Vitamins for Your Hair and Nails

Episode #146 / Jan 15, 2010
There's always people hawking vitamins to improve your hair and nails. Get shinier hair! Get stronger, longer nails! But is there any truth to their claims? Dr. Schultz investigates.
Lanny on January 15, 2010 at 7:00pm

Thanks a lot for this video! What about vitamins for the skin? collagen supplements for example? people say that after the age of 30 we must take collagen supplements to replace it in our body.

Ben on January 16, 2010 at 1:17am

I like the analogy with the lamp.

On thing that does have research behind it is orthosilic acid, or, the brand for it: BioSil.

Neal Schultz, M.D. on January 26, 2010 at 3:47pm

@Ben: I love getting new information and would be curious to see this research, but the real question is, is this research from the manufacturer, and if so, has the manufacturer's research been duplicated by an independent lab? When only the manufacturer can prove the results it does not constitute peer review acceptance. One of the websites I've found for the product you mention specifically says it hasn't been evaluated by the FDA nor is it "intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."

Neal Schultz, M.D. on January 26, 2010 at 4:53pm

@Lanny: Neither collagen supplements nor vitamins will have any meaningful effect on your skin if you are generally normally nourished. Thanks for watching the videos!

Alison on January 29, 2010 at 10:59pm

Dr. Schultz, I am a 59 year-old woman and have a condition that inhibits my absorption of nutrients, called "leaky gut syndrome", and I take a number of dietary supplements. I have both a hair and nail issue. For several years, my usually abundant but fine hair has been thinning in the female baldness pattern (in the top and sides), and I would like to do something to remedy that before opting for transplanting hairs to those areas. I'm told it's got to do with hormones, and possibly heredity, though my mother, father and grandmothers all had great hair all their lives, into old age. I would like to know your opinion about the cool laser, particularly in the form of the HairMax Laser Comb. My nails have also become abnormal, with longitudinal cracking on the fourth fingers, particularly; the right one has been severe for a few years now. Is there any remedy for this? Blood tests indicate everything to be 'normal', but there must some nutritional deficit or other reason for these problems...? All suggestions greatly appreciated.

Neal Schultz, M.D. on February 23, 2010 at 7:29pm

@Alison: HairMax Laser Comb is harmless and under the best circumstances can increase hair 7-15%. (Just keep in mind that 7-15% sounds great but consider this: If you had 100 hairs and grew another 15, will that really do anything?) Nonetheless, your "leaky gut syndrome" probably results in protein and vitamin deficiencies which can contribute to your hair and nail problems. Because of the complexities of your nutritional status from your GI problem, you need to see a dermatologist who specializes in hair loss for the appropriate tests to determine if there is a hair or nail synthesis enzyme / vitamin deficiency. Please also make sure from your GI doctor that you are not protein deficient.