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Having impressive and desirable nails doesn’t just happen through nail products and manicures. They are achieved from the environment you create within.
Like any party of your body, nails are composed of living cells. If you’re looking for great nails, it therefore makes sense to provide your cells with the Vitamins and Minerals they need to work best.
Nails that are strong and healthy can only come when your body is replete with the essential and mandatory building blocks. When it comes to Nails, there are a select number of Vitamins that will give you the stronger nails that you desire.
Whilst there is no denying that a Mani can transform the look of your nails, it is in your supplement regimen that you can really transform the health of your natural nails .
Supplementing correctly, and ensuring that your body has what it needs should always be your first priority. Interestingly, your nails are a key indicator of your health. The quicker they grow is a key sign as to whether your body is functioning at its very best.
If you are running short of time, and want a quick summary of this article, here it is. The Best Vitamins for Nail Strength and Growth are: B-Vitamins (especially B7, B12 and B9), Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Clinical Studies have proven that these are the most effective at improving the health of your nails as they all play a crucial role in your bodily functions, enzymatic processes and overall metabolism. Beyond Vitamins, there are a range of Minerals that will help to improve the health of your nails following supplementation. Iron, Zinc, Calcium and Magnesium are all critical for optimal health, and ones that you are most likely deficient in. Beyond this, Collagen is perhaps one of the best supplements that you can take.
It is well known in the medical field, and among Dermatologists that slow-growing, brittle and weak nails are clear signs of Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies. According to their studies and on averages, nails should grow by about a millimeter every month. So if your nails are not quite growing this quickly, or if you want to stop your nails from routinely breaking, this article is going to be rather helpful.
Vitamins and nutritional supplements can go a long way in achieving good health. This should always be the first step to having stronger, longer and shinier nails.
As such, the list of vitamins and minerals included and discussed below should form your checklist of what you should include in your supplement regimen to achieve those stronger and longer nails.
The Best Vitamins For Stronger Nails
Biotin, sometimes referred to as Vitamin B7, is essential for optimal nail growth. An important component of enzyme activity, there are hundreds of clinical studies documenting the importance of this Vitamin for nails, skin, hair and all other organs of the body. They routinely conclude that deficiencies of biotin can cause brittle nails, hair loss and fatigue.
Biotin works by improving energy metabolism, aiding in the conversion of food into energy. It therefore helps to facilitate an environment of growth and repair across your body.
Specifically regarding nails, Biotin is routinely used and recommended for its ability to strengthen brittle nails which lower the chances of nails breaking or splitting altogether.
You’ll often find that it is included in the majority of supplements for improving skin, hair, and nail improvement products. However, you can take Biotin by itself daily, through a single pill as a dietary supplement.
While natural sources of biotin include milk, bananas, eggs, mushrooms, and whole grains – it is only found in small amounts. An egg yolk for example typically contains only 13-25 mcg of Biotin. As there is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for Biotin; it is recommended that you get at least 10x this. Especially if you are seeking stronger nails. Supplementing therefore makes this a lot easier to achieve.
2. Vitamin B-12
Another instrumental B Vitamin for your nails is Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. So supplementing with B12 ensures that your blood cells remain healthy and can function optimally.
Regarding the promotion of nail strength and health, your red blood cells in your blood carry oxygen, iron and other elements to and around the body. If they are not working optimally, your body parts and organs do not receive the vital components they need. To ensure your nails can grow long and strong, it is therefore vital that you obtain enough Vitamin B12, but it is a common deficiency across the population.
A key symptom and sign of this is if you have brittle nails or your nails have formed in a strange, unnatural shape. They could be curved, or they could have grown at the wrong angle. For example, nails with curved ridges, or a spoon-like appearance, are tell-tale signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency.
If you are low in B12, through supplementation you are likely to see an improvement in your memory, more restful sleep, and sometimes a relief from depression.
The best way to take Vitamin B12 is through liquid drops. This way, your skin can absorb and get the vitamin into your blood stream a lot faster. Its a lot more fast acting, and is also more soluble – meaning more of it will be absorbed and driven for use.
You can also get Vitamin B12 through your diet, and it is particularly high in animal proteins like meat, eggs, and dairy. Fish is also highly concentrated in this vitamin. For the most part, it is not available through vegetables or other plant foods. If you are a Vegan or a Vegetarian it is therefore even more critical that you supplement.
3. Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
Vitamin B9, which is also commonly referred to as just Folic Acid, is another critical B-Vitamin to ensure you support growth and development, the nervous system, and key metabolic processes.
Folic acid is essential for optimal nail strength because it is responsible for creating and and repairing the cells that make up your nails. When your nails appear weak and brittle, this is usually because new growth has stalled. Vitamin B9 directly improves this process by creating new nail cells, thereby increasing the strength of your nails.
A deficiency in B9 tends to result in changes to skin, hair and fingernail pigmentation and the usual suspects for it occurring is due to poor-nutrition, high alcohol intake and certain medications.
While you can obtain higher levels of Vitamin B9 through your diet, it is another Vitamin that is hard to get enough of. The best sources through diet include: Oranges, Beetroot, Eggs, Spinach, Broccoli and most Legumes. By adding a B9 supplement you can ensure that you hit the minimum RDA of 400-500 mcg. At this level, you will notice increased nail growth and subsequent strength.
4. Vitamin A
Vitamin A plays a key role in cellular communication as well as cell differentiation and growth. It is a critical vitamin that you want to consume if you are looking to increase the strength of your nails.
