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Minerals and Nutrients For Nail Health: What Do You Need?

Updated on October 4, 2014

Pretty Paint!

Public domain image.
Public domain image. | Source

Ladies (or gents, for that matter): are your nails not everything that you wish they could be? Worried about your finger nails health? Peeling, raggy cuticles, slow to grow, flaky, uneven, discoloured, unresponsive to the beauty treatments that you lavish upon them (and that come at the expense of your severely lightened wallet?) Do you want beautiful nails salon sharp cuticles and immaculate half-moons? Maybe you wonder sometimes, is it your diet to blame? After all there are plenty of old wives' tales about what you should eat for long, healthy, lovely nails. But are they just old wives' tales? Maybe there's a hint of truth in them – but where's the research? Can exotic foods, strange supplements, maybe a few household cupboard staples even, help your nails to grow strong and smooth and long? And wouldn't it be nice if they could?

Certainly when I was a kid jello was always recommended and whispered about between the girls in the playground as the secret to having pretty nails. Maybe, maybe not! There's also always someone willing to tell you that minerals are the key, that you need more calcium or magnesium, or that protein is the thing to give you a flashing fascinating set of highly manicured talons. But what's the true secret?

Certainly it's not uncommon for the assertion to be made that it's a lack of certain necessities in your diet that's responsible for the awful state of your nails.1 And the list of potential culprits just seems to go on and on: iron, zinc, the B vitamin complex, protein, vitamin C, on and on...

And what about nail fungus? (I thought for sure that was something that only old ladies could possibly get: until I noticed the weird discoloured patch on the side of my big toenail, that didn't look especially scary or unpleasant, it just wouldn't go the heck away!) Know what that is? An immune issue, apparently! And maybe lactobacilli are just the thing for an immune issue!2 I dunno: anyway my toe's okay now, so I won't be shovelling down the live yoghurt any time soon. (Yuk. Sour.)

Are supplements the way to go, though? Well, I've found at least one study that suggests that a regular diet may not, in certain special cases, deliver all the appropriate nutrients for skin and hair health (although it also assumes that any supplements will be prescribed by a medical professional.) 3 I don't know: I'll just be upgrading my diet and see if that gives me a handful of lovely nails that I can flash about when I give someone a goodbye wave!


  1. Siegel-Maier, K. 'Helping Hands – And Feet!' Better Nutrition, August 2001, p.34.

  2. Frankel, E. 'No-Nonsense Nail Care.' Vegetarian Times, December 1997, p. 70.

  3. P Humbert, D Binda, S Robin and J Krutmann. 'Beauty from Inside: Nutrition-Based Strategies in Cosmetic Dermatology'. Nutrition for Healthy Skin. Pt. 3, pp. 189-196. 2011.

Do You Want Beautiful Nails?

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Creative Commons Licence Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) | Source


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