Keratin: An Essential Protein for Your Hair, Skin, and Nails

Keratin: An Essential Protein for Your Hair, Skin, and Nails

Protein is an essential building block in your body that comes it many different forms, shapes, and size.

Each distinct protein – with its own unique name – performs an essential function.

Protein is a structural component that allows your body to grow and remain in good health. It manages almost every vital function the body – from immune function to chemical messaging, to hair strength, protein is what keeps your body up and running.


What is Protein and How is it Important in the Body?

Protein is a large molecule made up of amino acids and is an essential nutrient for your body to function on a daily basis.

They are involved in making up a large portion of the structure in your cells, tissues, organs.

In your diet, proteins are macronutrients – nutrients that are essential in large amounts every day to keep the body running at top condition.

They are one of the top three macronutrients needed by the body – along with fats and carbohydrates. It has to be consumed daily through diet or supplements to make up at least 10 – 35% of your total daily calories.

After being consumed from the diet, protein you eat is processed to aid in forming everything from skin to bones to muscles contain large amounts of structure-providing proteins.

Beyond structure, they also act as responsive enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and antibodies (1). Providing messaging and immune capabilities to your body.

There are also many types of proteins out there, all with their own names. One specific protein assists in providing strength and shine to the hair, skin, and nails – Keratin.


Keratin and Biotin – What’s the Connection?

Keratin is produced by the body from cells called keratinocytes.

It is a specific type of protein that provides the main structure of your hair, skin, and nails. This protein can also be found in the structure of other internal organs and glands (2).

This is a type of protein that provides strength and protection to the body. Its less prone to scratching, tearing, and other general damage than other types of cells your body produces (2).

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that has been connected to boosting the body’s production of keratin.

This vitamin promotes healthy cell growth and metabolism of protein-building amino acids used in nail, skin and hair growth (3). Benefits its shown is to strengthen hair and nails, and also prevent hair loss (4).

Biotin is a common vitamin in the diet, but can also be found in supplement form.


Keratin Supplements

Supplementing with keratin has become increasingly popular.

Keratin supplements typically come in powder or capsule form

When it comes to hair, people who have added keratin to their care routine have reported smoother hair that is easier to manage (2). This is because keratin smooths the cells of hair stands and absorbs into the hair cuticle, making hair appear full, glossy, and less frizzy (2).

Supplements, shampoos, serums, salon treatments, etc. are acceptable keratin treatments for hair.

However, it’s important to note that the effects of keratin supplements and treatments vary depending on your hair’s (2):

  • Initial health status
  • Natural thickness

When it comes to skin, keratin can provide a smoother complexation and help in fighting breakouts and scaring.

Keratin supplements can also help improve the health of nails. Strengthening the cells of the nail to prevent dryness, brittleness, and breakage.

You may see even further benefits if you decide to supplement or increase diet intake of biotin to boost the natural keratin production in your body.


Possible Risks

Like any supplement, supplementing with keratin – or biotin – does not come without risks.

For whatever supplement you choose, remember to pick one made of high-quality ingredients. Also, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for taking the supplement to ensure you are not consuming too much.

Consuming too much keratin can lead to a buildup of protein in the body (2).


Could Adding A Keratin Supplement Benefit Your Hair?

As stated above, keratin can provide many benefits for the hair, skin, and nails.

If you have difficulties with common hair, skin and nail issues – lackluster hair prone to breakage, brittle nails, or skin predisposed to breakouts – a keratin supplement may be the perfect natural supplement for you.

To see even more benefits, consider increasing biotin in your daily diet to boost the natural keratin production in your body.


Seek advice from a medical professional

It is always important to seek the advice of a trusted medical professional before adding a protein supplement to your daily routine.

Also, reach out if you ever experience discomfort or side effects when using a new health product.


Author: Allison Lansman, RDN, LD