A Functional Medicine Doctor’s Guide To The Essential Supplements for Optimal Skin, Hair, And Nail Health

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From my years of experience consulting with patients all over the world at my telehealth functional medicine clinic, I know that it’s a struggle to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails. You want your health to be reflected not just on the inside of your body, but on your outside, too. 

Our skin, hair, and nails are not just superficial adornments; they are windows to our internal health. By nourishing our bodies from within, we can unlock the secrets to a glowing complexion, luscious locks, and strong, beautiful nails. In this article, I'll guide you through the essential supplements that may make a difference for you.

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1. Collagen

This is a true beauty powerhouse, as a structural protein that forms the foundation of our skin, hair, and nails. Over time, our natural collagen production declines, leading to signs of aging. To combat this, I recommend incorporating a high-quality collagen supplement into your routine. Not only does collagen support skin elasticity, but it also promotes hair strength and nail resilience. Want to read more about collagen and what it can do for you? Please see my article on it here

Tip: Enhance your collagen routine with my specially curated product, AGENT NATEUR + DR. WILL COLE h o l i ( m a n e ). This unique blend combines the benefits of collagen with other skin-loving ingredients, ensuring you get comprehensive support for a radiant appearance. Learn more about h o l i ( m a n e ) here.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These are essential for maintaining skin health and promoting a glossy shine to your hair. Fatty acids also contribute to strong, healthy nails. These fatty acids help to nourish and protect the skin's lipid barrier, which retains moisture and protects against environmental stressors. Additionally, omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce redness and irritation in the skin. Incorporate sources of Omega-3s into your diet, such as fatty fish or flax seeds, and consider a high-quality fish oil supplement.

3. Vitamin E

A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E acts as armor for your skin, protecting it from oxidative stress and free radical damage. These damaging molecules can accelerate the aging process, leading to wrinkles and a dull complexion. By incorporating vitamin E into your skincare routine, either through diet or supplementation, you provide your skin with the tools it needs to maintain its youthful elasticity. Studies suggest Vitamin E supplementation can improve your skin’s texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines. (1)

4. Biotin

Also known as vitamin B7,  biotin is a key player in promoting healthy hair and nails. It supports the keratin infrastructure, the protein that makes up your hair, skin, and nails. Adequate biotin levels contribute to stronger, shinier hair and resilient nails. While biotin is naturally found in foods like eggs and nuts, a targeted supplement can ensure you're getting the optimal amount for your beauty goals. In fact, research indicates that supplementing with biotin can improve both nail thickness and nail splitting. (2)

If you’re interested in reading more about biotin, there’s an entire article I’ve written about it here

5. Vitamin A

This vitamin plays a vital role in the renewal of skin cells, contributing to a smoother and more radiant complexion. It supports the production of sebum, the skin's natural oil, preventing dryness and flakiness. Including Vitamin A-rich foods or supplements in your diet can promote skin cell turnover, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

6. Vitamin C

Did you know that Vitamin C is a collagen booster? Collagen synthesis relies on Vitamin C, making it essential for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness. Additionally, this vitamin is a potent antioxidant that combats free radicals, contributing to a more youthful appearance. Whether obtained from citrus fruits, bell peppers, or supplements, Vitamin C supports your body's collagen production, positively impacting your skin, hair, and nails. Vitamin C supplementation has been linked to increased collagen synthesis and improved skin texture. (3)

7. Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in skin repair and renewal. It supports the immune system, contributing to a healthier complexion. Zinc is also involved in collagen synthesis, so it’s deeply intertwined with your skin health. Including zinc-rich foods or supplements in your routine can aid in maintaining the integrity of your skin, hair, and nails. According to studies, zinc supplementation can accelerate wound healing and promote skin health. (4)

8. MSM and phytoceramides

These are two of nature’s most formidable ingredients, designed not only to enhance your skin but to support your overall health. That’s why I worked with Agent Nateur to create a curated supplement that contains both, : h o l i ( r a d i a n c e ). The MSM contained in this formula is OptiMSM®, a high-grade antioxidant with clinically proven benefits. 

It plays a crucial role in building keratin and collagen, promoting not just healthier skin but also contributing to the vitality of your hair and nails. Furthermore, OptiMSM® is recognized for its ability to enhance immune function and provide support to joints and muscles.

When paired with a concentrated source of phytoceramides, specifically digalactosyl diglycerides (DGDG), the combination becomes a powerful force in skin restoration. As we age, ceramides, vital for skin health, naturally decline, leading to issues like tightness, dryness, and the formation of wrinkles. Oral ceramides, like those found in holi ( r a d i a n c e ), have been shown in studies to hydrate the skin through the bloodstream, restoring the skin’s water barrier and promoting optimal hydration and plumpness.

The synergy between MSM and phytoceramides has been clinically demonstrated to mitigate signs of aging, significantly enhancing skin firmness, tone, hydration, texture, and addressing concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, and acne. holi ( r a d i a n c e ) is not just a skincare supplement; it's a revolutionary approach to nurturing your skin at the cellular level.

