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Is keratin good for hair?

Q: Is keratin good for hair? Are there any fruits that contain keratin protein?

A:Keratin is an extremely strong protein which is a major component in skin, hair, nails, hooves, horns and teeth. The amino acids that combine to form keratin have several unique properties, and depending on the levels of the various amino acids, keratin can be inflexible and hard as in hooves, or soft as is the case with skin. Most of the keratin that people interact with is actually dead; hair, skin and nails are all formed from dead cells which the body sheds as new cells push up from underneath. If the dead cells are kept in good condition, they will serve as an insulating layer to protect the delicate new keratin below them. Keratin is difficult to dissolve, because it contains cysteine disulphide, which means that it is able to form disulphide bridges. These disulphide bridges create a helix shape that is extremely strong, as sulphur atoms bond to each other from across the helix, creating a fibrous matrix, which is not readily soluble. Depending on how much cysteine disulphide keratin contains, the bond can be extremely strong to make hard cells like those found in hooves, or it can be softer to make flexible keratin like hair and skin. Because of the high levels of sulphur in keratin, when it is burned it emits a distinct sulphurous odour which some people find distasteful. Keratin is formed by keratinocytes, living cells which make up a large part of skin, hair, nails, and other keratin containing parts of the body. The cells slowly push their way upwards, eventually dying and forming a protective layer of cells. Thousands of these cells are shed every day, and the process can be accelerated by various medical conditions, such as psoriasis. Damage to the external layer of keratin can cause skin, hair, and nails to look unhealthy or flaky. Hair and nails on humans especially tend to become dry and brittle, because the dead keratin is being pushed to great lengths. By eating foods like gelatin and keeping hair and nails moist, they can be grown out while still remaining healthy. In general, the thicker the layer of keratin, the healthier the hair or nail is, because the dead cells outside protect the living cells at the core. Keeping the external layer of keratin moisturised will also keep it healthy and prevent cracking and splitting, whether the keratin is forming the hooves of a horse of the skin of a human. While you cannot make hair grow more quickly, you can make it stronger, healthier, and more attractive to look at it by eating a balanced diet and adding supplements designed for hair. Like nails, hair is made from keratin, a type of protein: increasing the protein in your diet will help make your hair stronger. In addition, you can take kelp tablets and gelatin to promote hair growth and strength.


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