Beautiful nails are a great asset. But, even the beauty of nails comes from within. Nails that are healthy, strong, and long can only come from vitamins and minerals that we nourish our body with.
Salons and manicures can make your nails look gorgeous and appealing from the outside. But even without the salon treatments, you can make your nails grow faster, longer, and more beautiful under those pretty polishes. No other rituals such as rubbing garlic on your nails or wiggling your nails in the air can help make your nails strong and long. Only the intake of the minerals and vitamins can make your nails beautiful from within.
Many dermatologists conclude that dull and slow-growing nails are signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. According to them, nails grow at a rate of about a millimeter a month. This rate seems to be a “fixed rate” for all nails. If you can prevent your nails from breaking, you can ensure you get longer-looking nails.
The list of vitamins and minerals below is a checklist of what you should include in your diet to ensure healthier and more beautiful growing nails.
The Best Vitamins for Nail Growth
Biotin is part of the Vitamin B family which is essential for faster nail growth. Biotin is known to promote growth of strong nails, skin, eyes, liver, and hair. Several studies show that biotin can strengthen brittle nails, lessening the chances of breakage or splitting. Aside from brittle fingernails, other symptoms of biotin deficiency are hair loss, rash around the mouth and eyes, and dry scaly skin.
You may take biotin by itself as a dietary supplement. It is also an ingredient in supplements for skin, hair, and nails improvement. There are still no findings on how much should be the allowable maximum daily intake of this vitamin. It is important not to take too much of biotin in large doses, unless under the advice and guidance of a dermatologist or health expert.
Natural sources of biotin are bananas, cauliflower, mushrooms, and whole grains. Cooked liver in a 3-oz serving provides 27-35 mcg of biotin which is about 100% RDV for adults. An egg yolk can contain from 13-25 mcg of biotin, about a third of an adult’s daily need. That means you have to eat three yolks a day to get 100% of your daily biotin.
Another member of the B vitamin family is vitamin B12. It increases nail growth by keeping your red blood cells healthy. The red blood cells found in the blood carries oxygen and iron which are crucial elements for the body’s growth and healthy well-being. Vitamin B12 also prevents nerve cell damage, ensuring healthy and strong nails.
If you have brittle nails or the shape of your nails seem abnormal, you may be lacking on vitamin B12. Nails that have ridges that curve upward at the edges or taking on a spoon-like appearance are other signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 is also great for memory improvement, restful sleep, lowering pain level and even relieve from depression.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products like fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products. Generally, it is not present in plant foods. Certain breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B12. Other foods rich in this vitamin are cheese and shellfish. Consuming foods rich in vitamin B12 will help improve the appearance and growth of your nails.
Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid
Folic acid is usually recommended for pregnant women to ensure healthy brain development of their babies. But aside from that, folic acid or vitamin B9 is also essential for nail growth. It is proven effective as a nail grower. It is responsible for the creation and repair of the cells that make up your nails. When your nail growth seems to give up, vitamin B9 helps to create new nail cells, thereby increasing the growth of your nails.
Lack of folic acid leads to changes in skin and hair and fingernail pigmentation. The most common reasons for folic deficiency are under-nutrition, alcoholism, medications.
Foods such as citrus fruits, beets, seeds, eggs, broccoli, avocado, legumes, and green leafy vegetables are good sources of folic acid. Supplementing your diet with around 400-500 mcg of folic acid will promote rapid nail growth. Make sure to seek the advice of your doctor first before you start taking folic acid supplements.
Vitamin A increases strength of bones, tissues, and teeth. It is an effective vitamin for growing nails. Vitamin A is also an antioxidant. It helps to prevent damage caused by free radicals that enter your body.
If you are a vegetarian, the following foods are rich in vitamin A: spinach, apple, yam, pink grapefruit, apricots, citrus fruits, and cantaloupe. Yellow vegetables and deep and bright-colored fruits are also rich sources of vitamin A. Non-vegetarians can get this vitamin from eggs, cod, liver, and milk.
There are some people who might get an overdose of vitamin A. You have to seek medical help once you experience vomiting and nausea after taking too much of these foods.
