Do your nails break easily? Are you suffering from hair loss? Well, the deficiency of certain essential minerals can be causing these nail and hair problems. Go through the following piece of read to know about the most essential minerals for hair and nail health.
5 Essential Minerals for Hair and Nail Health
Minerals are a vital dietary component. Without the appropriate amount of minerals in the body, hair and nail problems are likely to occur. Deficiencies in certain minerals can cause weakening and thinning of hair strands, brittleness and spotting on the nails. Although, these minerals are not likely to thicken naturally thin nails and hair, but by meeting the RDA of these minerals, one can ensure that hair strands and nails grow at their very best. It is advised that people consult their doctor before making and dietary changes. The most important minerals for good hair and nail health are:
Calcium for Healthy Hair and Nails
Calcium is essential for strong teeth, bones, hair and nails. Since calcium is such an important mineral in the human body, its deficiency can have adverse effects on the hair and nail health. Dairy products, nuts, leafy greens, and white beans are excellent sources of calcium. However, consumption of extra calcium may not be enough to regain its balance. The body would need the help of other nutrients like vitamin D to absorb calcium, appropriately. Horsetail tea, tuna, and fortified milks and juices are good dietary sources of calcium.
Magnesium for Healthy Hair and Nails
Prolonged periods of stress can adversely affect the nails and hair. The mineral magnesium is an extremely vital, natural anti-stressor which helps to prevent hair loss and formation of unsightly nail ridges which can occur as a result of poor diet and unreasonable stress. Pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate are some of the richest sources of dietary magnesium.
Iodine for Healthy Hair and Nails
Thyroid gland is responsible for proper growth and development in all the areas of the body, and the mineral iodine is extremely vital for optimal functioning of thyroid gland. So, deficiency of iodine in the body can lead to many hair and nail problems, like slow hair growth and skin, hair and nails dryness. The RDI of iodine is 120 to 150 mcg. One can easily get this recommended amount from iodized table salt, and foods like brown kelp, shellfish, lima beans, garlic, turnip greens and spinach. Iodine can also be consumed as sodium iodide in a multivitamin, kelp or mineral supplement.
Zinc for Healthy Hair and Nails
Zinc is responsible for cell division in the hair follicles and the growth of the hair strands. This mineral also helps to protect the cell membranes in the hair, nails and other areas against damage from free radicals. Zinc is required for proper growth and development of the body and, optimal functioning of the thyroid gland and the overall immune system as well. Ones suffering from zinc deficiency can experience symptoms like hair loss and white spots on their fingernails. The RDA for zinc for men is 11 mg, and for women is 8 mg. Foods, like poultry red meat, legumes, crab, miso, mushrooms, tofu, and sunflower seeds are great sources of zinc. This mineral is available in supplement form, too.
Selenium for Healthy Hair and Nails
One needs to get adequate amount of selenium for their body to make use of the iodine, which they consume. This is important for promoting healthy nails and skin. However, consuming excess of selenium can cause a condition known as selenosis, which is characterised by symptoms like hair loss and nail problems. But this is a rare condition and can be avoided by consuming no more than the RDI of selenium. Further, selenium supplements should only be started after consulting a doctor. The RDI of selenium for adults is 55 mcg per day. Wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, eggs, liver, grains and garlic are some of best food sources of selenium.
Caution Regarding Mineral Use
Even though minerals are vital for the hair and nail health, these nutrients can sometimes interact with each other and, with medications as well. So, it is always better to consult a doctor before starting with mineral supplements. Ones suspecting themselves of having mineral deficiency must let their doctor know about the symptoms they are experiencing. Likewise, medical attention should also be sought immediately on noticing a change in the thickness or texture of the hair or nails.
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