One of the signs of beauty we look for, especially in the case of women, is attractive and healthy nails. However, nails perform far more important roles than just those of indicating beauty, providing protection for the ends of our fingers and toes, not to mention giving vital clues about our overall health to the trained physician. So, for a variety of reason good nail nutrition is essential to both our overall appearance and health.
Simple nail health and supplements.
The main constituent of your nails is a fibrous protein called keratin, which is one of the strongest tissue substances to be found in your body. Having said that they are susceptible to several problems that can adversely affect them. Good nutrition is vital to good nail health and, in particular, having a sufficient intake B vitamins will help to ensure that your nails not only look good but are as strong as they can be. A tell-tale sign that you might be in need of a vitamin B supplement is the appearance of ridges in the nails, whilst brittle nails are a sure sign that a Calcium supplement may be needed. Don’t forget here as well, over-exposure of the nails to many chemicals will also cause them to dry out and become brittle. Another nail problem that can be cured by taking a health supplement is unsightly Hangnails, those bits of tough skin that grow at the side of a nail, which invariably develop due to vitamin C or folic acid deficiency. Although ladies can always paint their nails to overcome the appearance of white flecks on the nails – it is much better to cure them by taking a Zinc supplement.
More serious nail issues.
There are three nail health issues which are a little more serious in particular. First of all if your nails seem to change their natural color to a bluish color, it could well be that you have an underlying and potentially serious illness. Human nails change to a bluish color naturally if the blood is not getting enough Oxygen. This is usually due to a respiratory problem, possibly a tendency to asthma or worse emphysema, that needs properly investigating by your physician. Perhaps not as serious as discolored nails, but nonetheless unpleasant and unwanted, is Athletes Foot. This is a fungal infection that can get under the toe nails. It is colloquially known as athletes foot as the fungus thrives in sweaty socks or shoes, such as would be associated with strenuous physical exercises like jogging. As the fungus usually gets under the nail through tiny cracks on the nail surface, maintaining good nail health will help to prevent it. If Athletes foot should have already taken hold, it can be difficult to treat and cure. Take oral vitamin C and vitamin E supplements, which will help to boost your body’s immune system to help fight the infection. Also, try rubbing tea tree oil, garlic oil or calundula cream on the affected nails twice a day. Be aware too that fungal infections under nails will inhibit the nail’s growth and that these treatments will probably be needed for several months. One nail condition to be especially wary of is white streaks running lengthways down your nails. These should not be ignored under any circumstances as they could indicate heart disease!
Nail health supplement doses.
As with all health supplements if you’re pregnant, nursing or have an underlying medical condition – consult with your physician before taking any vitamins and supplements. Regarding vitamins and nail health, as you need to take vitamins B, C and E – you really might as well consider taking a multi-vitamin supplement. If not, find a Vitamin B complex pill that has a B-50 complex with 50mcg of B12 and biotin, 400mcg of folic acid and up to 50mg of the other B vitamins. For vitamin C take 500mg twice a day and 250mg of vitamin E once a day. An excess of vitamin C can cause diarrhea, reduce the vitamin C dosage if this happens but try not to stop it, as vitamin C helps the body to assimilate vitamin E. As for mineral supplements, 600mg of Calcium, 15mg of Zinc and 250mg of Magnesium once a day are recommended. NB. If the Zinc supplement you take has a trace of Copper in it – all the better. For those unable to enjoy plenty of sunlight a 5mcg dose of vitamin D a day would also be a good idea for general nail and bone strength. Not suitable for everyone but 1000mg three times a day of Evening Primrose Oil is also good for your nails as it contains one of the essential fatty acids for good nail health that will help to prevent them from cracking.