If your nails are constantly breaking, slow-growing, or just overall not as pretty as you would like, take a look into your diet and supplements before covering them up with a polish.
In this article, we will go over some of the most commonly discussed vitamins and supplements that help ensure the proper functioning, and care of your nails.
Biotin is a classic supplement for brittle nails, and for good reason.
One study gave people with brittle nails a Biotin supplement for 6 months and found that the overall thickness of nails increased by 25%.
The recommended daily allowance for Biotin is 30 mcg for adult men and women.
Biotin is mostly found in meat, eggs, fish, seeds, and nuts. So, if you are a vegetarian and you don’t eat a lot of nuts and seeds, you may consider adding on a Biotin supplement to keep your nails looking their best.
Being deficient in B12 can cause an unusual darkening of the nails, or even a bluish tint if it goes on for too long.
B12 also helps with proper iron absorption and makes sure that red blood cells are produced correctly to ensure healthy blood flow to the nail beds.
The recommended daily allowance to aim for in adults is 2.4 mcg. B12 is notoriously difficult to fully get into your system, so supplement often way overshoot this value, it is not abnormal to see 1,000 - 5,000mcg supplements on the shelves.
B12 is found mainly in meat and dairy products, so if you are a vegetarian be sure to supplement your B12 regularly.
Folate helps create healthy red blood cells, which means an increased ability to get oxygen and nutrients to those nail beds.
Deficiencies in folate are known to lead to nail discolorations or cause ridges in your nails.
The recommended daily allowance for Folate in adults is 400mcg daily.
The top 6 foods in terms of Folate levels are: Beef liver, spinach, black-eyed peas, fortified breakfast cereals, asparagus, and brussels sprouts. So, if liver and leafy greens aren’t your thing, you may want to consider supplementing for optimal nail health.
Making sure your iron levels are adequate is key to ensuring your nail beds are getting adequate levels of oxygen for healthy growth.
Iron is an integral part of all red blood cells and without it, they can’t properly transport oxygen.
During iron deficiency, there may be changes in your nails including ridges or caving inward.
The recommended daily allowance of iron for adults 19-50 years old is 18mg for women and 8mg for men. After the age of 50 women’s iron need lower down to 8mg.
The food sources highest in iron are: Iron-fortified breakfast cereals, oysters, white beans, dark chocolate, and beef liver.
Vitamin C plays lots of roles in the body, and yes, it is good for your nails too.
Vitamin C is needed to make collagen, and collagen just happens to be a building block for nails. You can thank collagen for lending nails their strength, shape, and resistance to breakage.
The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin C in adults is 90mg daily for males or 75mg daily in females. But, if you are a smoker, bump this up by 35mg.
The top foods for their high Vitamin C content are: Red and green bell peppers, orange juice, oranges, grapefruit juice, kiwi, and broccoli. All of the high Vitamin C content foods are plant-based, so if you struggle with getting your fruits and veg in on a daily basis, grab a Vitamin C supplement.
Zinc helps with the healthy growth and replication of cells, so if you want your nails to grow fast and look healthy, zinc is your friend.
Zinc deficiencies have also been linked to issues with your nail bed and white spots on your nails.
The recommended daily allowance for zinc in adults is 11mg for males and 8mg for females.
The top foods for getting lots of zinc are: Oysters, beef, crab, fortified breakfast cereals, or lobster. If you are a vegetarian, there are a few bean and seed zinc options, but making sure you are taking a zinc supplement will ensure you are getting enough daily.
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