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Hair Loss

Hair and Nail Nutrition

Hair and nails reveal more about our overall health and diet than many guys realize. Like skin, hair and nail conditions reflect what's going on inside our bodies, and can expose the many possible nutritional deficiencies we might have. Supple, shiny hair and healthy, strong nails indicate good health, while weak, brittle, dull hair and nails say there's need for improvement.

Hair and nails are primarily comprised of keratin, a type of structural protein that requires adequate dietary protein, in order to support the healthy growth of both. Although protein provides the building blocks of hair and nails, many other nutrients are necessary to keep them in top condition and looking great. Let's take a look at the foods and supplements that have been proven beneficial and effective in keeping manes proud and nails problem free.

Omega-3s: These specific essential fats are invaluable to health for countless reasons. When it comes to hair, scalp, and nail health, moisturize from the inside out with omega-3s. Deficiencies result in dull, lack luster hair, dry scalp or dandruff, and dry nails that often spilt and break. Foods rich in Omega-3s are seafood (salmon, mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna, etc.), certain seaweeds, flaxseeds or flax oil, walnuts, chia and hemp seeds, soybeans, pinto and kidney beans, and any foods that are omega-3 enriched, like eggs and yogurt. Supplementing with omega-3 fish, krill, cod liver, flax, or seaweed oil capsules is a great way to ensure adequate consumption.

Vitamin A: This vitamin is needed in the formation of sebum – an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands of the skin and scalp. Young men, especially, usually produce enough sebum, thanks to testosterone, but not only is vitamin A necessary for overall health, it's a great addition for anyone battling dry scalp or hair, and brittle nails. Foods highest in vitamin A are carrots, sweet potatoes, liver, dark leafy greens, tomatoes, red peppers, and other red or orange fruit and vegetables. Supplementation consists of vitamin A derived from fish liver oil or beta-carotene, which actually converts into vitamin A based on the individual's need for vitamin A.

B Vitamins: There are several types of B vitamins, but the ones that support hair and nail health are B6, biotin (B7) and B12. One of the many functions of B vitamins is to metabolize protein, which is what hair and nails are made from. Biotin is a key player in hair and nail health for it strengthens nails and addresses hair loss. Foods high in biotin include cooked egg yolk, brewer's yeast, saltwater fish, meats, poultry, milk, peanuts, soybeans, swiss chard, some fruit and vegetables, and whole grains. Supplementing the diet with B vitamins will ensure higher levels of intake; however B vitamins should never be taken individually. Take an all-inclusive B-Complex supplement, along with additional biotin or any other needed B vitamin. This is important, in order to avoid a B vitamin imbalance.

Vitamin C: This life sustaining vitamin and antioxidant is essential in optimizing hair and nail health, for it helps manufacture collagen, a structural fiber that literally holds hair and nails together. The bottom line is vitamin C plays a vital role in keeping hair and nails strong, where a deficiency can lead to dry, brittle fibers that break easily. Vitamin C also helps the body absorb and utilize iron, which brings oxygen to cells within the hair follicles and nail beds. Adequate oxygen not only keeps hair and nails healthy, but it promotes growth. Foods richest in vitamin C are citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, cabbage, white potatoes, and a host of other fruit and vegetables. Although many foods provide vitamin C, supplementation with a vitamin tablet or capsule boosts levels and should be considered, especially by those with vitamin C deficient diets.

Vitamin E: This, too, is an antioxidant that improves circulation and oxygen flow to hair follicles and nail beds. Foods highest in vitamin E include almonds and other nuts, wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, peanuts, some vegetable oils (safflower, sunflower, soy), and dark leafy greens, like spinach. Supplementation is recommended for those diets lacking vitamin E, with the best form being mixed tocopherols, which includes all components of the vitamin.

Iron: Iron's role in healthy hair and nail formation is its function in manufacturing red blood cells, which carry oxygen, and the formation of new cells, including hair and nail cells. As mentioned above, oxygen enables cells to function properly; promoting healthy hair and nail growth. Low iron levels are often responsible for hair loss, brittle nails, and nails with vertical ridges. Since both protein and iron are necessary for hair and nail formation, a diet high in iron-rich proteins is advantageous for it supplies both nutrients. Oysters, clams, beef, pork, shrimp, and egg yolks are great sources of iron rich protein. Non-meat, low-protein, iron-rich foods include spinach, swiss chard, black strap molasses, soybeans, lentils and starchy beans, seaweed, asparagus, brussel sprouts, kale and broccoli. Iron supplementation should only be taken by men if blood levels prove to be low.

Silica: Commonly found in sand and quartz, silica is very beneficial in strengthening hair and nails. The herb Horsetail, also known as shavegrass, has the highest levels of silica found in any herb. Regardless of the source, silica aids calcium absorption, which promotes healthy hair and nail formation.

