How keratin helps to form the hair
Keratin is a protein that is fibrous in structure and is one of many important biological molecules. In fact, keratin is molecule that helps to make up our nails and hair and is found in the outer layers of our skin, where it provides protection from environmental stresses 1 .
In the skin, special cells called keratinocytes are responsible for actually making the keratin molecules. These molecules are made up of several fibers that, depending on the type of keratin, can link together and coil into a helical structure. The keratins are insoluble proteins which thus help in also waterproofing the epithelial cells of the skin and the nails and hair shafts.
The keratin in the layer of the skin known as the stratum corneum interacts with both elastin and collagen fibers to provide added strength to the skin. The basic units of proteins are monomers called amino acids, and in keratin the most abundant of these amino acids is cysteine. The cysteines form bonds called disulfide bridges which combine to form rigid connections between individual components of the keratin molecules.
Are supplements advisable for your hair?
There is some evidence that keratin supplements can sometimes help the hair to feel softer and may even make the hair shinier. It is probably even better if you simply eat healthy and take in vitamins and minerals that are known to be beneficial for the production and maintenance of healthy strands of hair.
It is important that you eat a healthy diet regardless of the condition of your hair as this helps in keeping your body healthy and preventing illness; it also helps your immune system to function properly and fight off disease-causing pathogenic microbes.
Biotin is one of the B complex vitamins, which is widely believed to help in hair growth. This along with other vitamins, such as vitamin A, C and E are important in the human body in keeping us healthy. Vitamin C and zinc are also good in boosting the function of the immune system which protects us from harm.
If you do decide to take keratin supplements you should realize that too much can be harmful since it can accumulate in the body. Ensuring you eat enough protein can help as well because keratins, collagens and elastins are all proteins that are made from amino acids which we take into our body when eating food that is rich in proteins.
Some amino acids can be made in the human body from raw materials, but others have to be taken in with our food and therefore eating a diet with a variety of nutrients is most beneficial.
Some people do struggle with hair loss which is something that can be caused by many different factors. Genetics, hormones, autoimmune diseases and various stresses placed on the hair can cause hair strands to thin and fall out. If you are concerned about thinning hair it would be smart to consult with a specialist at a clinic (Vera Clinic) to see what options there are to help you.