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Hair, Skin & Nail Vitamins Versus Prenatal Vitamins

By Kristin Davis ; Updated July 18, 2017

Certain vitamins, such as vitamin H or biotin, aid in hair and nail growth as well as skin health. There are claims that prenatal vitamins can help improve skin health and create longer, stronger hair and nails. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can ensure that your body is receiving the nutrients that it needs. Prior to beginning a vitamin regimen, consult with your health care provider for recommendations.

Hair, Skin and Nail Vitamins

B-complex vitamins consist of all of the B vitamins that your body needs. Vitamin H, or biotin, is a part of the group of B vitamins and is particularly responsible for longer hair, stronger nails and healthy skin, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Sardines, egg yolks, whole grains, nuts and bananas provide a plentiful source of biotin. Biotin is also available as a supplement. Adults who are healthy can safely consume up to 30 micrograms per day, according to the UMMC. Consult with your physician to see if this amount is right for you.

Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins provide essential nutrients such as iron, folic acid and calcium, according to Drugs.com. Pregnant women and nursing moms need these additional nutrients to support healthy embryo growth and nourish themselves as well as the baby while breastfeeding. Folic acid helps ensure that the baby does not develop neurological defects such as spina bifida, while the calcium ensures strong healthy bones. The iron is required to ensure that the mother-to-be can produce enough red blood cells to support the increase of blood volume during pregnancy and supply the necessary amount of iron required for nursing.

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Comparisons

Prenatal vitamins do not contain any nutrients that aid in hair, skin and nail growth or development, according to MedlinePlus. Biotin is simply not included in the formula because the primary function of prenatal vitamins is to deliver three essential nutrients: iron, calcium and folic acid. All of these nutrients, including biotin, folic acid, calcium and iron, are found in multivitamins. Prenatal vitamins deliver a higher dose of calcium, iron and folic acid than an ordinary multivitamin blend because pregnant and nursing women require higher doses.

Warning

If you are not pregnant, nursing or plan to become pregnant, taking a prenatal vitamin may not be in your best interest, according to Columbia Health. Since prenatal vitamins contain a higher concentration of iron, the iron could build up in your body. Too much iron can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. A severe build-up of iron in your system could possibly result in death.

Considerations

Only take a prenatal vitamin if you and your doctor decide it’s right for you. If you want to improve your skin or grow longer hair and stronger nails, opt for a biotin supplement. Certain cosmetic products, including fingernail polishes, shampoos and conditioners, are formulated with biotin to provide extra strength and support healthy growth, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

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