7 Essential Vitamins for Nail Health

For maintaining the strength and health of your nails you are required to give your body the recommended quantity of essential vitamins, proteins and minerals. These nutrients help in the prevention of infection of nails and other issues of nails. Vitamins increase the strength and growth of nails. However, before starting any supplements, consult your doctor regarding their safety.

Essential Vitamin for Nails

  1. Vitamin A

It is a type of vitamin that is fat soluble and is believed to be effective for the growth of nails. Apart from increasing nail growth, it also strengthens tissues, teeth and bones. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant, thereby, helps in destroying the free radicals that cause damage to the body cells. It helps in differentiation of cells and increases immunity, thus preventing infections of nails and helps in growing strong nails.

Vitamin A deficiency leads to brittle and dry nails as the moisture of the epithelial cells is lost and they become dry and hard. This vitamin is also essential for the process of keratinization.

The vegetarian food sources of Vitamin A are cantaloupe, yam, pink grapefruit, apricots, spinach, citrus fruits and apples. The non-vegetarian or animal food sources of Vitamin A are eggs, cod, milk and liver.

  1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps in recovery and growth in the body and acts as a strong antioxidant, thereby, preventing damage caused to the body by free radicals. It also prevents occurrence of hang nails by helping in formation of collagen.

You should note that the body is unable to produce vitamin C on its own; hence, you are required to take vitamin C rich foods or supplements. Foods rich in Vitamin C are strawberries, leafy greens, blueberries, tomatoes, papaya, citrus fruits and oranges. Greater than 2000 mg of vitamin C should not be consumed per day, as it may result in toxic effects and symptoms of loose stools.

  1. Biotin (Vitamin H)

Another essential vitamin for nails is biotin. It is a type of B vitamin and is considered beneficial for growth of nails. It strengthens and promotes growth of skin, hair and nails. Biotin improves infrastructure of keratin and makes your nails strong. It also helps in the transport of carbon dioxide from body cells; hence, your cells receive oxygen. This action of biotin helps in the growth of healthier nail cells.

Biotin can be obtained from food sources or supplements (multivitamins) to meet the daily requirements. Foods rich in biotin are mushrooms, whole grains, bananas and cauliflower.

  1. Vitamin B12

Another vitamin that is beneficial in promoting nail growth is Vitamin B12. It also plays a vital role in maintaining the health of red blood cells and preventing damage to the nerve cells. According to health experts, a deficiency of B12 vitamin leads to abnormally shaped and brittle nails. Hence, you should consume enough quantity of foods rich in vitamin B12 including egg, fish and beef liver.

  1. Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)

Vitamin B9 or folic acid is also considered beneficial in promoting growth of nails. It helps in producing new cells and increasing growth of hair and nails. Folic acid rich foods are legumes, leafy greens, avocado, broccoli, beets, eggs, citrus fruits and seeds. To promote growth of nails, it is recommended that you take about 400-500 mcg of folic acid per day. If you want to take supplements of folic acid, discuss with your physician about the dose that is suitable for you.

  1. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another essential vitamin for nails. Vitamin E taken orally increases the circulation of blood, thereby, improving the quantity of blood that is flowing through growth structures of nails. Your nails consist of keratin cells that are dead. These dead cells get accumulated due to activity taking place in the growth structures of the nail. The activity that consists of cell division and formation will not occur if there is not enough supply of blood.

Vitamin E when applied topically on nails can correct disorders of nails such as yellowing of nails. As a result of this condition, the nails become thick and yellowish and it can occur due to a fungal infection of nails. This condition can also be effectively treated by taking vitamin E orally.

  1. Riboflavin

It is essential for the production of hemoglobin that increases the supply of oxygen to the nails, thereby, promoting health of nails. It regulates reproduction and growth of cells and maintains health of skin, hair and nails.

One of the symptoms of imbalance of thyroid hormones is brittle nails. Properly functioning thyroid glands are maintained by adequate levels of riboflavin. It also increases immunity of your body, thereby, preventing infections of nails. Riboflavin in association with biotin aids in forming new tissues. It therefore, helps in the formation of smoother and stronger nails.

Foods rich in riboflavin are eggs, wild rice, shellfish, spinach, asparagus and dried peas.

Tips for Healthy, Strong Nails

After knowing the vitamin for nails, here are some tips to maintain the health of nails, improve the appearance of nails and avoid nail infections:

  • Keep your fingernails dry and clean.
  • Avoid picking or biting your nails.
  • Apply moisturizer and creams to your cuticles and nails every day. Cracking of nails can be prevented by applying creams containing lactic acid, phospholipids or urea.
  • Avoid removing the cuticles. Don’t clean deeply beneath your nails as it can result in infection of the nails.
  • Avoid digging of ingrown nails. Visit a dermatologist in case they cause trouble.
  • Don’t use nail polish removers which contain formaldehyde or acetone.
  • Use your personal instruments in case you get manicures quite often or frequently.
  • In case you have got artificial nails, regularly check for green colored discoloration, which is a sign of infection by bacteria.
  • Make sure to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet.
  • Check with your doctor about vitamin supplements and whether you require them to maintain your nail health.
  • Let your doctor check your nails during your regular check up.
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