Vitamins for Nails: How to Combat Brittle Nails

the best vitamins for nails, brittle nails causes, weak nails

Suffering from weak, brittle nails? Here at Naio Nails, we’re here to help! Whether your nails refuse to grow or are prone to splitting when they finally do, growing our natural nails can be a frustrating process. Luckily, there are several things you can be doing to help your nails on their way to becoming long, strong and naturally shining. Read on for our tips to combating weak nails, including common causes to avoid and the best vitamins for nails to include in your diet.

What causes brittle nails?

First, thing’s first, what causes brittle nails exactly? If your nails feel soft or frequently split, you’ve probably been left wondering ‘why are my nails so weak?’. There could be several answers to your question, including dietary deficiencies, medications and everyday occurrences that could be playing a part in weakening your nails.

Brittle nails causes:

Harsh chemicals from cleaning products

Our hands and nails go through a lot day to day – whether it’s washing the pots, cleaning the floor or scratching away dirt from surfaces, our poor nails often bear the brunt of our housework and come into contact with a lot of abrasive surfaces and cleaning products. When it comes to brittle nails causes, this is a huge factor and, luckily, one that’s easily remedied. Getting into the habit of donning a pair of marigolds when you wash up or clean can save your nails a lot of damage and prevent pesky splitting.

You’re not moisturising

Moisturisers aren’t just for your hands; they help keep your nails in tip-top shape too! Dry, brittle nails are often a result of a lack of moisture, typically from being washed and dried frequently. To help combat this, try moisturising every time you wash your hands – pair your sink’s hand soap with a pump dispenser of moisturiser and keep a little tube of hand cream in your bag for when you’re out and about. Rubbing in a little cuticle oil can also work wonders for both preventing and repairing the damage.

the best vitamins for nails, brittle nails causes, weak nails

You’re filing your nails wrong

Another cause of brittle nails is using the wrong filing technique. If you’re guilty of using the ‘sawing’ motion when you file your nails, you could be inadvertently causing breakage and splitting. Read our blog on how to file nails properly to learn the right technique!

You’re not giving your nails a break

We all love the look of freshly manicured nails, but if your nails are dry and brittle, they may benefit from a break. Whether you’re painting them at home or visiting a salon, the chemicals and filing involved in many nail treatments can be tough on nails over time and weaken them. Until they feel stronger, let your natural nails grow out and give them some TLC. If you can’t live without polish, use a nail varnish rather than a gel, do it sparingly and use acetone-free nail polish remover, as acetone can be dehydrating for nails. 

Medications and health conditions

Unfortunately, some medications and health conditions can cause your nails to become weak, brittle and sometimes even oily and there’s often not a whole lot you can do about it. However, following all of the steps here can help alleviate some of those symptoms.

There’s a lack of nail-enriching vitamins and nutrients in your diet

While many external causes can contribute to brittle nails, weak nails can also be a result of your body not getting the right vitamins and nutrients to help keep them strong and healthy. Healthy nails start from within, so ensuring our bodies are topped up with plenty of vitamins is crucial for not only our nails but our skin, hair and just about everything else too! 

So, what vitamins are good for nails? We’ve made a list of the best nutrients, minerals and vitamins you need.

The 5 best nutrients & vitamins for nails

the best vitamins for nails, brittle nails causes, weak nails

Biotin

Somewhat of an ‘It’ vitamin, you’ve probably heard biotin – also known as vitamin B7 – mentioned when it comes to vitamins for hair, skin and nails. Amongst other benefits, biotin aids the body’s ability to metabolise amino acids and helps promote healthy cell growth, making it one of the best vitamins for healthy nails and long hair.

Biotin-rich foods include red meat such as liver, as well as egg yolk, dairy, nuts, seeds and avocado. You can also get biotin in supplement form, on its own or alongside other beneficial B-Complex vitamins.

Iron

Next on our list of minerals and vitamins for nails is iron. Iron is an essential mineral in our body that helps to bring oxygen to our organs and cells, including our nails. Factors such as iron deficiency can be a leading cause of weak and brittle nails, so be sure to visit your GP if you have concerns. One way to spot if you have an iron deficiency is to check the appearance of your nails – if they have ridges or concave inwards, known as ‘spooning’, these could be telltale signs that you may need an iron supplement. 

Meat, fish and eggs are good sources of iron, as well as dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale. As vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, eating these foods with some zesty fruit is best, or choosing a supplement that includes the two combined.

Vitamin C

While we’re on the subject, vitamin C is also an excellent vitamin for nails. We all know vitamin C is good for our immune system, but did you know it helps to produce collagen too? Collagen is a protein that works to strengthen and shape tissue in the body and therefore helps to promote healthy nail growth and combat weak nails. Yet another reason to make sure your diet is full of fruits and vegetables!

Magnesium

Next on our list of nutrients and vitamins for nails is magnesium. Magnesium helps with protein synthesis, which our bodies need to grow long, strong and healthy nails. Those nail ridges we mentioned earlier can also be a sign of magnesium deficiency, so keep an eye out for any signs of these. 

You can find magnesium in foods such as dark leafy greens, almonds, quinoa and whole grains, or take it in supplement form.

Omega-3

One of the best nutrients for dry, brittle nails is omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 can work wonders for moisturising weak nails and helps give them a natural glossy sheen. It can also help to promote healthy cells and reduce any inflammation in your nail bed that may have occurred from past nail treatments.

You’ll probably associate omega-3 with oily fish, but walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds and soy are also good sources.

Now you know what vitamins are good for nails and the common causes of brittle nails, you’ll have strong and healthy nails in no time! Remember, the key to combating weak nails is tackling both the internal and external factors at play, so make sure you’re filling your diet with nail-nourishing foods as well as taking steps to protect them from everyday damage.

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