The immortal phrase “you are what you eat” sets the tone for this particular blog topic, as I am about to lay some heavy scientific facts on you regarding your hair, skin and nails and how what you ingest directly affects their life and luster or lack thereof.
It is known that hair is made up of 90-91% protein- this protein, called keratin exists inside the cuticle layer- don’t fret, I know that I mentioned hair, skin AND nails but they are all basically one in the same. To break down a protein, we’ll go in steps. A bunch of tiny little units called amino acids are held together by strong, chemical peptide bonds forming long chains (polypeptide chains). Different codes and patterns of amino acids determine the makeup of diverse proteins. Hair is comprised of 20 different amino acids and while the body can produce 11 of that 20, it is dependent upon the daily diet to retrieve the remaining 9.
The nine essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the human body are as follows- phenylalanine, valine, argenine, lysine, histidine, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, and tryptohan. I won’t bore you to death and go through every one of these, but here’s a sample version- Lysine affects the synthesis of collagen and therefor improves the repair of hair and reduces hair loss. Argenine boosts hair growth through aiding the blood supplied to the root, in turn, stimulating growth. Methionine strengthens the structure of the hair and nails and helps prevent hair loss and histidine naturally detoxifies- just to highlight a few.
To ensure a nice balance of nutrients, it is suggested that you add a few things to your diet if they’re not already a part. Meats, dairy, fish, eggs, peanut butter, rice and beans and corn are excellent sources of phenylalanine and methionine. Pork, soy beans, nuts, cod and beef are great for lysine, leucine and isoleucine. Turkey, especially roasted turkey is good to work in some tryptophan, which also produces Vitamin B3- just to name a few.
With all these facts being said, drastic changes or extreme indulgences in your daily diet are definitely a no-no. Crash dieting and cutting out certain foods that carry these vitamins and severing the protein supply put you on a one way trip to unhealthy scalp city or thirsty folliclesville. Anorexia or bulimia are prime situations where your body can’t come close to collecting the sustenance it needs to preserve itself and grow- could be the link between hair loss and poor hair and scalp conditions. So do what needs to be done. Stay hydrated, exercise, eat a balanced diet and maybe even schedule a stimulating scalp massage here and there. Remember, the essential amino acids do play a role in the nurturing of healthy skin, nails and hair but they are not the deciding factor between incredibly elastic and nonporous hair and stiff, brittle strands of straw on the top of your head. Take of yourself honey, your hair will thank you for it- until next time, keep that face beat for the Gods and have a good hair day!