Vitamins for Nails
Do they help or is it all just a scam?
Advice about vitamins for nails across the internet is all over the place. Why?
Because anyone can write a blog post—whether they know what they’re talking about or not.
Who are you supposed to believe? You need to seek out experts.
Researching this article revealed that there is too much to talk about to fit it into one little article. I plan to write several more articles on this topic.
So today, I’ll get into the ultimate debate: Vitamins for nails—Yes or No?
“I was wondering what your thoughts on hair and nail vitamins? I’ve been hearing a lot about them and wonder if taking them in conjunction with use of your wonderful nail and cuticle oil would be beneficial? Thanks again.” ~Sara
This is an excellent question.
And the advice around the web is all over the map. It’s so hard to find the truth.
The Decision Curse
We live in a time period where we have learned that if there’s something wrong with us, there’s probably a pill to fix it. And if there isn’t? Then gosh darn it….someone get on that. You’ll make millions!
There are too many products on shelves to choose from. We’re forced to make purchase decisions based on carefully crafted product descriptions on the packaging—or even, shall I dare say?—how pretty the box is! (So guilty!)
We aren’t deciding based on the actual results of the product. How can we? It doesn’t fit on a little box.
Marketing departments spend A LOT of time and money crafting everything that goes on a box to get us to pick their product.
We hope and pray that this is going to be the next thing to miraculously change everything about our nails.
Most of the time we’re just disappointed.
Where’s The Truth?
While researching the internet on this topic to see what other experts advised, I became really frustrated.
I don’t like how quickly the articles jumped to vitamin deficiencies as the main culprit for nail problems.
That doesn’t help you. It just creates fear and worry.
They’re not the reason!
Although vitamin deficiencies may be an issue for some people, I’m simply not happy that the main reasons for brittle nails are not addressed.
The main cause of dry, brittle, peeling, cracking nails? — Is simply soap and water.
What Experts Say
A Respected Medical Doctor
Bruce Robinson, MD at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York asserts, that you can’t make your nails grow faster [WebMD.com]. Says Robinson, “Your nails grow at a fixed rate of about a millimieter a month. But if you can get the nails to not break (stronger) and therefore appear longer, that’s where things come into play.”
A Scientist Specializing in Nails
According to Doug Schoon, author of Nail Structure and Product Chemistry, “Nothing you eat will make healthy nail plates become stronger than normal, but poor nutrition can certainly make them weaker … To date, no conclusive scientific studies have linked vitamin supplements, gelatin, drinks , or special foods to faster growth of healthy nails.”
Healthy nails are created by a healthy diet.
All of the necessary nutrients required for healthy nail cell growth were consumed about 1 to 2 months before you can actually see the nail when it has passed the cuticle line.
Eating well balanced meals filled with 5 to 10 fruits and vegetables per day, along with whole grains, fish, free range eggs, seeds and nuts is an great way to provide your nails with all the nutrients they need.
These foods all contain vitamins and minerals that are vital to the health of fingernails, nail beds and cuticles.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you have to be much more diligent with your diet and make sure you aren’t Vitamin B12 or Iron deficient. This makes it more important to work with your doctor.
Getting Enough Water?
Make sure that you are consuming enough water throughout the day as well.
Forget the old advice of 8 glasses a day with no accounting for your body size. A strong body building man needs way more water than a small 5 year old child.
The new recommendation is drink 1/2 of your weight in ounces.
If you weigh 150 pounds, then you need 75 ounces of water a day—or about 2.5 quarts.
If you weigh 68 kilos then you need around 2.5 litres of water.
Does that make sense?
In The USA
Now, with that said, I believe that the Standard American Diet can be severely vitamin and mineral deficient even though we’re getting bigger by the year.
So even though many of us may feel and look healthy—we’re really not—and that shows up in our hair and nails.
So … at a minimum, take a high quality multivitamin.
I’ve read too much good stuff about Biotin to ignore it. I started taking a Hair, Nails and Skin formula with 5,000 micrograms of Biotin. (I will do another article devoted to just Biotin.)
The main negative is that it takes 4 to 6 months to see any results because your nail has to completely replace itself.
I personally can’t say yes or no whether Biotin has helped my nails.
Find a doctor who will test your vitamin and mineral levels so you have a baseline of what to focus upon to improve your health.
Around The World
Anyone who lives North of the 37th Northern Parallel and South of the 37th Southern Parallel is probably Vitamin D deficient. These are indicated by the grey areas on the maps.
When the body is low in vitamin D, calcium cannot be assimilated properly. Without proper nutrition, nails become compromised, causing them to become soft and weak. (LiveStrong.com)
Vitamin D is important to the body in many other ways as well.
Muscles need it to move your body. Nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and all of your body parts.
The immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to brittle nails.
My doctor prescribed 10,000 IU* of Vitamin D for over 6 months months before it finally was in the normal range. My mood improved. My digestion improved. I now continue by taking 6,000 IU.
(*Please see your doctor before changing your nutritional or physical regimen. Do not rely on my numbers, since I am not a doctor. I was prescribed this amount based on blood tests.)
I find it interesting how US doctors will prescribe potentially deadly medications without a second thought, but they’re afraid of advising you to take more than the US Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals.
The reason for this is the amount of time they are educated about Nutrition vs. Drug Therapy in their medical courses.
On average, students received 23.9 contact hours of nutrition instruction during medical school. (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
The USRDA is what’s recommended to keep you from getting sick—not for optimum health. The USRDA for Vitamin D is 600 IU. (The Office of Dietary Supplements - ods.od.nih.gov)
Quite a difference from my doctor’s prescription, huh?
Too Much of a Good Thing?
Dying of a fat-soluble vitamin overdose is extremely difficult and by water-soluble is essentially impossible.
“In 2010, 71,000 exposures to various vitamins and multivitamin-mineral formulations were reported to poison control centers, which resulted in 15 major reactions but no deaths.” (Wikipedia.com)
Anything more than your body needs is flushed out. You just have very expensive pee.
Hydrate Your Nails, Then Decide
As many of my fans know, the very best way to naturally strengthen your nails is to oil them 2x a day or more with a high quality jojoba based nail oil.
Start with my 3-Day Hydration Treatment™. You will “go naked” and oil your nails multiple times throughout the day until your nails stop absorbing the oil. For most people, this takes 3 days.
Once your nails have brought themselves back to the perfect balance of 18% moisture and 5% oil, then you can go back to polish.
If your nails are still brittle and peeling after hydrating, then it’s time to speak with your doctor.
My personal feeling is that really high quality vitamins are of value because I know I don’t always eat in a way that is going to deliver a full range of vitamins and minerals. You’ll want to decide what’s best for you.
It’s totally up to you. Just be patient. It will take over 6 months to see the results, since it takes that long for your fingernails to replace themselves.