|Symptom :||brittle nails|
|Other Terms :||Fingernail Problems | Fingernail Disorders|
Like skin, nails tell alot about the state of your health. Fingernail problems include abnormalities such as small depressions or pitting, white streaks or spots, crumbly or weak nails, finger nail ridges, brittle fingernails, brittle toenails, and changes in the shape, color, or texture of nails.
Aside from physical trauma, fingernail disorders typically arise as a result of health conditions such as illness, or infection, or nutritional deficiencies.
Finger nail ridges, and brittle fingernails or brittle toenails in particular, may be caused by aging, or may indicate disorders such as hypothyroidism, or a lack of important minerals and vitamins for hair and nails.
The nutrients necessary for preventing fingernail problems related to brittle fingernails or brittle toenails are tabled below, together with the foods that provide such minerals and vitamins for hair and nails.
If brittle fingernails are also accompanied by dry skin and hair problems, it could be a sign of overall nutritional deficiency.
What nutrient deficiencies can lead to brittle nails :
|DIETARY ELEMENT | DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS | FOODS|
|Biotin | More on Biotin
Biotin is well-known to be one of the most important vitamins for hair and nails, as it is needed for cell division and growth. A deficiency of biotin is the main culprit in fingernail problems like brittle nails, and dry brittle hair.
Biotin-rich foods that can help prevent brittle fingernails / brittle toenails include · organ meats such as liver · carrots · romaine lettuce · swiss chard · tomatoes.
|Calcium | More on Calcium
Not only is calcium important for strong bones, but it also plays a role in strong nails and in preventing fingernail disorders. One of the symptoms of calcium deficiency is misshapened or brittle nails.
Calcium-rich foods that might help prevent fingernail problems like brittle fingernails or brittle toenails include · fresh dark green vegetables like collard greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, spinach, turnip greens, wing beans · dairy foods such as buttermilk, mozzarella cheese, raw (non-pasteurized) milk, whey, yoghurt · goat’s milk · soft bones of wild salmon, sardines, tuna, and anchovies are good sources of calcium that is easily absorbed by the body.
|Copper | More on Copper
Lack of copper may cause brittle fingernails and brittle toenails indirectly, as it results in hypothyroidism (under-production of thyroid hormones) which can lead to dry brittle hair, hair loss, brittle nails, coarse dry pale skin, weight gain, intolerance to cold, fatigue, depression, irritability, poor memory, muscle or joint pain, constipation, decreased libido, heavy periods or menstrual irregularities.
Copper-rich foods that can help prevent hypothyroidism, and resulting brittle fingernails or brittle toenails, include · cashew nuts · dried beans like soybeans, adzuki beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), lentils, lima, navy beans · dried spirulina · crimini mushrooms · shiitake mushrooms · sesame seeds.
|Iron | More on Iron
Fingernail problems such as brittle fingernails, and finger nail ridges in particular, are associated with iron-deficiency anemia resulting from insufficient red blood cells, as iron is needed for formation of hemoglobin in blood cells; iron deficiency anemia symptoms may include pale skin, cold hands and feet, whites of eyes appearing bluish, headaches, dizziness, irritability, lack of energy, extreme fatigue, rapid heartbeat, low immune function with increased susceptibility to infection, brittle nails, shortness of breath, sore or inflamed tongue or mouth, lack of appetite, blood in stools, restless legs syndrome.
Foods high in iron that can help prevent iron-deficiency anemia, and consequent brittle toenails and fingernail disorders, include · animal liver · blackstrap molasses · beef · eggs (especially the yolk) · shiitake mushrooms · dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, turnip greens · green beans such as winged beans, string beans · dried beans like kidney beans, lentils · soybeans and soy products, especially tofu · rice bran and wheat bran.
|Iodine | More on Iodine
Deficiency of iodine may also result in brittle fingernails or brittle toenails indirectly, as it causes hypothyroidism (under-production of thyroid hormones) which can lead to symptoms such as dry brittle hair, hair loss, brittle nails, coarse dry pale skin, intolerance to cold, fatigue or weakness, poor memory, depression, irritability, weight gain, muscle or joint pain, constipation, decreased libido, infertility, menstrual irregularities or heavy periods, and in more severe cases, hoarseness, decreased sense of taste and smell, mental impairment, skin thickening, and puffy face, hands or feet.
Foods rich in iodine that can help prevent hypothyroidism, and resulting brittle fingernails / brittle toenails, include · salt-water fish · seafood and shellfish · seaweed like dulse, bladderwrack, kelp, nori · iodized table salt.
|Manganese | More on Manganese
Manganese is important for activating enzymes that enable the body to utilize key vitamins for hair and nails, like vitamin C and biotin. Deficiency of this nutrient can therefore contribute to fingernail problems like brittle fingernails or brittle toenails, excessive bone loss and weak hair and nails.
Manganese rich foods that may help prevent fingernail disorders related to brittle fingernails include · dark green leafy vegetables (broccoli, chard, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach) · avocados · pineapple · raspberries · nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts).
|Selenium | More on Selenium
Research indicates that selenium deficiency worsens the effect of iodine deficiency on thyroid function, leading to hypothyroidism with symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, irritability, depression, poor memory, weight gain, constipation, intolerance to cold, heavier or lighter menstruation than normal, coarse dry pale skin, dry brittle hair, hair loss, and brittle nails, and that selenium supplements may help protect against goiter.
Selenium-rich foods that alleviate iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism, and consequent fingernail problems and brittle toenails, include · Brazil nuts (one of the most concentrated selenium food sources) · mushrooms (button, shiitake, reishi) · fish (cod, flounder, halibut, herring, mackerel, salmon, smelts, red snapper, swordfish, tuna) · seafood (lobster, oyster, scallops, shellfish, shrimp).
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