Brittle Nails

If your fingernails are brittle, you may become quite frustrated with them. Even when you moisturize, polish and buff, beautiful fingernails may elude you. There are actually quite a few causes for brittle nails and you can treat some of them with proper nutrition.

What Are Some Common Causes of Brittle Nails?

  • Lack of moisture – One of the most common reasons that someone’s nails become brittle and easily broken or torn is that there is not enough moisture to support healthier nails. This is something that is not always easily remedied by simply drinking water. The person who has difficult nails has to make a point of drinking more water every day, avoiding caffeine, and considering if their home or work environment is too hot and dry. All of these things contribute to inadequate nail moisture.
  • Poor diet – There are many debates about the amount of protein in the diet and the appearance of brittle nails. There are many people who do not consume enough protein in the daily diet, and many of them also have nails that are weak or brittle. This leads some to suspect it is the lack of protein, but others are convinced that it has a lot to do with the total diet instead. Vitamins and nutrients must be in an abundant amount if they are to support hair, skin, and nails.
  • Extremes – there are also many people with brittle nails due entirely to exposure to extremes of heat or water. For example, the cells of the fingernails will expand and contract when wet or dry. When your hands go from wet to dry on a constant basis, the cells in the nails will tend to be destroyed by all of the expansion and contraction.
  • An intolerance for gluten occurs when your autoimmune system negatively reacts to protein that is found in rye, barley, wheat and some types of oats. The protein is not digested and one of the results is brittle fingernails. If you eliminate gluten for a month or two, you should be able to tell if that is the problem with your nails.
  • Low thyroid production can also bring on brittle nails. Your body won’t produce a sufficient amount of proper thyroid hormones and this can cause weak nails, among other things. If your thyroid is not as active as it should be, you will often see ridges in the nails. Soft nail beds may result, along with the disappearance or lightening of the nail base, which is usually white and crescent-shaped.
  • Vitamin and iron deficiencies can cause your nails to become brittle. You may also have dry fingernails if you are deficient in vitamins C, B, E or D.
  • If you don’t take in enough protein, this affects the fibers of your fingernails. Keratin is the protein found in your nails and if you don’t consume enough protein, you may notice nails that break more easily than they should.

What Other Problems Cause Brittle Nails?

  • Dehydration can be a serious problem for your overall health, and it also has a negative impact on your fingernails. Soda and fruit juices are not the best things to drink when you are trying to re-hydrate your body. It’s best to drink water. This will lubricate your joints and strengthen your fingernails.
  • Your body may have a pH balance that is acid rather than alkaline, due largely to an inadequate diet. If you eat a lot of grains, sugars and processed carbohydrates, this can lead to an acidic pH level. This may cause more brittle nails.
  • Using nail polish too often is harmful to your fingernails. It contains harsh chemicals that weaken your nails a little bit each time you use them. You shouldn’t polish your nails more than one time each week. Allow your nails to have two days a week or so without polish, so that they can grow naturally.
  • You probably use your fingernails to open soda cans in addition to typing or cooking. These actions lead to weakened nails. If you need to use your fingers a good deal in your job or hobby, file your nails so that they remain fairly short. Moisturize the nails on a regular basis, and use gloves to protect them, whenever you can.
  • Your diet affects your entire body, whether it’s for the good or the bad. When you don’t eat properly, your nails won’t be nourished like they need to be. Your skin, hair and nails will all show it if you’re not eating right. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is an excellent way to strengthen nails.

Brittle Nail Treatments

So, there are three very clear reasons that your nails will become brittle, begin to flake and peel, and to break with ease. There are also, however, some simple brittle nails treatments to remedy this issue. These include:

  • Supplements – whether taken orally or applied like a nail polish, the use of vitamins to help nurture the skin and nails is a very good treatment. The blends best for nails are those that contain multiple nutrients, so go for the “multivitamins” for the best results.
  • Moisturizers – these are usually meant for the skin of the hands or the body, but they also work wonders for the nails. You can even find “super” moisturizing creams to apply to the nails directly as well.
  • Skip the polish – if you are someone who frequents salons or does not like to have bare fingernails, you could be weakening them and leading to your brittle nail condition. Instead of applying nail color, removing it with harsh chemicals, and applying a new layer – go natural and allow your nails to repair themselves.

These simple steps are often a great way to bring any brittle nail blues to an end!