For growing and maintaining strong, healthy nails, your body needs access to the right set of vitamins and nutrients. Eating healthful, vitamin- and mineral-rich foods gives your body the best possible chance to absorb these necessary nutrients, but you can also pick up a multivitamin or supplement to help fill in the gaps so you can cover all of your bases. Here’s a look at a handful of the most important and effective vitamins to take orally or apply as a topical treatment in order to improve your nail situation.
Most effective vitamins for nail growth and strength
Also known as biotin and vitamin H, vitamin B7 is crucial in helping your body produce energy, metabolize amino acids and aid in the development of strong nails. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which is what your fingernails and toenails are made of. Hence, vitamin B7 can be instrumental in enhancing protein production and helping strengthen weak or damaged nails.
Vitamin B7 is one part of the vitamin B complex, a group of water-soluble vitamins that are each essential for the health and proper functioning of various body parts. That B vitamins are water-soluble means they dissolve in water so the body itself does not store them. Foods that contain a relatively high content of biotin include egg yolks, liver, leafy green vegetables, almonds, soybeans and legumes.
Vitamin B12, another part of the vitamin B complex, is also necessary for keeping your nails healthy as the vitamin is involved in the metabolism of every cell in your entire body. The side effects of not having enough B12 in your system can include darkened and excessively dry nails. The vitamin also helps your hair follicles regenerate so nicer, healthier hair can also be gained by intaking the key substance.
Although the human body needs B12 to function well, animals are actually incapable of producing the supplement. We can, however, access naturally-occurring forms of the vitamin by the foods we eat including meat, fish, poultry, eggs and milk products. Some vegetarians may be concerned by that list of options, but there are foods that you can find that have been fortified with B12 such as cereals, energy bars and soy products. You can also be sure to pick up a multivitamin tablet that contains a needed dose of vitamin B12. Other parts of the B complex including B6 and B9 can also be instrumental in enhancing cellular success so you may look for an over-the-counter pick that contains the whole complex while you’re at it.
Vitamins A and D work together along with calcium in your body to bring about a variety of anatomically-beneficial functions including cell and tissue differentiation, membrane structure maintenance and cellular development. A lack of these three nutrients can result in an overall dryness and brittleness, which most definitevly can ruin the look and health of your nails. The nail, once in a vitamin-deficient state, can also become extremely fragile.
Because these vitamins are so crucial for the health of your whole body, many foods are commonly fortified with such substances. Many brands of milk, cereal and juices, for a few examples, add healthy amounts of vitamin A, vitamin D and calcium to help keep our bodies functioning properly.
Vitamin C helps your body to repair damages on a cellular level so a lack of the essential nutrient can result in your nails being weak, dull, brittle and dry. A vitamin-C deficiency, along with little bioavailable access to iron and folic acid, can also produce unwanted and sometimes-painful hangnails.
Many fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C like chili peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, papayas, strawberries, oranges, pineapple, cauliflower and grapefruits. Even if you dislike some of the options on this particular list, you can take comfort in knowing that many other foods still have some amount of vitamin C including potatoes, tomatoes, grapes and apples.
Additional strategies for keeping your nails healthy and beautiful
In addition to eating a healthy diet and diligently taking your multivitamin every morning or as directed, you can help your nails stay strong and in good condition by adopting the right set of habits in the day to day.
Moisturize your nails and cuticles everyday
The right kind of lotions can help hydrate your nails and assist in the prevention of cracking so don’t skimp on buying a quality moisturizer filled with natural ingredients. Make sure to moisturize everyday and even multiple times a day. Get into the habit of applying lotion after every time you wash your hands for best results.
Keep your nails filed, rounded and natural
Your nails have the best chance at success when you file in one direction and refrain from bringing your nails to a point at the fingertip. A regular manicure can help keep your nails be properly cared for, but cutting cuticles can cause the skin to tear and bacteria to infiltrate the surroundings so be conservative in your grooming efforts.
Avoid harsh products that negatively affect your nails
As you can suspect, your nails have a better chance at life when you minimize the harsh damage that comes from styling methods like gluing on nails, frequently using nail polishes and relying on an acetone-based product to remove your nail polish. The nail is not an impermeable barrier so products externally applied to the nail plate can still be absorbed into the system. Even substances that aren’t toxic in and of themselves can still deprive the nail of the oxygen it needs to function well. Hence, we should be careful about accessorizing our nails and mindful of the additional fact that using certain cleaning products like bleach can also pose risks to our nails and hands.
Don’t you dare bite your nails
Are you seriously going to go through all the work of eating healthful foods, taking a nail-specific multivitamin, avoiding harsh styling products, wearing medical-grade gloves when cleaning with dangerous products and then still just keep biting your nails when you’re nervous or bored or too lazy to get up and get a nail file? I didn’t think so.
Don’t forget your long-term goals by succumbing to short-term schools of thought. If you mindlessly bite or pick at your nails, train yourself to kick the habit so you can be focused in your efforts to achieve long, beautiful and healthy nails.