Virtually every nutritional deficiency can affect the growth of the nail in some manner.
This is a quote from a study published in the Clinics in Dermatology journal back in 2010, but it really sums up why looking at your nails on a regular basis is so important. Of course it’s nice to have good-looking, smooth, strong nails, but the bottom line is that our nails tell the story of our health.
Nails are primarily made of keratin, so sufficient amounts of protein are necessary for healthy nails. Nail health depends on more than just protein though. A variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients are also needed for strong, healthy nails.
Top 5 Supplements For Stronger, Healthy Nails
Collagen peptides are a form of pure protein that contain essential amino acids. Collagen is naturally found in bone broth, but I also use a grass-fed supplement that I really like. My whole family uses it, and we add it to smoothies and yoghurt. I have been adding it to my morning glass of lemon water for about 3 months now and I have noticed my nails look shiny, smooth and strong. My hair is growing faster as well.
And this would be why: A 2017 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reported that collagen was a major player in strengthening nails.
Participants taking collagen found that:
- nail growth increased by 12%
- broken nails decreased by 42%
- 64% of participants saw brittle nails improve
- 88% saw an improvement even a month after the collagen treatment.
I’m amazed at how fast this works. My nails have always been nice, but based on my experience I would recommend this collagen supplement if yours are thin, brittle or you want to grow your nails faster.
If you are vegetarian, check out this link: The vegetarian’s guide to healthy bones
Also, ensure you are eating foods rich in Vitamin C, since this also supports the formation of collagen. (Broccoli, spinach, oranges, green and red peppers, etc.)
Zinc is one of the most abundant minerals in our body, yet according to the World Health Organization, about 1/3 of us are zinc deficient. Since zinc helps the body to absorb protein, it’s basically the unsung hero of healthy nails.
Some great sources of zinc are:
- salmon (also has selenium and copper, which aid in collagen production)
- oysters (a whopping 493% DV of zinc per serving)
- beef, crab, and lobster all contain zinc, with chicken not too far behind
- vegan sources include beans and legumes, nuts and seeds. Keep in mind that physic acid blocks zinc absorption, so soaking nuts and grains is a good idea.
This water-soluble vitamin is a member of the B-vitamin family. Biotin has been clinically shown to strengthen fingernails in multiple case studies. Biotin-rich foods include organ meats (pate might be more palatable), eggs, fish, meat, seeds, nuts, salmon, and sweet potato.
If you are veggie or vegan, read this.
Some nails are weak or brittle, and some are even curved upwards at the sides (spoon nails), due to an iron deficiency. Having low iron levels is really common for women. Personally, I have never been diagnosed as iron deficient, but I know when my levels are low I feel like crap. This started happening after I had my son, as it was a really difficult birth and I lost a lot of blood. I have taken Floradix off and on ever since to help keep my iron levels up. I really like this one because it’s easily absorbed. You can also cook with cast iron, and/or add a little more red meat to your diet.
Soft, flaky nails can be caused by insufficient levels of blood magnesium. If your nails are prone to splitting, this can also be due to low magnesium levels.
Here’s how to tell if you may be low in magnesium:
- muscle spasm and cramping
- sleep problems
- low energy
- anxiety or depression
- other mineral deficiencies
Keep in mind that these are symptoms that could be caused by other factors, however adding more magnesium to your regimen won’t hurt. Taking regular salt baths may be helpful.
PS. The products links in this post are not affiliated in any way, they are recommendations based on my personal experience.
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