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Nail Care Tip: Eat your way to better nails

People who have brittle nails would often hear advice to eat right or take vitamins and minerals. In reality, the majority of brittle nail cases result from other causes. The most common cause is excessive exposure to water, detergents and solvents, such as acetone in nail polish removers. The other cause is fungal infections, more often seen in toenails. If you have brittle nails, first make sure you have eliminated or addressed these possible causes.

If the problem remains, a diet adjustment may be considered. Unfortunately, the link between a diet and brittle nails remains largely unresearched. Some experts recommend increasing the intake of protein and dairy products. Others suggest supplement of such vitamins/minerals as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, calcium, iron and zinc.

Since it is hard to guess which, if any, nutrient deficiency may contribute to brittle nails in a particular person, it makes the most sense to eat a balanced diet and take a broad-spectrum multivitamin/mineral supplement. Also, people with low stomach acid and/or pancreatic problems may benefit from digestive supplements to ensure that protein in their food is properly assimilated.

Finally, there is one supplement whose positive effect on brittle nails is backed by clinical studies. In several studies, biotin (a B-complex vitamin) has been shown to improve brittle nails in over half of the patients. The typical dose was 2.5 mg per day. Unfortunately, it usually took several month of supplementation to see results.


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