Visible deterioration of hair, skin, and nails used to be unavoidable.1-3
But there are ways to stop and even reverse this deterioration.
A factor involved with external degeneration is the loss of our structural foundations.4-7
The most well-known of these structural proteins are:
- Keratin, a component of hair, nails, and the outer layer of skin,
- Collagen, the principal source of the skin’s strength, and
- Elastin, which allows tissues to resume their shape after stretching or contracting.
While thousands of dollars are often spent on external treatments, overlooked are oral compounds that have been shown to replenish these vital structural proteins in the hair, nails, and skin.
A Keratin Breakthrough
There’s a longstanding problem with taking oral keratin supplements to replace declining keratin levels in the body. The heat and other factors normally needed to process keratin rob it of its biological activity, rendering it all but useless.
But scientists have developed a form of keratin that is soluble and highly bioavailable.
This solubilized keratin is delivered to cells in the hair, skin, and nails. There, it replenishes keratin levels depleted in the aging process.8-10
Laboratory studies show that solubilized keratin stimulates skin cells to proliferate at a rate up to 160% greater than they otherwise would, helping cells increase their own production of diminished structural proteins.10
Clinical Keratin Studies
In a series of clinical trials, adult women were given either a daily placebo or 500 mg of solubilized keratin with additional vitamins and minerals (biotin, zinc, copper, and vitamins B3, B5, and B6).
After 90 days, clear improvements were seen to hair, skin, and nails, as demonstrated by the following results:
In one study of women with damaged, fragile, and stressed hair, the number of hairs lost during washing was reduced by 30%, hair strength increased by 12%, and hair appeared smoother and shinier.11
In another trial, those who took this keratin had a:12
- 47.1% subjective improvement in hair appearance,
- 47% reduction in the number of hairs that could be removed in a hair-pull test, and
- 9.2% increase in hair follicles in the growth phase.
Those taking novel keratin also had the following significant improvement to their nails:12
- 87.5% reduction in tendency to break (compared with 28.5% among placebo subjects),
- 50% increase in nail hardness,
- 37.5% increase in nail smoothness, and
- 20.8% improvement in natural appearance.
For women (ages 40-71) with obvious skin aging, the same keratin formulation reduced the appearance of lines and wrinkles, resulting in a:13
- 30.4% increase in skin moisture,
- 16.8% improvement in skin elasticity,
- 17.9% improvement in skin smoothness, and
- Visible reduction in wrinkle depth among 58.3% of participants.
Collagen’s Vital Role
Collagen is a major component of nails and skin. It normally comprises 70% of the weight of the dermis, the inner layer of the skin.14
Collagen provides the structural foundation for elastin fibers, a key requirement for supple, flexible skin.
Aging decreases the number of collagen fibers in the dermis and causes elastin fibers to fray and lose elasticity. This deterioration leads to wrinkled and sagging skin.15
Restoring depleted collagen is not as simple as ingesting more collagen. The collagen first needs to be partially broken down through a special process in order to be bioavailable (absorbable).
Researchers developed a blend of bioactive collagen peptides (short chains of amino acids), derived from type I collagen, which is the most abundant form of collagen in the human body.
These highly bioavailable collagen peptides provide the building blocks for collagen synthesis and stimulate collagen and elastin production in the skin.16
They also protect the skin by reducing the activity of metalloproteinase 2, a “protein-melting” enzyme that breaks down collagen and hastens skin aging.17
The effect is a dramatic reduction of skin wrinkles.
Scientists have also clinically demonstrated that these collagen peptides accelerate nail growth, reduce nail brittleness, and decrease frequency of nail breakage.18
Collagen’s Clinical Benefits
Results from two placebo-controlled trials of female volunteers found that taking 2.5 grams of bioactive collagen peptides once daily for eight weeks resulted in healthier, more supple skin.
Among the improvements were a:16,19
- 20.1% reduction in wrinkle depth,
- 65% increase in the accumulation of type I pro-collagen (a precursor of collagen),
- 18% increase in elastin fibers, and
- 7% improvement in skin elasticity (which persisted four weeks after treatment stopped).