Vitamin C is known for its strong anti-oxidant properties. It can prevent the negative effects of free radicals in our body. It is a helpful vitamin for body recovery. Aside from these, vitamin C is helpful in achieving healthy growing nails.
When you lack vitamin C, you might experience fatigue, weight loss, rough skin, poor wound healing, secondary infections, coiled hair, and brittle nails.
Our body needs outside sources of vitamin C since our body does not manufacture this vitamin. Strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, oranges, papaya and leafy greens are rich sources of vitamin C. The maximum dosage of vitamin C should only be 2000 mg. Too much of this vitamin may lead to diarrhea or toxicity.
The Best Minerals for Nail Growth
Aside from vitamins, minerals found in the food we eat also helps in improving and maintaining healthy growth of nails. The list of minerals below will help you pinpoint what’s missing from your diet to have those longer and more beautiful nails.
Our hair and nails are made of a protein complex called keratin. Keratin is a strong substance contributing to the strong and hard texture of our hair and nails. To produce keratin, our body needs the building blocks of protein – amino acids.
Eating protein-rich foods like lean meat, chicken and loin, sirloin, round cuts is an effective way to have faster-growing nails. For vegetarians, the meatless diet may cause protein deficiency. They can still get enough protein by eating whole grains, soybeans, and extra nuts.
One of the signs of iron deficiency are brittle and concave-shaped nails. Iron is important for the production of red blood cells. These red blood cells found in our blood produce more than half of our body’s iron supply. They carry oxygen and iron which the body systems including the skin system needs.
A lack of iron in the body results to anemia which affects other body systems including the skin, hair and nails. Symptoms include hair loss, brittle nails, nails with a central groove, and spoon-shaped nails.
Take iron supplements or more dried fruits, beans, nuts, eggs, turkey, green leafy vegetables, and lean red meat to get this important mineral for your nails.
Zinc is an important mineral that keeps your body and nails healthy. It helps in the healing of wounds, increasing immunity, and improving nail and hair growth. If you lack zinc, you will see more white spots on your nails, inflammation of the cuticles, and poor nail growth.
Alopecia or hair loss is one of the symptoms of zinc deficiency. Impaired wound healing and dermatitis are other symptoms which are can lead to unhealthy nails.
Foods rich in zinc are seafood, lean meat, peanuts, turkey, and dark chocolate. You can also take a zinc supplement or consume on zinc-fortified breakfast cereals. Remember not to overdose on this mineral. Too much zinc may lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea.
Calcium makes bones, teeth, nails, and hair strong. If our body lacks calcium it will result to unhealthy hair and nails. Calcium works well with vitamin D. Vitamin D helps in proper and easier absorption of calcium.
A brittle nail is one indication that you lack calcium in your body. When nails are brittle, they easily break, split or peel off. The breakage usually starts at the tip of the nail and can peel off horizontally.
Most milks and juices are calcium-fortified. Drinking a daily cup of tea and snacking on a can of tuna are effective ways to get your daily dose of vitamin for better calcium absorption.
Stress contributes to poor nail growth. Magnesium is the natural and best-known anti-stress mineral. Those unsightly nail ridges caused by poor diet and stress will disappear with the help of magnesium.
Poor nail growth is a sign that you have to improve your magnesium intake. Along with other vitamins and minerals, a lack of magnesium is shown in retarded growth of the fingernails.
Many delicious foods are great sources of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds are the most common sources of magnesium followed by dark chocolate. You can enjoy these yummy foods while consuming magnesium for healthy and long-growing nails.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If you like applying oil to your body, why not ingest some omega-3s? Omega-3 fatty acids are ideal minerals for soft skin and shiny hair and nails. Just because it is one of those “fats” it does not mean that it is bad for you. Those nail keratins which you get from taking protein will become healthier and grow longer and stronger with the intake of omega-3s.
Fishes like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3s. There are also canned food items which are fortified with omega-3. If you don’t feel fishy, you may eat more walnuts, flaxseed, and eggs to get your daily omega-3.
Longer and healthier nails are yours to have and to keep. Taking on a diet made up of these vitamins and minerals is a step closer to gorgeous nails. What you put inside your body will shine out even up to the tips of your fingernails. Make yourself more beautiful inside and out, from your head to your nails with these effective natural sources.