For centuries, women have swallowed royal jelly, eaten liver, and drunk gelatin concoctions to get longer, stronger, faster-growing nails. In a way, all this supplementation makes sense. Nails are living tissue, which means they are affected by what you do – and don’t – put into your mouth. Yet unless you are severely malnourished, you probably get what your nails need from either your daily diet or whatever vitamin supplements you take. Keep that in mind as you peruse the following list, comprised of nutrients that contribute to healthy nail growth:
Studies have shown that biotin, also known as vitamin B-7 and vitamin H, strengthens nails by aiding in nail-cell growth. Good sources of biotin are brewer’s yeast, broccoli, cheese, nuts, soy, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, and whole grains. Aim for 30 to 100 mcg a day.
Vitamin B-12 is also known as cobalmin. It benefits nails by helping the body absorb protein and by aiding in nail-cell formation. Good sources include brewer’s yeast, dairy products, eggs, and sea vegetables such as kelp, nori, or arame.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. It contributes to the growth and maintenance of teeth, bones, and nails. Good sources of calcium are bitter leafy greens such as arugula, broccoli rabe (a vegetable, sometimes called rapini, easily found in large metropolitan areas, which is just loaded with calcium), dandelion, dairy products, tofu, and nuts. Aim for 800 to 1,200 mcg daily.
Protein is essential to healthy keratin formation. However, befote you start downing protein shakes, consider that the body needs only 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 oz (45-50 g) of protein a day. A bowl of oatmeal, one large egg, a glass of cow’s milk or soy milk, a bean burrito with cheese, a 6 oz (170 g) carton of yogurt, and a 4 oz (113 g) serving of tofu all equal 1 3/4 oz (50 g) of protein. Also consider that because all foods (even vegetables, fruits, and grains) contain protein in some amount, most people who follow a healthy diet get more than enough each day. Nail disorders of some form comprise about ten percent of all skin conditions.
Silicon helps the nails use calcium effectively and is necessary for healthy nail formation. The mineral is found in alfalfa sprouts, beets, brown rice, bell peppers, soy, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains. While there is no established daily requirement for silicon, one or two daily servings of silicon-rich food is enough to provide benefits for your nails.
Sulfur accounts for nearly 10 percent of a healthy body’s mineral content and is vital to hair, nail, muscle, and skin cells. Good sources of sulfur are Brussels sprouts, cabbage, dairy products, eggs, garlic, legumes, onions, turnips, and wheat germ. While there is no established daily requirement for sulfur, one or two daily servings of sulfur-rich food is enough to provide benefits.
Zinc is a mineral that contributes to cell growth and function and is essential for healthy skin and nails. Good sources of zinc are brewer’s yeast, egg yolks, legumes, pumpkin seeds, pecans, sunflower seeds, wheat bran, and whole grains. Aim for 15 to 30 mcg a day. Don’t waste your money on gelatin capsules. Despite the old wives’ tale, there is no evidence ‘that Bela tin makes nails Brow faster or stronger.