Are your nails brittle and break easily? Or maybe you have white visible spots on your nails? Find out what nutrients you could be deficient in & get strong healthy nails!
Vitamin A – fat-soluble vitamin, essential for the formation and growth of epithelial tissue in the body. Lack of vitamin A in your body will lead to your nails to grow thin and crooked. This Vitamin supports nail strength, smoothness, and shine. Food sources of vitamin A are eggs, chicken liver, fatty fish, dairy, butter and oranges.
Biotin – a water-soluble nutrient that metabolises fatty acids, glucose and amino acids. A sign of a biotin deficiency is brittle nails. Food sources of biotin include sweet potatoes, salmon, eggs and beef liver.
Vitamin B12 – also known as cobalamin is involved in the metabolism of fat and protein, as well as playing a role in skin and nail health. A review published in 2015 suggests low levels of B12 may manifest in alternations in the nails. B12 deficiency results in anaemia; alongside nail and skin changes, symptoms include fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Lack of vitamin B12 leads to deformation of nails, making them rounded and curved, nails tend to become dry and unnaturally dark.
Vegans and vegetarians are most at risk of becoming deficient because there are no plant foods that are rich sources. Food sources of B12 are rainbow trout, tuna, beef liver, fortified breakfast cereals and clams.
Folate (vitamin B9) – contributes to tissue integrity and is vital for healthy cell growth, cell division, and DNA. Changes in nails are one of many signs of folate deficiency, giving nails a ‘ridge’ (Indian Dermatology Journal., 2015). Folate can be found in many plant-based foods; high sources are spinach, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and fortified breakfast cereal.
Vitamin C – necessary for making collagen, which is the main component of hair, nails and skin. With a lack of vitamin C, nails will be very dry and brittle. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamin c; bell peppers, oranges, kiwis, and broccoli.
Iron – a regulator of blood haemoglobin which carries oxygen supply to organs and tissues (including nails). Iron deficiency can cause hair loss and nail bundle. Iron deficiency anaemia can cause a nail abnormality called koilonychia, which thins nails with raised ridges and nails tend to curve inward.
Sources of iron include chicken, turkey, red meats, cabbage and leafy greens like spinach, broccoli and kale.
Zinc – aids in wound healing, healthy immunity, and nail and hair growth. Zinc deficiency can cause dry, brittle nails, as well as degenerative changes of the nail plate and the appearance of white spots on the nails. Increasing consumption of seafood, lean meat and zinc-fortified cereals will lower risk of deficiency.
A nutrient-rich diet is the best way to achieve strong healthy looking nails. Deficiencies in certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients can negatively affect your nail health. Speak to one of our Nutritionists or Functional Medicine Practitioner to get more information on how to get your vitamins and nutrients from food, or taking supplements can help you meet your needs and improve your nail health.
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Singal, Archana, and Rahul Arora. “Nail As A Window Of Systemic Diseases.” Indian Dermatology Online Journal 6.2 (2015): 67. Web. 9 Sept. 2019.
Brescoll, Jennifer, and Steven Daveluy. “A Review Of Vitamin B12 In Dermatology.” American Journal of Clinical Dermatology 16.1 (2015): 27-33. Web. 9 Sept. 2019.