Vitamins are essential to keep your body organs functioning and your skin looking its best. They can do the same for your fingernails. Nails area good indication of overall health so major changes in your nails can be a signal that your body needs certain nutrients. Adding Vitamin A, B and C to your diet through food or supplements can help keep nails healthy, protecting them from breaking and keep them growing.
Vitamin A is fat soluble. It is good for the teeth and eyes and can also keep nails from becoming dry and brittle. You can increase your intake through supplements or food. You can find vitamin A in foods like eggs, almonds, yogurt and cheese. The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommends a daily dose of 700 mcg vitamin A. Too much of it, however, can make you sick–25,000 IU is considered a poisonous level.
B vitamins are important for healthy nails. Folic acid (also known as vitamin B9) can protect against hangnails. Vitamin B12 can keep your nails from becoming dry, discolored or curving. Biotin, also known as B7, can increase the thickness of nails. Dr. Michael Gazsi, in his article on “Fingernail Problems for Nature’s Medicine,” also recommends a B-50 supplement twice a day. B vitamins can be found in many foods too, including meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables and beans.
A vitamin C deficiency can cause hangnails so be sure to get plenty of it. Vitamin C supplements are readily available in different forms. It is also a nutrient available in foods, including citrus fruits and broccoli. Some prepared cereals have added vitamin C. Another option is to use rose hip oil, which contains vitamin C and can be massaged into the nails.
When looking for a multivitamin, consider one that also has minerals that help promote healthy nails. Calcium, phosphorus and iron can keep nails growing strong. Low zinc levels in the body can cause white spots on the nails so look for zinc in your supplements if you see this problem. Also consider supplements with omega fatty acids to help keep nails looking their best.