionally, aescin is significant for not just CVI, but also hemorrhoids and oedema. At the lowest level, horse chestnut seed extract is thought to inhibit the breakdown of capillary wall proteins. [ref]
The Institute of Medical Biometry and Medical Informatics at Germany’s University of Exeter reviewed available information and found that while traditional CVI treatment consists of compression therapy, compression therapy can be painful and susceptible to compliance issues. In their review, researchers were quick to note that the symptoms of CVI improved when an extract of horse chestnut was used. [ref]
Spider veins are a mild type of varicose veins that are not dangerous but can make individuals self-conscious about their appearance. Horse chestnut extract’s capillary constricting and strengthening properties make it a useful ingredient in this instance. The lessening of capillary fragility can also lead to less incidence of bruises and even less dark circles under the eyes!
Horse Chestnut is great news for your circulation and vascular health and subsequently your hair, skin, and nails!
Although part of traditional Asian culture throughout history, kelp has made a splash in the beauty world as it is rich in amino acids and other helpful nutrients for the hair, skin, and nails.
Kelp contains vitamins A, B, E, D, and K, is a great source of vitamin C, and rich in minerals as well. Kelp works as a blood purifier, relieves arthritis stiffness, and promotes adrenal, pituitary and thyroid health. Kelp’s natural iodine can normalize thyroid-related disorders and reduce lymph system congestion.
Certain nutrients in kelp, such as iron and the essential amino acid l-lycine, directly affect hair growth and deficiencies can impact hair loss in otherwise healthy individuals, according to Dr. David Rushton at the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Portsmouth. In studies conducted in women, Rushton reported a significant proportion of subjects with hair shedding responded to nutritional therapy. Kelp’s high iodine content may also contribute to claims it can help hair grow. Conditions related to iodine deficiency, such as hypothyroidism and goiter, can cause hair loss and thinning, according to thyroid.org.
Grape Seed Extract
As well as Horse Chestnut mentioned earlier, the ‘OPCs’ (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) in grape seed extract may also benefit Chronic Venous Insufficiency. About 80 percent of those who consumed OPCs had an improvement in the symptoms of CVI after the first 10 days of treatment. Feelings of heaviness, itching, and pain were reduced significantly.
Grape seed also helps improve blood circulation by strengthening capillaries, arteries, and veins and has been found to inhibit leg swelling that can occur during prolonged sitting.
The University of Maryland Medical Centre stated, “Oedema is common after breast cancer surgery, and one double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that breast cancer patients who took 600 mg of grape seed extract daily after surgery for six months had less oedema and pain than those who took the placebo. Another study found that people who took grape seed extract after experiencing a sports injury had less swelling than those who took the placebo.”
Grape seed extract is considered to be one of the most effective natural skin care supplements available. It provides a broad spectrum of benefits to human skin and to the internal systems as well. Grape seed extract has been carefully studied by biochemists and physicians to confirm these assertions and, in fact, the more it is the studied, the more benefits are discovered. Grape seed extract is now accepted as a compound which protects, heals and beautifies skin.
More than any other source of OPCs, grape seeds contain not only high concentrations of OPCs but a variety of complex structures of this compound. In addition to the OPCs, a chemical compound called resveratrol is also found in grape seed extract. The resveratrol component of grape seed extract acts in at least two ways. The most powerful effect of resveratrol is as an anti-inflammatory agent. Swelling resulting from dermatitis, infection, cut or over-exposure to the sun’s radiation can be reduced as a result. This gives grape seed extract an ability to provide an elaborate variety of effective processes to protect and repair skin tissue.
The term ‘anti-ageing’ is sometimes not well-defined. In the case of grape seed extract, this refers to the results of its antioxidant actions. The OPCs acts to scavenge, or bind with, free oxygen radicals in the skin’s cell system. Left alone, the free oxygen radicals cause the cells to weaken and die prematurely, a process which causes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – so grape seed extract is ‘good news’ to help your skin look more youthful!
Gotu kola is a very important herb that has wonderful health benefits and its use in improving memory is legendary. However, this ancient healing plant is making a comeback in the beauty and anti-ageing arenas. Lately, thanks to a new round of research into gotu kola’s wound-healing and skin rejuvenation properties, this herb has been turning up in a host of new skin treatments.
Gotu kola extracts have been found to calm inflammation, speed wound healing, stimulate new cell growth, build collagen, and improve circulation – all pointing to its supportive role in the reduction of the appearance of cellulite as well as general skin health. [ref]
Gotu kola stands out somewhat for its use in reducing cellulite. Research was conducted on 35 people and all the participants were measured in the glutes and deltoids for their cellulite. Out of the 35 participants, 20 people were given 60 mg of gotu kola in dry form and the rest of the participants took a placebo. The results after 90 days showed a reduction in fat tissues in all the people who consumed gotu kola supplements and the reduction in cellulite was more prominent in the glutes.
Gotu Kola strengthens weak connective tissue which is part of what enables the development of cellulite in the first place. Connective tissue in the body is in large part build from a substance, called collagen. Gotu kola boosts collagen production, which in turn helps make the connective tissue stronger. Strong connective tissue keeps the fat in place and improves the appearance of cellulite bumps and well as lessening the appearance of wrinkles.
