Healthy and pink nails are considered as a sign of good health in Chinese and Indian medicine. Nails are also considered as a sign of beauty however nail problems like fungal infections and brittle nails result in unsightly nails which affects one in 25 people. Swiss researchers reported that an average intake of 2500mcg of biotin each day can help increase the thickness and texture of nails by almost 25%. Nutritional deficiencies are commonly responsible for nail problems, which can be effectively managed by using dietary supplements.
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Causes of Nail problems: Anatomy of a Nail
Nails are made up of a protein referred to as ‘Keratin’ which is makes the nails one of the strongest tissues in the body. However nail problems like brittle nails, fungal infections or cracked nails are observed in several individuals and are commonly attributed to,
- Nutritional deficiency primarily of Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C can result in nail problems including hangnails and brittle nails
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders like Asthma and Emphysema may also result in bluish discoloration of the nails and make them weak and brittle. Bluish Discoloration is also indicative of heart disorder
- Recurrent exposure to harsh chemicals can also impact the nails making them dry and brittle
- Fungal infections, especially in the toenails can result in athlete’s foot which may result in nail troubles.
Supplements to Treat Nail Problems: Treating Brittle Nails Naturally
Various supplements help overcome the nutritional deficiencies and contribute to stronger nails in general. An eight week therapy regimen would help improve the nail condition and treat brittle nails,
- Vitamin E helps in improving the texture of the nail tissue while Vitamin C enhances the effect of Vitamin E and biotin. 500 IU of Vitamin E with 1000 mg of Vitamin C thrice a day is beneficial
- Calcium and Magnesium forms an integral part of the exoskeleton and improve the thickness of the nails. 600 mg calcium and 250 mg of magnesium once a day helps improve nail texture
- Vitamin B complex comprising of 150 mcg of Vitamin B12 and 400 mcg of folic acid are essential in enhancing immunity and aid in the management of nail bed infections.
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Tips to Prevent Nail Problem: Managing Hangnails at Home
Here are some simple tips that would help in managing nail problem and manage hangnails and brittle nails,
- Head to head study has shown that tea tree oil was equally potent as the most popular antifungal (clotrimazole) and is effective in more than 60% of cases of fungal infection.
- Avoid trimming cuticles. Cuticles protect the nails from bacteria and fungal infection and also responsible for a shinny and healthy texture
- Wear gloves while doing household chores like washing utensils. Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals.
- Apply petroleum jelly or Aloe Vera on the hands and nails, especially after your hand has been in water for long period of time.
- Always keep your nail short, since long nails are at a greater risk of breaking easily. Always trim your nails after a bath or soak your nails prior to trimming to prevent splitting of the nails.