A third study found that taking 2.5 grams of bioactive collagen peptides daily for six months reduced cellulite in women by 9% and decreased thigh skin waviness by 11.1%.20
In a trial testing the effect on nails, healthy women who took 2.5 grams of bioactive collagen peptides once daily for 24 weeks had a:18
- 12% increase in nail growth rate,
- 42% decrease in the frequency of broken nails, and
- 64% reduction in brittleness.
Remarkably, four weeks after treatment ended, this reduction in brittleness extended to 88% of participants. This likely resulted from the effect of the peptides on the nail matrix.18
A whopping 80% of participants agreed that the collagen peptides improved their nails’ appearance and expressed complete satisfaction with the results.18
Biotin For Better Nails
Two other nutrients can act as catalysts in helping to rebuild damaged structural tissues: biotin and silicon.
A water-soluble B vitamin, biotin has been shown in animal 21 and human22-24 studies to improve the hardness and integrity of nails.
In one study, taking 2.5 mg of oral biotin daily for an average of 5.5 months increased the firmness and hardness of aged, damaged nails in 91% of subjects.22
In a similar study on women with brittle, splitting nails, taking 2.5 mg of biotin daily for at least one month improved nail integrity, brittleness, and splitting in 63% of subjects.24
A third study of women with brittle and splitting fingernails showed that oral biotin reduced nail splitting and increased nail thickness by 25%.23
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Healthier Skin, Hair, and Nails
- Over time, the quality of our hair, skin, and nails deteriorates, leading to visible signs of aging.
- This occurs as a result of a decline in the quality and amount of the essential structural proteins keratin, collagen, and elastin.
- Taking highly bioavailable forms of solubilized keratin and collagen peptides can replenish these structural proteins.
- Results from clinical studies show that taking these compounds can reduce skin wrinkle depth by 20.1% and improve the strength, growth, and appearance of hair and nails.
- Two other nutrients, biotin and silicon, have been documented to complement these rejuvenation effects.
- Research shows that these oral ingredients can reverse the visible signs of aging that occur in hair, skin, and nails.
Silicon also helps keratin and collagen to rebuild the cellular architecture of hair, skin, and nails.25-28
Scientists have suggested that hair strands with higher silicon content fall out at a lower rate and display greater brightness, and studies show that silicon use may improve hair strength and strands’ resistance to breakage.28
It is also associated with the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans, molecules that help create the substance that fills the space between collagen and elastin.26,28
Silicon is one of the most abundant minerals in the composition of nails.29 Soft and brittle nails can be an indicator of silicon deficiency.28
Taken together, keratin, collagen peptides, biotin, and silicon show great promise for rejuvenation of skin, hair, and nails, and reversal of visible signs of aging.
The loss of the amount and function of structural proteins as we age leads to thinning hair, sagging and wrinkled skin, and brittle, breakable nails.
Scientists have developed forms of keratin and collagen that are taken orally and help restore structural proteins from within, helping tomaintain youthful structure and function with age.
Two additional nutrients, biotin and silicon, help restore the architecture that supports healthy hair, youthful-looking skin, and stronger nails.
These compounds can improve the strength, growth, and health of hair and nails, increase skin moisture and elasticity, and significantly reduce skin wrinkles.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.
Reprinted with permission of Life Extension®- Originally published in the June 2022 edition of Life Extension Magazine® Read the original article on Life Extension’s website https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2022/6/fight-signs-of-aging
- Montemurro B, Gillen MM. Wrinkles and sagging flesh: exploring transformations in women’s sexual body image. J Women Aging. 2013;25(1):3-23.
- Saxon SV EM, Perkins EA. Physical change & aging: a guide for the helping professions. Springer Publishing Company. 2010;5th:520.
- Gupta MA, Gilchrest BA. Psychosocial aspects of aging skin. Dermatol Clin. 2005 Oct;23(4):643-8.
