Did you know that vitamin B is one of the most helpful vitamins you can take for hair and skin? You may have guessed it if you have ever turned over a bottle of soap and looked through the list of vitamins included. Many soaps, lotions, ointments, shampoos, and other personal care products contain vitamin B in a number of forms: B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12, and B5. Let’s talk about how vitamin B6 in particular can help to improve the health and beauty of your skin and hair.
Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient which helps your body produce hormones, antibodies, and other important components. It is also essential for breaking down proteins and supplying them to your body systems. While none of this may seem connected to hair or skin at first glance, upon a closer look, it is.
How so? A proper balance of hormones in your body helps to keep all of your systems functioning at their best. When your hormones are out of balance, it can show in your skin, usually in the form of acne. By getting plenty of vitamin B6, you are helping your body to produce hormones and stay balanced, preventing acne. The other connection is the protein breakdown. You need a diet rich in protein to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails. Hair is largely made out of protein, and so is collagen. Vitamin B6 is essential to process a protein-rich diet.
Because these benefits are indirect, a lot of people are unaware of how advantageous vitamin B6 can be for their appearance. As you might imagine, vitamin B6’s advantages go way beyond skin-deep. Many people observe that they not only look better, but also feel better, when they begin adding more vitamin B6 to their diets.
What happens when you have a vitamin B6 deficiency?
Thankfully, vitamin B6 deficiency is rare in developed countries. If you do not get enough vitamin B6 in your diet, though, you can experience anemia along with skin symptoms like rashes which itch, scaly skin on your lips, and cracks that form at the corners of your mouth. So you can see how vitamin B6 is directly tied to the health of your skin! If you do not get enough of it, your skin is one of the first places the deficiency will show.
What do you need to eat to get plenty of vitamin B6? There are many foods which are rich in this essential nutrient. Some of the best include the following:
- Organ meats
- Whole grains
- Breads and breakfast cereals which have been fortified with vitamin B6
As you can see, those are all very common foods. And even if you are a vegetarian, you can get plenty of vitamin B6 so long as you make sure to eat starchy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, bananas, and avocados. Many of these foods also contain other essential B vitamins.
Do you really need more vitamin B6? You do not necessarily need to have anemia to benefit from more vitamin B6. Even if you are not deficient, you still may not be getting as much as you need to keep everything functioning optimally—especially if you do eat a demanding high protein diet (common for athletes). If this is the case, you may want to consider a B-complex supplement or a multivitamin which contains B6 along with other B vitamins. Notably, you need vitamin B2 to properly digest vitamin B6. So make sure that both B6 and B2 are included in your multivitamin.
Health and Beauty Benefits of Vitamin B6
- Reduce acne symptoms. Are you an adult with acne? It may be because you have a hormone imbalance. This is especially common in women who have PMS or other cycle-related problems. Many clinical trials have demonstrated that taking 50-400 mg of vitamin B6 daily can help to relieve PMS. You may very well find that your skin clears up along with your other cycle-related symptoms. Whether or not vitamin B6 will help with your pre-menstrual acne flares will depend on the exact hormonal imbalance you suffer from.
- Boost hair growth and collagen production. Since your hair is made largely out of protein, you can augment your hair growth by taking vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 will also increase your collagen production, keeping your skin elastic. The more elastic your skin is, the more youthful and radiant it appears. This can help to prevent wrinkles and age lines. This is why you will see vitamin B6 listed as an ingredient on many anti-aging products.
- Strong, healthy nails. If your nails are brittle, it may be because you are not digesting protein properly. A lot of people believe that nails are made out of calcium, but this is not correct. Nails also are made out of protein. By taking more vitamin B6, you can improve your digestion of protein and your production of body tissues that use protein as a building block. Your nails will grow faster and will be more resistant to breaking.
- Vitamin B6 has a number of other benefits as well. It can prevent anemia, regulate blood sugar (great for diabetics), and improve nerve function. It is used to treat depression, autism, morning sickness, age-related cognition decline, and more.
Vitamin B6 is one of the most important B vitamins, one which plays such a basic function in your body that it is essential to the proper functioning of the whole. Without it, you cannot properly digest proteins, create antibodies to fight disease, or manufacture hormones which regulate body systems. When you take additional vitamin B6, you are giving your body one of the building blocks it needs to create protein-rich tissue like hair, skin, and nails. You are also regulating your hormone levels to prevent adult acne. Remember to make sure that your multivitamin contains vitamin B6 and vitamin B2 together so that you get the maximum benefit!