Uniquely, Vitamin A also doubles up as an antioxidant – helping to reduce and remove the damage of free radicals in and across your body.
There are actually two types of Vitamin A; and the one that you want to ensure that you are prioritizing and getting enough of is: Preformed Vitamin A. This is most abundant in Animal foods like Eggs and Liver, and has already been converted to be used by your body (biologically active). There are a number of supplements that provide Vitamin A in this form, and are recommended to ensure you get enough of this vital Vitamin.
The Vitamin A found in fruits and vegetables is known as beta-carotene. This is non-active in its original form meaning your body has to do the conversion for you. This can be problematic and means that you will ultimately be getting less Vitamin A than you truly need if your body fails in this conversion process (this is quite common). If you are a vegetarian it is therefore recommended that you supplement to get the active form.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is required in the body for the biosynthesis of Collagen (an essential component of tissue). But it goes beyond this, it also plays a crucial role in wound healing – so if your nails are brittle and weak – Vitamin C can really help. It is also known for its strong antioxidant properties and influence on improving other antioxidants in the body.
As Vitamin C cannot be synthesized by the Human Body, it is therefore paramount that you get enough through diet and supplementation.
Failing to do so, it is likely you will experience fatigue, dry skin, slow wound healing, limp hair and brittle nails.
In regards to diet the biggest sources include: Citrus Fruits (Oranges, Pineapple), Berries (Strawberries, blueberries) and also green vegetables like Spinach. However, getting enough Vitamin C through diet can be hard to manage. That’s why it is always recommended to supplement.
The Best Minerals for Nail Strength
Beyond just vitamins, minerals also play a profound role in ensuring that your nails grow strong and healthy. The minerals below will help you to detect where you may be lacking and how to get more so that you can get the nails you desire:
1. Collagen (Rich in Amino Acids)
Your nails are made up of a number of different proteins. Gelatin/Collagen, is a abundant in over 20 proteins (amino acids) that provide a whole host of benefits to the body. Keratin is one of these substances, and is critical for building the strong and hard foundations of our nails. For your body to produce keratin, it requires a full-range of complex proteins – otherwise known as amino acids.
Collagen provides health benefits not only for nails, but for joints, bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, skin,and hair. It combats aging issues and aids the body’s natural ability to heal and repair. Hydrolyzed Collagen also functions to help regulate a large number of the body’s metabolic pathways.
Collagen is increasingly hard to get in the diet; unless you regularly consume Bone Broth or eat meat from the bone. As such, supplementing is the only real way to add it to your regimen.
One of the most common deficiencies is Iron, and a clear sign that you are deficient is brittle or caving nails.
Iron plays a primary role in the production and maintenance of healthy red blood cells. It is within the red blood cells themselves that our body stores and produces their own iron. These little powerhouses carry oxygen and iron to areas of the body, particularly in areas that the body needs – your nails.
You can get great Iron supplements to increase your daily intake as well as consuming or more red meat, nuts, and certain vegetables like spinach.
Zinc is an another important mineral to consume to ensure that your body and your nails remain healthy. Zinc specifically promotes and increases the healing process of wounds, boosts immunity, and improving growth of nails, hair etc. A common symptom of a deficiency in Zinc shows on your nails; you may see white spots on your nails, inflammation or swelling on your cuticles, and slow nail growth in general.
Some of the highest concentrations of Zinc in the diet include Red Meat, Oysters and Seafood. However, this is another one of those minerals that is hard to get high enough amounts of from food alone. Taking a Zinc supplement is a sure-fire way to ensure you are getting enough.
Just as you would have heard with Teeth and Bones, Calcium plays an integral part in keeping your nails strong.
A lack in Calcium will likely result in weaker nails and an inability from them to grow optimally.
Brittle or flaking nail is one potential sign that you are not consuming enough calcium in your diet. When strengthening your nails, you need to be careful because while they are weak they can break, split or even peel off. The breakage tends to begin at the very tip of the nail and peels off horizontally.
While Dairy products are a great source of calcium, you may find that it doesnt agree with you or you have a problem digesting it. Therefore a Calcium supplement is an effective approach if you have allergies or simply do not want to consume Dairy.
Stress plays a significant role in weak nails and slow nail growth; just like to causes havoc elsewhere in your body. Magnesium is considered the safest, natural and most effective anti-stress mineral. Using magnesium has been known to effectively improve the look and feel of nails.
Having weak nails could be a sign that your magnesium levels are low. Thats because Magnesium plays a significant role throughout your body. It supports your metabolism and utilization of many of the essential nutrients and the proper functioning of important enzymatic and physiological functions.
In regards to diet, Pumpkin Seeds and Dark Chocolate are some of the best things to consume. However, getting high magnesium intake is hard from just diet alone. A supplement, particularly a Magnesium Glycinate, will ensure your body gets enough and absorbs enough to support the growth of your nails.
Stronger, longer and healthier nails are the result of taking care of your body, both inside and out. Including these essential vitamins and minerals in your daily regimen will ensure that you can strengthen your nails and stop weak brittle nails in their tracks.
Getting all of these Vitamins and Minerals is difficult with a busy lifestyle, certain food intolerances and dietary factors. That’s why supplementing is recommended to ensure you get what you need.
Remember, what you choose to put inside your body plays a crucial role. Of course, diet is number one and the most important – its also the easiest to begin with. But if you fail to eat enough healthy proteins, fruit and vegetables, or if you have a busy lifestyle, then supplementation is a fantastic way to ensure you get what you need.