Micronutrients for skin, hair & nails

A well-groomed impression is underlined by pure, fine-pored skin, beautiful hair and nails. The appearance is influenced by a healthy diet that contains many vital substances. Vitamins, minerals and trace elements are essentially responsible for the structure of skin, nails and hair. If the application of external care products is no longer sufficient and if the diet contains too few vital substances, the body can be specifically supported with dietary supplements. Vitamins, trace elements and minerals care for the body from the inside and promote cell division. They help the body to defend itself against free radicals and keep it fit and youthful.

But which vitamins are primarily responsible for beautiful skin, nails and hair?

Important vitamins for skin, hair and nails

There are many vitamins known and researched so far that have an effect on the body. Each of them affects specific metabolic processes and areas of the body. Most vitamins support each other in their effect and can often only work properly together. Research has identified some vitamins that are particularly important for healthy hair, nails and skin. If you have problems here, you should look into this if necessary.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A can be absorbed directly with food as retinol. It can also be synthesized from precursors, the carotenoids, in food. Vitamin A is one of the essential vitamins. It is a building block of rhodopsin (visual purple). Night blindness can therefore occur with a deficiency (2). Vitamin A is also one of the important vitamins for the skin. It supports the division of skin cells and promotes the healing of injuries (2). As part of the skin barrier, vitamin A is an important component of the first defence against pathogens. Retinoids are additionally involved in all processes of the immune system.


Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin

The water-soluble vitamin is also called the growth vitamin. It is an important component of cells and is mostly bound to proteins in the body. It is involved in the metabolism of vitamin B6, niacin and folic acid and thus has an influence on healthy hair, skin and nails. (23)

Vitamin B7 – Biotin

Biotin is a vitamin that is soluble in water. It is one of the most important vitamins for the hair. The storage of sulphur-containing amino acids in the hair roots is promoted. More keratin can be produced in the hair follicles. Biotin is also one of the important vitamins for nails. It helps the nail cells to produce stable keratin. In one study, 91% of the subjects significantly improved nail strength by receiving 2.5 milligrams of biotin daily for six months (6).
Vitamins for the skin stimulate the differentiation of skin cells and are significantly involved in the building of proteins (2). Biotin is also necessary for the formation of red blood cells and lymphocytes. Due to an increased content of erythrocytes, oxygen transport is improved and the cells of the skin, hair and nails can be better supplied with nutrients.

Vitamin E - protection for the skin

Vitamin E supports the growth of hair. (2) It is indispensable for the skin as it protects the cells from the sun's UV rays. (2) Thanks to the vitamin, elastic collagen fibres are formed more strongly, the skin remains firm and elastic. (2) It helps to break down free radicals and stimulates the skin's cell regeneration. Moisture can be better stored and an even, wrinkle-free complexion can develop. (12)

B Vitamins - for healthy hair

B vitamins are among the most important vitamins for hair. Vitamins B5 and B3 ensure the production of strong hair and regulate the production of sebum (10). Biotin (B7) ensures shiny hair and prevents split ends (10). Folic acid (vitamin B9) supports cell division in the hair root and allows strong, healthy hair to grow back (2). If too few important vitamins for hair are present, the hair becomes brittle, dull and falls out. Biotin is also one of the important vitamins for nails. It supports the formation of keratin, which helps the body to grow firm and strong nails (2).

Vitamin B3 – Niacin

Vitamin B3 is not only absorbed from food. It can be obtained in the body by breaking down tryptophan, an amino acid. The vitamin reacts sensitively to oxygen, heat and light. It is involved in fat metabolism and energy metabolism. Niacin is not only an antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals (2). It is involved in the production of steroid hormones. In a study it could be shown that niacin positively influences the HDL level (healthy cholesterol) (8). Niacin is one of the important vitamins for the skin and mucous membrane. It supports cell division and reduces the formation of scales and skin cracks (2).

Vitamin C - for collagen formation

Unlike animals, humans cannot produce vitamin C themselves in the body. They depend on the supply of the vitamin with food.
Since vitamin C is particularly sensitive to oxidation, it is quickly destroyed by heating, improper storage, metals (pots made of copper) and alkaline solutions (baking soda). Even if food is cooked particularly gently, there is a 30 % loss of the original vitamin content.

Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant. As a radical scavenger, it is one of the most important vitamins for the skin. The daily requirement of the water-soluble vitamin is about 100 milligrams (according to the DGE). Studies show that sufficient vitamin C can significantly shorten the duration of an illness and, in the case of increased physical stress, even contribute to reducing the frequency of illness(22). By strengthening the membrane of the phagocytes, the immune system is better able to fight various pathogens(2). Further, studies show positive effects when vitamin C is used in complementary cancer therapy(3).

