Cure for your hair and skin woes could be a dose of Vitamin H

Neena Haridas
Neena HaridasMay 13, 2016 | 16:26

Cure for your hair and skin woes could be a dose of Vitamin H

Have you been to a mall lately? There is one thing you will never miss no matter how hard you try  to stay focussed on the agenda (which usually is shopping or binging at your favourite restaurant) at hand: your own hand, literally. There will be a Nail Spa (as if all the Thai Aroma Therapy parlours weren't enough) tucked away at every corner/floor to remind you of your overdue manicure and the chipped finger nails.

During one such recent venture, I finally succumbed to the call of the nail salon. One look at my hands and the lady behind the array of nail polishes declared that I had a serious "nail issue". I was given the low down: my nails (palms included) apart from being ugly is a victim of severe Vitamin H deficiency. And that I need to pay immediate attention before my hair and skin fall off.

Okay, bald can be cool, but nail-less?

Severe Vitamin H deficiency may result in brittle nails.

For the last couple of years, no matter what your medical condition, the doctors have been pushing Vitamin D on us as though the sun in a tropical country like India was an incandescent bulb.

And I thought I had the supplement part all covered for the day with that grey multi-vitamin tablet that comes in a bottle that says "For women" with the promise of vigour and vitality. Clearly, I missed the vitamin alphabet class. Apparently, ABCDE is not all. There is an H playing a very important role in our body, I am told. Not to be taken for the Vitamin D trip this time, I decided to study Mr H. Yes, the West is all about Biotin. So, we better move quickly.

Egg yolk is a fine source of Vitamin H.

Biotin, christened Vitamin H by skin scientists, is one of the B complex vitamins that helps our body covert food into energy. Of course, anything new or exotic must have Greek ancestry.

The word biotin comes from the ancient Greek word “biotos,” which means “life” or “sustenance.” B vitamins, and specifically biotin,  help keep your skin, hair, eyes, nails, liver, and nervous system healthy. These are medical facts. But new studies claim that getting an extra dose of Vitamin H can regulate your blood sugar, promote healthy hair, skin and nails, and help pregnant women have healthier babies. Ain't that a clincher?

Every other day, there is a new fad that hits the vanity circle. Remember the time when coconut oil was declared the killer oil on earth, as several "studies proved" that it leads to heart attacks? By this logic, the Malayalis, including yours truly, would have joined the endangered species by now. Or extinct.

Today, you have television advertisements showing mothers pouring coconut oil directly into a hapless baby's mouth, as the entire family eats, drinks and lives on coconut oil happily ever after. What the hell happened to the coronary? Ask the coroner.

Now it is the turn of the H. So, what is the secret of this magic portion? Where/how do we get it? Well, the answer is not as exciting as you may have imagined.

You want your H for the day? Eat right. Yes, that is what the studies have proved: eating right makes your skin, hair nails, liver, heart and the rest of your body healthy. Now, why hadn't I heard of that before?

Here is the beauty of the beauty business: The miracle to gorgeousness is right inside your pantry.

Don't kill Vitamin H by overcooking the curry. Learn to stir fry.

The best natural sources of Vitamin-H, according the studies, are egg yolk (so much so for the healthy egg white omelette theory); organ meats such as liver and kidney; peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, nut butters; soybean and other legumes; whole grains and cereals; cauliflower, bananas and mushrooms. Because food-processing techniques like cooking can turn biotin ineffective, raw or less-processed versions of these foods are recommended. Don't kill the H by overcooking the curry. Learn to stir fry like the Chinese.

Did you really think you can nail the beauty freaks with cooking lessons? All this miracle comes in a bottle, obviously. Simply put: pop another pill. And I certainly would when it comes with labels such as Long Tresses, Hair, Eyes and Nail or Bright Eyes. Call me a hypocrite.

How do you know if you are low on Vitamin H? Look for symptoms of hair loss or a scaly red rash, say doctors and recommend increasing your intake. On an average, the recommended H dose is about 30 and 100 mcg per day for adolescents and adults.

You don't have to worry if you overdose in one of your vain moments. Since it’s water-soluble, the extra biotin will simply piss and pass the extras. While most people can handle biotin supplements, some have complained side effects like nausea and digestive issues. However, no known toxicity symptoms have come to light, at least not as yet.

Tread with caution.

Well, while I watch out for the next fad wrapped in science and beauty, I am off to buy some cauliflower. I am giving the pill a miss for now, but I think my refrigerator needs a refill anyway. Care to join?

Last updated: May 13, 2016 | 18:11
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