The strength and appearance of a person's nails can indicate all-around good health. Nonetheless, overuse of certain products, a poor diet, and numerous other typical lifestyle choices can essentially affect nail health.
Weakened, weak or smooth nails may indicate an underlying condition, such as liver disease, kidney disease and psoriasis, that requires medical attention.
How you treat your nails can directly affect their strength and health.
A balanced, healthy diet that consists of plenty of vitamins and minerals can help with a number of health problems.
If you're not getting the right minerals and vitamins through your diet, you might consider a multivitamin. However, always talk to a doctor before taking multivitamins to make sure they don't interact with existing medications. Multivitamins are available for purchase at pharmacies and also at drugstores.
Nutrients for Healthy, Strong Nails
Your fingernails can say a lot about your health. New nail tissue is constantly growing from the nail bed and an adequate supply of vitamins, minerals and nutrients supports the growth, strength and development of new nail cells. A change in the appearance, condition or perhaps texture of your nails may indicate nutrient deficiencies.
Your nails are made from hardened keratin. This is the protein that makes up your hair strands in addition to calcium deposits:
Calcium is a vital mineral when it comes to keeping the hardness and framework of your nails, as well as the tissues of the nail bed healthy. Make sure you consume plenty of calcium to keep your nails strong and less prone to dryness. Good sources of calcium include milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, nuts, soybeans, and tofu.
However, increasing your calcium intake alone is unlikely to solve the problem of brittle nails. You need to make sure that you are also consuming enough vitamin D, as it aids in the absorption of calcium from meals.
It is recommended that you take a vitamin D supplement as dietary sources are rare. Guidelines recommend 10 mg daily unless you spend a lot of time in the sun.
Vitamin E oil provides all the essential benefits you need to raise long and healthy nails. The moisturizing properties of vitamin E oil can also support nail health by preventing cracked, dry skin and cuticles around the nail bed. It's no secret that a few nail polishes and nail polish removers can be particularly damaging to nails. Fortunately, vitamin E oil works to fix and protect against damage. Using vitamin E oil on the nail bed and cuticles can reverse the damage caused by nail polish remover and nail polish.
Vitamin E oil is moisturizing. Just like your skin, your nails need high levels of moisture to look good and stay performing. Vitamin E is a soluble nutrient that increases moisture levels in the nail bed as well as the skin around the nails to renew and restore dry cuticles. Since vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, it protects against free radical damage to your nails. By slathering your nails with vitamin E oil, you can create a protective shield for your nails.
Iron forms the center of the red blood cells that carry oxygen to your organs and every cell in your body - including your nails. Without iron, oxygen is not properly transported to your cells.
Since oxygen is needed for healthy nails, an iron deficiency or perhaps anemia can lead to a vertical spine in your nails, or your nails may become concave
RDAs for iron vary significantly by gender and age. The recommendation for men is 8 mg per day, while that for women ages 19 to 50 is 18 mg per day. After women reach the age of 50, their iron requirement drops to 8 mg daily.
Your body absorbs the iron found in animal foods such as beef, chicken, eggs and fish better than that found in plant foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, seeds, peanuts, beans and other foods.
Nevertheless, eating a food high in vitamin C in combination with a plant source of iron improves absorption. For example, strawberries and eating oranges along with a spinach salad with beans and seeds will improve your iron absorption.
Magnesium is a mineral needed for more than 300 reactions in your body, such as protein synthesis, which is necessary for nail growth.
Vertical ridges in your nails could be a sign of a magnesium deficiency. Despite the worldwide availability of this particular mineral, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that less than 60% of the US population consumes the recommended amount.
The RDA is 400 to 420 mg and 310 to 320 mg per day for women and men, respectively.
Whole grains, especially whole wheat, are a rich source of magnesium. Dark green leafy vegetables, as well as quinoa, almonds, cashews, peanuts, and black beans are also good sources.
Nails are largely made up of a bland structural protein called keratin. This is what gives nails their resilience and strength. Additionally, it protects your nails from worry or perhaps harm.
Surprisingly, the keratin you see is old. Nails are formed by old cells that your body sheds, while new cells push up from the bottom.
Eating enough protein in your diet is critical to improving keratin formation and thus building strong nails, while low protein intake can lead to weaker nails.
The RDA for protein is 0.36 grams per pound (0.8 grams per kg) of body weight per day. This equates to about 55 grams of protein per day for a 68 kg person.
Yet the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) allows protein to make up 10 to 35% of your total daily calories - much more than the RDA.
Protein is found in animal foods such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs, but also in plant foods such as soybeans, nuts, lentils, beans, legumes, whole grains and seeds.
Zinc is necessary for numerous reactions in your body, such as the development and division of cells.
Nails are made up of a type of cells that develop and divide quickly. Because of this rapid development, a constant zinc intake is necessary to promote healthy nail growth.
Improper intake of zinc will lead to the breakdown of the nail plate, causing the appearance of white spots on your nails.
The RDA for zinc is 11 mg and 8 mg per day for women and men respectively.
Animal proteins like beef, poultry, fish and eggs are rich sources of zinc. But black beans, chickpeas, soy, nuts (like cashews and almonds) and seeds also contain it.
Other B vitamins can also be important for nail health.
Vitamin B12 plays a role in iron absorption, in addition to improving red blood cells. Both iron and B12 are needed to keep nails strong and healthy.
A deficiency of vitamin B12 can result in completely blue nails, bluish-black pigment with wavy, dark longitudinal stripes, and brownish pigmentation.
Likewise, vitamin B9 is vital to the development and wellness of nails by contributing to the development of white blood cells as well as the development of new cells.
A deficiency of folic acid can lead to a change in the pigmentation of the nails, making them brittle and firm.
To prevent a deficiency, adults need 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 and 400 mcg of folate per day.
Folate is found in dark green vegetables, nuts, lentils, peas, beans, citrus fruits, avocado and seeds. On the other hand, B12 is largely found in animal foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs, although it may be fortified in various foods and beverages.
While dietary intake of various vitamins, nutrients, and minerals helps maintain and develop healthy nails, research suggests that supplementation with these vitamins and minerals does not.
Biotin is different, and supplements of this particular vitamin could help restore weak nails.
In general, if you want strong, shiny nails, include things like a variety of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts in your diet, as well as adequate protein and omega-3 fatty acids.