Prenatal vitamins for hair and nails: Helpful or harmful?19 Aug 2009, by HAIR LOSS SCIENCE in
LA Health and Beauty Examiner Sarah Torribio
“I’ve heard that prenatal vitamins are a great way to get stronger hair and nails. Is this true? Also, is it safe to take them if I’m not having a baby, and don’t plan to become pregnant?”
The old wives’ tale is that your nails and hair will grow faster if you take prenatal vitamins.
Actually, there is no scientific evidence linking the consumption of prenatal vitamins with faster hair and nail growth.
Scientists don’t know everything, though. After all, despite the fact that we’ve almost reached the space age-sounding year of 2010, no one has found a cure for baldness or the common cold.
Anecdotal evidence abounds as to the vitamins’ efficacy. Nearly everyone you ask seems to have a story about it. I’m no exception.
A friend of mine watched her hair grow several inches during her pregnancy. And while I didn’t have a follicular growth spurt, when I was pregnant with my now 8-month-old son, my nails were tough as . . .well . . . nails. I think it was the vitamins.
All of this talk is nothing new. A few years back, however, web searches regarding the prenatal vitamin/hair-and-nails link spiked after a 2006 Harper’s Bazaar interview with actress Gwyneth Paltrow, in which she was asked what beauty tips she plans to pass onto her daughter Apple.
Along with touting H2O, sunscreen and fresh organic food, she shared the secret to her lovely flaxen locks, which at the time flowed past her bra strap. She credited prenatal vitamins.
“It doesn’t matter if you are pregnant, I swear to God,” Paltrow told Harper’s. “I have double-processed blond hair, and it’s so long and not damaged. Those vitamins, they are the trick!”
If Gwyneth and the word on the street are right, what’s the secret to this mane magic?
It may not be any particular component of prenatal vitamins, but instead a happy side-effect of consistently using any comprehensive multivitamin.
Perhaps prenatal vitamins seem better at nurturing hair and nail growth than regular multivitamins because expectant mothers —and those hoping to rid themselves of tress distress and the broken-nail blues—are so conscientious about popping the daily supplements.
For instance, I am very spotty about taking vitamins in general. I tend to get on a healthy kick, do well at taking a daily multivitamin for a couple of weeks, and then forget about it. While I was pregnant, however, I never missed a dose. After all, I had the ultimate incentive: a healthy baby.
My prenatal vitamin-consuming regularity could be the secret to my Herculean nails.
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