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Keratin is an insoluble protein found in epidermal tissues, such as skin, nails, and hair, and it is what helps give them strength, structure, and resilience to protect against damage and trauma (1) (2). For that reason, keratin treatment has shown to have a positive role in our beauty and health. That’s important for many reasons. One, it helps improve your overall glow, as we all know how much skin, hair, and nails can have an effect on how we look. Best of all, you don’t have to think of the protein as just keratin for hair, but other things as well. As a matter of fact, keratin has also been shown to be a strong aid when it comes to wound healing.
A keratin supplement is meant to strengthen your hair while creating shine, and make your nails more stronger. There are many types of hair and nail supplements on the market today, and keratin is defently one supplement to consider.
While keratin has been found in internal organs and has a role in cell movement, it is primarily associated with hair, skin and nails:
Besides giving strength and structure to your hair, nail, and skin, keratin also can act as an aid to healing wounds. It has been found to help aid healing in superficial cuts, surgical wounds, leg ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, first- and second-degree burns, as well as skin grafts (12). It does this by helping to stimulate cell growth and getting healthy cells to the affected area (13).
One animal study shows that bandages using keratin sped up healing and had a better outcome with scars, and another study showed that keratin helped the wound have a “better-organized structure of regenerated tissue (14)(15).
How does it work? Keratin dressings release peptides (which are chains of protein) into the wound. These activate skin cells in the wound bed that forms the epidermis and produces keratin; that then stimulates them to proliferate and heal the wound with regenerated tissue by stimulating fibroblasts, which produce collagen and elastin—two components that makeup skin (16). Some examples of treatments include keratin-rich gels or ointments, or keratin matrix dressing for wounds that produce fluid, like blisters (17).
One way to think about keratin treatment at home is through supplementation. A survey of health professionals found that 66 percent of 300 dermatologists recommended dietary supplements to patients for skin, hair, and nail health; 79 percent of them personally used supplements (18).
Extracted from New Zealand sheep’s wool, Cynatine® HNS is an ingredient in supplements and beauty products that contains solubilized keratin in a highly bioavailable, peptide form (19). Cynatine® HNS’s high bioavailability makes it capable of delivering keratin to our hair, skin, and nails (20). A look at the keratin treatment before and after will give you a glimpse into how it can work.
In one study, dermatologists gave 500 mg keratin supplements daily, containing Cynatine® HNS, to 50 women. These women were tested on measured hair loss, hair growth, hair strength, hair luster, and amino acid composition, as well as nail strength and appearance all, compared to a placebo group (21).
The results showed:
Another study showed improvement in skin moisture, smoothness, and elasticity after 90 days of keratin, and they showed an 11 percent decrease in wrinkle depth after 90 days (22).
FOOD RICH IN PROTEIN
Eating foods rich in protein provides your body the amino acids it requires to produce keratin. Some such protein-rich foods are fish, red meat, pork, chicken, milk, eggs, and yogurt. Plant based foods which are rich in protein are nuts, beans, quinoa and nut-butters. Majority of the adults require 2-3 servings of foods rich in protein per day to meet their daily needs of protein.
FOOD RICH IN VITAMIN C
You should consume foods that contain lots of vitamin C. The absorption of plant based protein is enhanced by vitamin C; hence, eat vitamin C containing foods when you are eating plant based protein. Vitamin C rich foods are brussels sprouts, broccoli, peppers, kale, papaya, grapefruit, guava, pineapple, oranges, lemons and strawberries. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and boosts the growth of hair and health of hair, skin and nails (Vitamin C is important for the collagen production.).
FOODS RICH IN OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Consume fatty fish several times in a week. Mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, tuna and trout are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help the body produce keratin.
FOODS RICH IN VITAMIN D
The production of keratin is also controlled by vitamin D. It regulates the development and growth of keratinocytes. It also regulates the transition of keratinocytes into corneocytes, which are the keratin-rich, dead cells present on the surface of the skin. Vitamin D accompanied by corticosteroids, also helps in the treatment of psoriasis, a skin illness that has excessive production of keratin.
Vitamin D is provided by eating tuna, salmon, milk, mushrooms, eggs and oatmeal. You can also combat a deficiency of vitamin D by getting moderate exposure to the sun.
FOOD RICH IN BIOTIN (VITAMIN B7)
Biotin is required for the metabolism of amino acids which produce keratin. It is usually recommended for the strengthening of nails and hair. Foods rich in biotin are beans, nuts, cauliflower, mushrooms and whole grains. It is also present in cooked yolks of eggs. However, raw egg whites contain a protein, which interferes with the absorption of biotin. Since biotin is soluble in water, it can’t be stored in your body. Moreover, it can be lost from the foods while cooking, where cooking involves direct contact of food with water, such as boiling.
FOOD RICH IN VITAMIN A
Synthesis of keratin requires vitamin A. Vitamin A is present in foods such as orange vegetables and fruits such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, raw carrots, cantaloupe and butternut squash. Cooked greens such as kale, collards and spinach are also rich sources of vitamin A. This vitamin is fat-soluble; hence, its absorption only takes place when it is eaten with some fatty food. This also implies that excessive vitamin A gets stored in your body.
FOOD RICH IN ZINC
Consume foods rich in zinc, including crab, oysters, turkey, pork tenderloin, chicken, veal, wheat germ, chickpeas and peanut butter. Zinc facilitates growth of tissues and hair and helps in repairing and maintaining the oil glands surrounding the hair follicles.
FOOD RICH IN B VITAMINS
Increase your consumption of B vitamins. They enhance production of red blood cells that carry oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles, growing hair and scalp. Foods rich in vitamins B12 and B6 are trout, wild salmon, shellfish, bananas, lentils, white potatoes with skin, fortified cereals (whole grain), garbanzo beans, chicken breasts, pork tenderloin and lean beef. Foods rich in folate are spinach, oatmeal, fortified cereals (whole-grain), parsnips, beets, okra, broccoli, soybeans and black-eyed peas.
Author: Natalie Rovaniemi CEO & founder of Celloptimum, with a Master´s degree in nutrition