According to Dr. Lange's research, vitamin C is involved in the production of collagen fibres(4). It makes the connective tissue and the vascular walls elastic and resistant. (2) Together with lysine, it stabilizes tissue and organs. About one third of everybody is made up of connective tissue. The production of connective tissue is also important for the healing of injuries.
Likewise, blood pressure and cholesterol levels can be positively influenced by the intake of vitamin C(5).

Minerals and trace elements for skin, hair and nails

In addition to vitamins, minerals and trace elements play an essential role when it comes to the health of the body. They also influence many metabolic processes and procedures in the organism. They can act synergistically with the vitamins but can also inhibit their absorption. The type of intake and the dosage is always important, because this determines the benefit and effect. Over the years, studies have shown that there are a handful of minerals that can have a positive effect on hair, nails and skin.


Iron is a very important trace element and is involved in numerous processes in the body. The formation of the blood pigment haemoglobin is probably one of the best-known functions. It also affects cell formation, the immune system, collagen synthesis (formation of bones, cartilage and connective tissue) and the body's energy supply. (19)

Iron deficiency is often associated with symptoms such as brittle and fragile nails, dry and pale skin, severe hair loss, chapped lips, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. (20) Therefore, it can be assumed to have a significant impact on healthy hair, nails and skin.

Among the risk groups that can suffer from an iron deficiency are people with a high blood loss after accidents or operations, pregnant women and female adolescents in the growth phase who already have their menstrual bleeding. But also a one-sided and unbalanced diet with little or no meat (vegan, vegetarian) as well as the intake of antacids containing aluminium, magnesium and calcium and lipid-lowering drugs (cholestyramine) can significantly inhibit iron absorption and thus lead to a deficiency state. (21)


Iodine promotes the division and specialization of cells. It influences the energy metabolism of the mitochondria (power stations of the cells) and is significantly involved in oxygen turnover. As a component of the thyroid hormones, iodine influences all metabolic processes in the body(2) and thus also influences the formation of connective tissue and hair. An iodine deficiency can lead to an underactive thyroid gland and thus to dry, brittle hair and increased hair loss(17).

Unfortunately, iodine deficiency is still widespread and almost 30 % of Germans are not sufficiently supplied with this trace element. The risk groups include smokers, pregnant women, athletes, but also vegans and vegetarians. Likewise, medications such as aspirin, warfarin, psychotropic drugs and mesalazine increase the excretion of iodine, which can lead to a deficiency.(18)

Copper - colours skin and hair

Copper is not only a protective antioxidant, it is involved in iron metabolism and the production of melanin, which gives colour to hair and skin. Copper promotes the cross-linking of collagen and elastic fibres. (16) A copper deficiency is rather rare, but can occur with an unbalanced diet or permanently increased zinc intake.


Selenium is an antioxidant that is involved in cell protection. By binding and expelling heavy metals, it supports the detoxification of the body. The cells of the liver are protected and the detoxification function is promoted (2). Selenium also has a high influence on hair, fingernails and skin, because a selenium deficiency leads to increased hair loss, white spots on the nails and flaky and pale skin. (14,15) Studies also show that women are more often affected by a selenium deficiency than men. Other risk groups are smokers, chronically ill people and especially people who have problems with their intestines and thus with the absorption of nutrients.


Many vitamins, minerals and trace elements are involved in the formation of healthy nails, skin and hair. A deficiency of these nutrients can inevitably lead to problems in the affected parts of the body. Often it is not just a single vital substance that is missing, but a complex deficiency of various vitamins, minerals and trace elements that can manifest itself in hair loss, brittle nails and dry skin.

With a healthy and balanced diet that includes foods rich in important nutrients for the body, a good foundation can be built. Often, however, some important foods are avoided for various reasons (conviction, allergies, intolerances, illnesses), resulting in a possible lack of micronutrients, which are also responsible for healthy hair, nails and skin. It makes sense to analyse one's own lifestyle and eating habits and draw conclusions for the intake of necessary vital substances.

Sport, work, stress, body weight, medication and diseases all have an influence on the need for vitamins and minerals and should be taken into account in the analysis. A comprehensive micronutrient analysis of the blood in a laboratory can also provide information about the supply status.

In many cases, a sufficient requirement of important substances for the body can no longer be covered by food alone. For example, the National Nutrition Survey II showed that the German population does not consume enough vitamin D, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine and zinc.(11)

The level of the discrepancy depends on gender and age. However, the results are clear: there is often a deficiency, even though we eat such a healthy diet... If the supply is not adequate, it may be appropriate to cover the lack of vital substances with food supplements. When selecting suitable products, good quality should be a priority.

References can be found here.

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