Brittle Nails

image001Brittle nails can be an annoying issue. Everyone strives to have beautiful nails with buffing, moisturizing and polishing. If you have brittle nails, you may have an underlying health condition that is showing up in nail health. Take a look at some of the most common reasons nails become brittle and learn how to improve nail health through better nutrition.

Causes of Brittle Nails

Causes

Descriptions

Dehydration

Brittle nails can be a very outward sign of dehydration. Even if you are drinking fluids, brittle nails may be a sign that you need more water. You may be drinking too many sodas or caffeinated drinks which are not as hydrating as plain water. Other signs of a dehydrated body are darkened urine, mouth dryness, flushed skin and appetite loss.

Vitamin Deficiency

Our soil where food is grown is lacking in certain nutrients in recent times. This has resulted in nutritional deficiencies for iron, and vitamins B, C, D, and E. Signs of deficiencies for these nutrients include blue nail beds, brittle nails, nail breakage, and ridges to the nail beds.

Inadequate Protein

You are what you eat, as the saying goes, well your nails are made up of keratin. Keratin is a type of protein fiber and nail breakage can be a sign that you are deficient in this protein. Other symptoms of protein deficiency include loss of muscle tone, loss of hair, fatigue, and poor healing.

Overuse of Nail

Depending on your job or what you do around the house, things like dishes, typing on the computer, cleaning the tub and even playing the piano or guitar can wreak havoc on your nails. Keep them short and filed if you do heavy work with your hands, wear rubber gloves when cleaning and use a good moisturizing cream.

Nail Polish

Nails need air and covering them with polish can starve them of oxygen. Also, nail polish is full of chemicals that can cause brittle nails. Keeping polish on the nails all the time can cause major damage, so give them some breathing room.

Acid Body

Healthy bodies perform their best when they are alkaline. Eating an unhealthy diet that is rich in carbohydrates, processed sugars, alcohol, soda and too many grains can increase the acid levels in the body. Symptoms of too much acid are brittle nails, ulcers in the mouth, headaches, fatigue, loosened teeth, dull hair, and gastritis.

Gluten Intolerance

Nail breakage could be a sign of gluten intolerance. This disorder is when the body is unable to tolerate foods such as wheat, oats, rye and barley. Symptoms of gluten intolerance include muscle pain, weakness, foggy thinking, brittle nails and dry skin.

Hypothyroidism

When your body is low on thyroid hormones, your nails can appear brittle and unhealthy. Symptoms of low thyroid hormone include tiredness, nail breakage, dry skin, ridges in the nail, memory problems and constipation.

Home Remedies for Brittle Nails

Once you pinpoint the cause of your brittle nails, you can find easy ways to treat them at home. It may be as easy as a slight change in diet or you may need an actual supplement of a certain nutrient. Also, good skin and nail care is essential to healthy nails. Here are some home remedies that can improve the health and looks of your nails.

Take Supplements

image002Your nails need vitamins just like the rest of your body in order to be healthy. When you are low on zinc and iron, your nails will be the first to tell you. It may only take the addition of a good multivitamin to cure the issue. Make sure you take a vitamin that contains the basics vitamins A, C, iron, niacin and calcium. Make sure you are getting enough biotin in a quality B complex formula or try adding the following foods to your diet peanuts, soy, liver, bananas, oatmeal and mushrooms.

Moisturize Hands and Nails

image003Dry skin can be one of the biggest contributors to brittle and breaking nails. Just like skin that is too dry gets flaky and cracks, the nails that lack moisture will do the same.

  • You can pick up a good moisturizer at your local drug store. Try to buy one with extra moisturizing power like the common products, Aquaphor or Vaseline.
  • There are also nail creams that contain healthy ingredients like avocado oil, shea butter and vitamin E.

Apply Natural Oils

image004To nourish your nails, you can apply natural oils to them and improve their looks and health. Try these oils:

  • Coconut Oil. Coconut oil is effective in improving your nail health, as well as the entire body. This is because coconut oil contains large amounts of antioxidants that can help fight off any free radicals in the body and reduce premature aging. When you manicure the nails, do a little filing and make sure the cuticles are pushed all the way back. Rub coconut oil into the nail and nail beds. For best results, skip polishing your nails so they can absorb the oil.
  • Argan Oil. Argan oil protects, moisturizes and makes nails stronger. You can use it full strength or mix one part argan oil with one part lemon juice and soak nails for 15 minutes.
  • Vitamin E Oil. Vitamin E oil can moisturize and bring new life to brittle nails. To get the most, purchase only pure vitamin E oil in capsule form. Just open up the gel cap and squeeze the oil onto the nail and rub in. For added benefits, take vitamin E capsules by mouth.

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