One study, referenced in the book ‘Herbs, spices, and medicinal plants: recent advances in botany, horticulture, and pharmacology’, examined the effect of dried gotu kola extract taken by mouth. Together with reduction diet, 58 % of women in this study experienced a considerable reduction of cellulite and another 20% of women had satisfactory improvement in cellulite appearance.
Scientists are experimenting with applying gotu kola to treat burns, prevent scars, treat psoriasis, and decrease stretch marks and it is also commonly used for reducing cellulite and tightening saggy skin.
Although used for centuries, first in Asia, for the treatment of many health concerns including improving blood circulation and memory, it has recently been found to aid in skin care in a variety of ways.
Ginkgo has immunomodulatory, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well, making it particularly strong to help treat acne, eczema, or other types of facial redness and inflammation. Ginkgo Biloba’s leaf extracts are rich in a variety of medicinal properties that are beneficial in treating various ailments, including dementia, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, vitiligo, peripheral artery disease among others.
The combination of Ginkgo and Goto kola appears to provide better circulation and oxygenation of the skin – leading to a more youthful appearance.
Yellow Sweet Clover
Similar to the herb horse chestnut mentioned earlier, prolonged use of sweet clover may help in treating hemorrhoids and varicose veins. In addition, sweet clover also facilitates in diminishing the hazards of developing thrombosis (intravascular coagulation of the blood in any component of the circulatory system) and phlebitis (inflammation of the veins, especially occurring in the legs). In addition, use of sweet clover is also believed to enhance blood circulation and reduce bruising.
It is also used for varicose veins and to relieve symptoms of poor blood circulation and chronic venous insufficiency – including leg pain and heaviness, night cramps, itchiness, and fluid retention.
Research shows juniper berry essential oil contains over 87 different active constituent compounds, including strong antioxidants, antibacterials and antifungals.
Juniper berry essential oil benefits include: Detoxification, increasing circulation, healing skin conditions and antiseptic properties. Juniper berry speeds up urination and elimination, which helps draw toxins, waste and irritants out of your system. This detoxing action and circulation improving action is believed to help in reducing the appearance of cellulite.
B vitamins have recently received attention within the world of skin health and anti-ageing and taking B-Complex Vitamins helps by promoting healthier hair, skin, and nails. If you are suffering from chronic skin issues, or even just sick of dealing with a dull and lack-lustre complexion, along with unhealthy looking hair and nails – the cause may be a Vitamin B deficiency.
B vitamins help to metabolize food sources, providing nutrients to the whole body including the hair and hair follicles. Deficiencies of vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B5 can result in poorly-nourished hair follicle cells. Not getting enough Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid can also slow down cell division within the hair follicles, which also slows down hair growth.
Vitamin B3 is used to improve the appearance or severity of some skin conditions. Vitamin B5 can help to minimize acne by helping the body to break down oils in the form of triglycerides and cholesterol. The University of Maryland Medical Centre reported research which shows that supplementation of Vitamin B5 can also help to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, indirectly promoting healthy skin. Vitamin B5 also helps to promote faster healing of skin wounds and is most effective when combined with antioxidants.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin) is also essential for maintaining the texture, tone, and strength of your hair, and a deficiency can lead to hair loss. This vitamin can also be used to treat cradle cap, a scalp condition which often affects babies. Biotin promotes healthy hair by increasing the hair’s elasticity and protects against dryness, which also helps prevent breakage. In addition, Biotin helps produce keratin, a primary component of healthy hair. Some even believe that biotin along with B5, can slow down age-related greying.
Your nails require a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet in order to grow and be healthy and a number of B Vitamins are important for nail health. Vitamin B9 (Folate) is also important for the health and growth of nails, as this helps with the development of new cells.
Vitamin D has been shown to be very important in activating stem cells in hair follicles and regulating skin biology. It is believed that Vitamin D triggers the regrowth process of damaged skin cells, including those in the scalp, and allows for regeneration of cells vital to hair growth. Vitamin D improves hair growth and aspect in a number of ways: It activates the cells within the hair shaft, improves the look and feel of the growing hair and stimulates and nourishes the hair follicle.
According to scientific research, inactive Vitamin D receptors in mice always resulted in hair loss and Vitamin D supplements reversed hair loss in mice.
According to Toronto-based family medicine practitioner Dr. Sheila Wijayasinghe, nutritional deficiencies are one of the four main causes of nail problems like peeling or cracking, with a lack of vitamins D and A, a primary reason. Not only does Vitamin D itself appear to play a role in maintaining nail integrity, the nutrient is necessary for proper calcium absorption and to regulate the concentration of the mineral in your blood. Calcium is also required for nail health; unhealthy nails may indicate that low Vitamin D is affecting your calcium level.
Try this mighty nutrient stack out . . . and share your results with us!
If you’d like to give our recommended formula a go – reach out to your Savvy Team contact or message us for a $10 discount towards your first order.