Is Gelatin Good for Healthy Nail & Hair Growth?
Both gelatin and biotin have gained a lot of attention lately for their role in skin, hair and nail care, and for good reason. They both have their own unique and beneficial properties, and can actually work together quite nicely. In this article, you’ll learn more about each one, and their particular roles in achieving healthy skin, hair and nails. Here’s our analysis of biotin vs gelatin.
What is Gelatin?
Gelatin is a protein derived from collagen (when you cook collagen, you get gelatin), and has a unique combination of amino acids. It has become popular over recent years, especially for the role it plays in brain function, joint health, and healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Collagen is well-studied for being the most abundant protein found in all animals (humans included), primarily in bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin. You can think of it as basically providing structure to our tissues, such as skin flexibility and tendon strength. You won’t get collagen by just eating meat or animal products because it is found in parts of the animal that aren’t directly edible (like bones).
Collagen is extracted and gelatin formed by cooking broth from the bones and body parts of animals. Gelatin has a thick, jelly-like consistency when cool, but dissolves when heated. This is why your broth will become congealed when you put it in the fridge.
Gelatin is made up mainly of the amino acids glycine, proline, valine, hydroxyproline and glutamic acid.
Gelatin and Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails
Various studies have shown that both collagen and gelatin (remember that collagen is the main component of gelatin) improve the appearance of skin and hair. One study found that participants who took 10 grams of collagen experience significantly denser skin collagen levels than a placebo group, and other studies have found a connection between collagen intake and hair thickness and growth.
Gelatin is especially known for its hair and skin benefits, and less for its nail benefits.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is a vitamin (otherwise known as vitamin B7), that is water soluble and most known for its importance during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Fun fact: biotin used to be known as vitamin H, for the German words Haar and Haut, which means hair and skin.
Aside from benefiting hair, nails, and skin, it also helps with macronutrient metabolism, balanced blood sugar levels and it is essential for healthy pregnancy and lactation.
Biotin and Healthy Skin and Nails
Studies show that biotin can help with brittle nails, which is when nails are dry and break easily. Biotin seems to keep nails from easily breaking, although more studies are needed.
Preliminary research also suggests that biotin is important for hair growth and that a biotin deficiency (which is relatively rare) could cause hair loss.
Speaking of deficiency, studies show that biotin deficiency can actually cause scaly, red skin rashes, along with seborrheic dermatitis (AKA, cradle cap).
Biton Vs Gelatin
We’re not necessarily talking an either-or situation here, but (as always) it’s important to check with your doctor or healthcare professional before choosing supplements. Both biotin and collagen have their own unique (and similar) benefits and can complement each other. The best way to get collagen is by regularly sipping on a homemade bone broth, but supplementing can be a good choice, too.
Check out our selection of biotin and gelatin products to support healthy skin, hair and nails here. The best food sources of biotin include organ meats (like liver), dairy and egg yolks. If making your own broth, opt for bones from pasture raised and grass fed animals, if possible.
Rachel Fiske is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and graduated from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition in Berkeley, California. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Rachel focuses on issues of weight management, GI problems, hormonal imbalances, fatigue and more via a whole foods diet and lifestyle changes.