Home Health Brittle Nails – Symptom of Underlying Health Issue?


Although our bones and nails require a reasonable intake of calcium in our diet, it is in fact a vitamin deficiency that is likely t cause you to have brittle nails.

One of the reasons for skin, hair and nail problems is a deficiency in one or more of the B vitamins. Two in particular are important with regard to your nail health. Pantothenic Acid (B5) and Biotin. There is quite compelling evidence that shows that biotin is absorbed into the core of the nail where it encourages a thicker and stronger regrowth.

It is important that you have a natural diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables with good helpings of wholegrains such as porridge oats and brown rice that contain these vital B Vitamins. You should notice that your skin and hair condition also improve after following this type of diet for a few weeks.

Pantothenic acid and biotin are found in foods that are good sources of B vitamins, including the following:

* Eggs
* Fish such as salmon, tuna, trout and shrimp.
* Liver
* Milk and milk products
* Whole-grain cereals
* Legumes
* Yeast
* Broccoli, cauliflower and other vegetables in the cabbage family
* White and sweet potatoes
* Lean beef
Brittle nails are quite a common problem particularly for women and there are a number of causes. I will try to address the most common reasons for you.

Firstly, it is a good idea to do a general health check, as brittle nails can be an indication of an underlying medical problem. For example, brittle nails can be caused by a lack of oxygen and if you have a respiratory condition such as asthma this could result in the problem. It can also be an indication of a fungal infection or low thyroid function, so if you have any other symptoms such as fatigue or aches and pains then pay a visit to your G.P. and get him to give you a check up.

If there are no other symptoms then the first step is to make some practical changes to your hand care as soon as possible, followed by a good look at your diet.

There are a number of environmental factors involved such as overheated homes and offices, chemicals in cleaning products and even frequent washing of hands that can damage the structure of the nail.

Nails expand as they absorb water and then contract when your hands are dry which weakens them. A very practical solution is to wear gloves for any washing up or other household cleaning that you do and moisturise after washing your hands.

Trim your nails short and do this after bathing so that the nails are softer and less likely to crack. Use an emery board to smooth the edges rather than a metal file that can lead to more damage.

Put some olive oil in a cleaned out nail varnish bottle and paint the oil on your nails every day, gently massaging it into the cuticles, beneath the nail and across the tops and underside of the fingers. This will stimulate circulation, encourage oxygen into the nail bed and moisturise both the nail and the surrounding skin.

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