Beauty Tips: The Best Vitamins For Healthy Fingernails

Healthy FingernailsHealthy nails result from a combination of proper nutrition and the right combination of vitamins, minerals and other supplements.

In the last few years, it seems as though a lot of attention is being paid to fingernails. Nail salons have sprung up in nearly every community, and women are spending a lot of time and money on their nails. While many settle for artificial nails, the natural nail, nicely manicured, is still more desirable. Good nail health is a reflection of overall body health and the nails, like other parts of one’s body, benefit from supplements and a balanced diet.

The fingernail is actually made of keratin, which is a protein. Their primary purpose is to protect the fingertips and toes, but their color, texture, strength and overall appearance is also indicative of an individual’s general health. Certain diseases, such as diabetes, emphysema and even heart disease can cause problems with the nails.

Vitamins, herbs and other supplements can improve fingernail health. The key is to combine certain vitamins and herbs that are known to build keratin. It is important, not only to understand what the nails are, but also how the vitamins affect them.

Nails, like every other part of the body, require proper nutrition to grow. When a person eats a balanced diet, the body, including the nails will be healthier. But, with so many people following diets for weight reduction, nutrition suffers.

For example, protein is very important to build calcium in the nails. Protein is found in fish, chicken, and red meat, and, in order to get the recommended daily requirement of protein, nutritionists recommend 8 ounces of one of these per day. For people following a vegetarian diet, protein and calcium supplements are a necessity.

Taking calcium will also work when nails are brittle and cuticles ragged. In fact, calcium is recommended for pregnant women, menopausal women and anyone who is on a weight reduction diet. Doctors suggest 1200 mg. once a day. Not only does this help with fingernails, bones also benefit from this added dosage of calcium.

Horsetail, oatstraw, and nettle are all herbs that contain silica, which can strengthen fingernails. To build keratin, try amino acid, vitamin C, vitamin E and biotin in combination. Vitamin B will help eliminate ridges in the nails. Herbs and oils can also help the surface of the nails. To protect nails from cracking, use flaxseed or evening primrose oil. To treat ingrown nails, try alum and water as a paste. Nail fungus can be treated with tea tree oil.

Other supplements that are beneficial in maintaining good nail health include biotin, which is actually water-soluble vitamin B, and iron supplements, which help when nails are brittle. Zinc is also helpful and will eliminate white spots on the nail. Many women suffer from zinc deficiency just prior to their periods.

Many pregnant women take pre-natal vitamins, which are a powerhouse combination of all daily requirements necessary to produce a healthy baby. One of the side-effects of this vitamin is an increase in nail growth and stronger, healthier nails. There is usually a heavy dose of calcium in these vitamins, designed to help the baby’s nails but helpful to the mother as well.

Naturally, taking care of the nails will also help them grow strong and beautiful. It is important to protect them by wearing rubber gloves when working in water or with chemicals. Use a lotion on hands and nails as well. Try using cuticle cream on ragged cuticles every day. Some women find that moisturizing each night with lotion and then wearing light cotton gloves to bed really helps soften hands and strengthen nails.

Here is a guideline indicating recommended doses.

Calcium: 1200 mg once a day

Biotin: 2500 mg once a day

Iron: 60 mg. per day

Zinc: 50 mg per day

NOTE: Before beginning any vitamin regimen, it is important to consult a physician.

Written by Donna Reynolds – 2002 Pagewise

This entry was filed under Beauty, Nails . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Be the first to leave a comment.

Your Thoughts