Zinc: This mineral is a guy's best friend, for it not only protects the prostate, but is instrumental in tissue growth and repair, including hair and nail growth. Zinc also keeps the oil glands on the scalp working properly, avoiding dandruff. Some professionals agree that white spots commonly found on nails are an indication of a zinc deficiency. Foods known for high zinc amounts are oysters, lobster, crab, clams, mussels, lamb, beef, pumpkin and squash seeds, starchy beans, soybeans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, and dark chocolate. Supplementation of no more than 90 mg. a day will meet hair and nail requirements.

There are various hair and nail supplements on the market whose ingredients are designed to meet their nutritional needs. Some of these products include additional vitamins and minerals that qualify them as multivitamins. Regardless, combination hair and nail products include the most recognized ingredients known to nourish and enhance healthy hair and nail growth. In addition to a healthy hair and nail diet, supplements are a wise choice for anyone struggling with compromised conditions.

Taking care of our hair and nails go well beyond the use of shampoo and nail clippers. It begins with smart eating and a healthy lifestyle.

by Aaron Marino

Past Topics

New Topics Added Weekly!
Hair Loss | Tips and Tricks to Love Your Look -
April 26, 2013
Mother Nature can be a bitch sometimes. Unfortunately, we don't get to chose the hand we are dealt. Aaron Marino of alpha m. says we can make the most of what we have been dealt. Losing hair and going bald is sometimes the inevitable. This video covers tips and tricks to give a look to love if you are thinning or going bald. Alpha has two schools of thought: (1) fighters (2) embracers. Regardless,Read More»
Hair Transplantation -
April 25, 2013
You've tried everything imaginable: Rogaine, Propecia, shampoos, vitamins and herbs, and nothing has proved successful in controlling hair loss. It's a tough battle to fight, especially when genetics and hormones take responsibility and lead the assault on our scalps and manes. Fortunately, when all else fails, there's hair transplantation – a procedure that not only restores hair, but confidencRead More»
Shampoo That Stops or Slows Hair Loss | Bosley Bos Revive  -
January 11, 2013
Bosley Bos Revive Nourishing Shampoo for Visibly Thinning Hair Aaron Marino of alpha m. is sharing a product that he heard about from a friend. His friend was thinning until he tried this shampoo by Bosley. He swears that his hair loss was slowed and stopped due to this product.  It's sulfate free, rejuvenates the scalp, and removes toxins. The price is around $11 for 10 ounces. Read the testimonRead More»
Stop Balding | T-Gel -
October 26, 2012
Best Hair Loss Products Neutrogena T-Gel Therapeutic Shampoo, Extra Strength, 6 Ounce Aaron Marino of alpha m. praises T-Gel for controlling dandruff. He also praises T-Gel regarding hair loss. There's a link to the article regarding slowing the process of hair loss. He continues to hear that the active ingredient of T-Gel, coal tar, prevents hair loss by cleansing the scalp deeply. Read More»

Bald and Beautiful | Men's Hair Style  -
August 1, 2012
Hair loss is a devastating event but it is a reality. Hair loss pills, lotions, creams, and replacements are available, but Aaron of alpha m. doesn't recommend these options. Instead, at the point that the hair loss is inevitable, determine the best look for you, incorporate facial hair, and / or great glasses to look sexy. Aaron gives examples of some of these sexy guys who have done just that. Read More»
Male Pattern Baldness | Revivogen Natural Solution -
March 15, 2012
Revivogen Ain't nothing exciting about losing your hair. It's tough emotionally and sucks at any age. But Alpha's excited about a new natural hair loss treatment- anti-aging for your hair! Alpha talked to a doctor, Stephen, did research, and followed-up with the actual company. First, Aaron Marino of alpha m. talks about the biology behind male pattern baldness in detail. In summary, the key to Read More»
Hair Loss... Now What?  -
January 27, 2012
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re dealing with some sort of hair loss; like 2 out of 3 men will at some point in their life.  Hair loss is an absolute downer, but doesn’t have to mean youth and image are lost.  It’s a fact of life for most men, so finding ways to accept and properly deal with it will make the situation less emotionally painful and more successfully contrRead More»
Hair Loss in Men | Causes and Treatments -
December 19, 2011
Hair loss, of some degree, is an unfortunate fact of life for nearly all men.  Men of all ages and nationalities are subject to hair loss, with very few being exempt from this harsh reality. There are various reasons for hair loss: illness, nutritional deficiencies, extreme stress, medications, etc., but the most common cause is male pattern baldness (MPB).  It is recognized by the typical horseRead More»
Balding -
December 11, 2011
Is there a way to stop balding? Aaron Marino of alpha m. is on location at Dyar and Posta Salon. Master stylist David Humphries talks about the balding process including the genetics, balding patterns, and balding age ranges. Humphries also talks about anti-balding products and how they work. The average person looses about 80 hairs a day. Hair styles and options for those who are balding are discRead More»

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