Iron supplements are most commonly recommended for symptoms of iron deficiency, such as fatigue, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and shortness of breath. However, boosting iron in the diet also has some beneficial “side effects” that helps one to look and feel better, both outside and in.
Hair, skin, and nails require iron to retain their natural luster, shine, and moisture. A simple blood test from a doctor will indicate whether an iron deficiency is to blame for hair, skin, and nails being brittle and dry. Here is a closer look at how iron can help boost the health, feel, and appearance of your hair, skin, and nails.
Iron and Skin Health
Pale, dull, and lifeless skin is a common symptom of iron deficiency, which can cause self-consciousness and insecurities about appearance and looks. Iron-deficient skin often appears to be pale, yellow, or sallow in color. Another skin-related condition associated with an iron deficiency is unexplained bruising.
When iron is consumed through foods or supplements, the body’s cells absorb it the gastrointestinal tract. Iron is released into the blood stream, then attaches to a protein and delivers iron to the liver. Iron is needed to make red blood cells and bone marrow, and this whole process going on inside affects how the skin looks on the outside.
Iron for Hair Growth: How Iron Benefits Hair Health
If there is not enough iron in the diet, hair may become dry, lack shine, and even begin to fall out. A protein called ferritin is known to cause these problems because it is essential for the process of storing and releasing iron to all the parts of the body over time.
When the body retains an adequate amount of iron and other nutrients, hair should have its natural shine. Another important nutrient for hair health is zinc. Some food sources rich in both iron and zinc include lean red meat, lentils, and soybeans. An easy way to boost the health of hair is taking an iron supplement.
Iron and Nail Health
Nails are comprised of keratin, which are hard layers of protein that form to keep soft tissues safe and protected. When there is not enough hemoglobin in the body, nails don’t get enough oxygen to stay healthy.
In addition to maintaining body functions like producing hemoglobin to carry oxygen to organs, iron is a necessary nutrient for maintaining healthy nails as well. When the body is not absorbing enough iron, nails will appear brittle and dry. Brittle, dry nails are prone to breakage, which can be painful, unsightly, and hinder the ability to work.
More Tips for Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails
Once the body is getting the iron it needs to keep all parts of it healthy and functioning properly, there are other things that can be done to stay looking and feeling vibrant. Here are some more tips for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails, regardless of what season of the year it is.
- Consume foods rich in iron, zinc, and protein
- Avoid high-glycemic foods, like white breads and pastas
- Limit sugar intake
- Drink lots of water throughout the day
- Exercise every day to promote blood flow and overall health
- Don’t smoke and avoid environmental toxins as much as possible
If you think your hair, skin and nails can benefit from an increase in iron, talk to your doctor about taking an iron supplement, such as Fergon.