- Sherratt MJ. Tissue elasticity and the ageing elastic fibre. Age (Dordr). 2009 Dec;31(4):305-25.
- Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-skin-wrinkle-wit/. Accessed March 15, 2022.
- Varani J, Dame MK, Rittie L, et al. Decreased collagen production in chronologically aged skin: roles of age-dependent alteration in fibroblast function and defective mechanical stimulation. Am J Pathol. 2006 Jun;168(6):1861-8.
- Giesen M, Gruedl S, Holtkoetter O, et al. Ageing processes influence keratin and KAP expression in human hair follicles. Exp Dermatol. 2011 Sep;20(9):759-61.
- Marzatico F. In vitro efficacy study: Evaluation of the bioavaiability activity of a dietary supplement. Farcoderm; 2010.
- Sando L, Kim M, Colgrave ML, et al. Photochemical crosslinking of soluble wool keratins produces a mechanically stable biomaterial that supports cell adhesion and proliferation. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2010 Dec 1;95(3):901-11.
- ROXLOR. 2010.
- Quaglini M M, F. Clinical Study: Evaluation of the efficacy of a food supplement to strengthen and support hair growth. Farcoderm. 2010.
- Beer C, Wood S, Veghte RH. A clinical trial to investigate the effect of Cynatine HNS on hair and nail parameters. ScientificWorldJournal. 2014;2014:641723.
- Beer C, Wood S, Veghte RH. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to investigate the effect of Cynatine((R)) HNS on skin characteristics. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2013 Dec;35(6):608-12.
- Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1294744-overview#a3. Accessed March 14, 2022.
- McLafferty E, Hendry C, Alistair F. The integumentary system: anatomy, physiology and function of skin. Nurs Stand. 2012 Sep 19-25;27(3):35-42.
- Proksch E, Schunck M, Zague V, et al. Oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides reduces skin wrinkles and increases dermal matrix synthesis. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(3):113-9.
- Zague V, de Freitas V, da Costa Rosa M, et al. Collagen hydrolysate intake increases skin collagen expression and suppresses matrix metalloproteinase 2 activity. J Med Food. 2011 Jun;14(6):618-24.
- Hexsel D, Zague V, Schunck M, et al. Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017 Dec;16(4):520-6.
- Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, et al. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(1):47-55.
- Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S, et al. Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body Mass Index-Dependent Beneficial Effect on Cellulite Morphology. J Med Food. 2015 Dec;18(12):1340-8.
- Comben N, Clark RJ, Sutherland DJ. Clinical observations on the response of equine hoof defects to dietary supplementation with biotin. Vet Rec. 1984 Dec 22-29;115(25-26):642-5.
- Floersheim GL. [Treatment of brittle fingernails with biotin]. Z Hautkr. 1989 Jan 15;64(1):41-8.
- Colombo VE, Gerber F, Bronhofer M, et al. Treatment of brittle fingernails and onychoschizia with biotin: scanning electron microscopy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1990 Dec;23(6 Pt 1):1127-32.
- Hochman LG, Scher RK, Meyerson MS. Brittle nails: response to daily biotin supplementation. Cutis. 1993 Apr;51(4):303-5.
- Jugdaohsingh R. Silicon and bone health. J Nutr Health Aging. 2007 Mar-Apr;11(2):99-110.
- Seaborn CD, Nielsen FH. Silicon deprivation decreases collagen formation in wounds and bone, and ornithine transaminase enzyme activity in liver. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2002 Dec;89(3):251-61.
- Schwarz K. A bound form of silicon in glycosaminoglycans and polyuronides. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1973 May;70(5):1608-12.
- Araujo LA, Addor F, Campos PM. Use of silicon for skin and hair care: an approach of chemical forms available and efficacy. An Bras Dermatol. 2016 May-Jun;91(3):331-5.
- Goldblum RW, Derby S, Lerner AB. The metal content of skin, nails and hair. J Invest Dermatol. 1953 Jan;20(1):13-8.