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To Elevate Your Wellness

Elevate Your Beauty Routine

If you want to be sure you get all the vitamins and minerals that play a crucial role in supporting your outer radiance, you’re going to love my new Beauty Stack. This curated collection of essential nutrients is designed to support not just your skin, but also help promote skin resilience, improve sleep, boost your energy and mood, and enhance your immune health. 

The Beauty Stack contains four of my favorite supplements: 

  • Voluminous
  • The Ashwagandha
  • Brillan-C
  • B-Better

What makes each of these carefully chosen supplement blends unique? 

Voluminous contains biotin combined with scientifically validated ch-OSA® (choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid). ch-OSA naturally nurtures your body's beauty proteins by supporting and activating enzymes essential for collagen production.

What makes ch-OSA special is its patented choline-stabilization technology, preventing the formation of substances that can reduce how well your body absorbs orthosilicic acid (OSA). This breakthrough ensures that your body can absorb OSA optimally. Adding biotin to Voluminous boosts its beauty support, providing a well-rounded approach to your health.

The Ashwagandha contains a powerful adaptogenic herb known for its remarkable antioxidant properties. The advanced antioxidants in ashwagandha, such as glutathione and superoxide dismutase, elevate your skin's vitality, bestowing a youthful glow and counteracting the signs of aging by combating free radicals. (5) 

Not just a skincare ally, ashwagandha is a versatile herb that promotes resilience against both physical and mental stressors. Its adaptogenic nature enables your body to adapt physiologically, enhancing your ability to navigate stress and promoting restorative sleep. Rooted in Ayurvedic tradition, ashwagandha is renowned for its holistic benefits, aiming to achieve homeostasis, boost vitality, and slow degenerative processes. Trusted for centuries, it addresses a spectrum of ailments, from musculoskeletal conditions to sleep issues, making it a valuable tool in restoring both physical and mental energy while harmonizing the impact of daily stress.

Brillian-C is  a unique and highly potent vitamin C supplement. Unlike most mammals, humans cannot synthesize vitamin C, making supplementation crucial. Brillian-C stands out with its high bioactivity and absorbability, delivering 7.5 mg of BioPerine® per capsule—a proprietary black pepper extract that enhances vitamin C absorption.

This advanced formula provides robust antioxidant protection against free radicals and supports collagen synthesis, essential for blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone health. Beyond the well-known functions of vitamin C, Brillian-C includes buffering minerals to prevent potential stomach upset, ensuring a gentle yet effective approach to fortifying your immune system and overall health.

B-Better is crafted for maximum effectiveness. It doesn't just contain B vitamins; it features activated forms of essential ones like B2, B6, and B12, ensuring your body can easily absorb and utilize them. B-Better also includes benfotiamine, a special form of thiamine that's not only fat-soluble but also more physiologically active, offering you a superior advantage.

The real star here is Quatrefolic®, the form of folate in B-Better that outshines traditional calcium salt forms of 5-MTHF. It's not just about stability and solubility; it's about providing your body with a more bioavailable source of folate, which is essential for numerous bodily functions.

Now, let's talk about why the activated forms matter. Picture this: B vitamins are water-soluble and need to be transformed in your liver to become active. B-Better simplifies this process. It brings you B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12 (methylcobalamin) already in their active forms. Translation? Your body can readily use them without extra effort.

In essence, B-Better isn't just a supplement; it's a smart investment in your well-being. It's designed to be different because you deserve a B-vitamin supplement that truly works for you, making the journey to better energy, mood, and overall health smoother and more effective.*

Read more about The Beauty Stack here

Nourishing Yourself From the Inside Out

True beauty goes beyond skin deep. Taking a holistic approach to health means eating nourishing foods, managing your stress, getting appropriate sleep, moving your body, and other things that make you feel good. These supplements can serve as an amazing complement to help you get optimal results. 

Many nutrients work synergistically, so eating well and considering targeted supplements may enhance your skin, hair, and nail health. As with any supplementation, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to determine your specific needs and ensure optimal results.

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References:

  1. flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women. J Nutr. 2006 Jun;136(6):1565-9. doi: 10.1093/jn/136.6.1565. PMID: 16702322.
  2. Colombo VE, Gerber F, Bronhofer M, Floersheim GL. Treatment of brittle fingernails and onychoschizia with biotin: scanning electron microscopy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1990 Dec;23(6 Pt 1):1127-32. doi: 10.1016/0190-9622(90)70345-u. PMID: 2273113.
  3. Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients. 2017 Aug 12;9(8):866. doi: 10.3390/nu9080866. PMID: 28805671; PMCID: PMC5579659.
  4. Gupta M, Mahajan VK, Mehta KS, Chauhan PS. Zinc therapy in dermatology: a review. Dermatol Res Pract. 2014;2014:709152. doi: 10.1155/2014/709152. PMID: 25120566; PMCID: PMC4120804.
  5. Bhattacharya SK, Satyan KS, Ghosal S. Antioxidant activity of glycowithanolides from Withania somnifera. Indian J Exp Biol. 1997 Mar;35(3):236-9. PMID: 9332168.

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BY DR. WILL COLE

Evidence-based reviewed article

Dr. Will Cole, DNM, IFMCP, DC is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum and the brand new book Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel.

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Gut Feelings

Healing The Shame-Fueled Relationship
Between What You Eat And How You Feel