Beautiful and strong nails can be a great asset for just about anyone. This is why there are so many products and services on the market for keeping our nails in tip-top shape. But nail care goes far beyond keeping them trimmed and looking pretty through external treatments like manicures, pedicures, and nail polish. This is because the importance of strong, fast-growing, and healthy-looking nails is not just aesthetic. There is nothing more critical to healthy and strong nails than getting the proper vitamins and minerals.
Nails are one of the best indicators of your overall health which is why physicians will often look at a patient's nails during a check-up. The state of a person's nails, such as their strength and color, will often reveal whether a person is eating a healthy diet or if they have any vitamin and mineral deficiencies. This is why caring for our nails is really about caring for our bodies and our overall health.
Of course, the best way to care for our nails and our overall health is to consistently eat wholesome meals which give us all of the essential vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need. But as many of us know, consistently eating healthy is often easier said than done. Many of us are living busy lifestyles which do not afford the time and resources to always cook the right meals. For this reason, when it comes to nail care, many people turn to dietary supplements to augment their diet and ensure that we are getting all of the necessary vitamins to strengthen nails and keep them looking as beautiful as they can be.
An additional hurdle to keeping strong and healthy nails is the knowledge barrier when it comes to knowing exactly what vitamins will do the trick. The dietary supplement market is exploding due to the widespread and growing use of dietary supplements among Americans and the increasing confidence that consumers have in the supplements that they take. On one hand, this is great news for those wishing to integrate dietary supplements into a holistic approach towards health: supplement companies, such as Tropical Oasis, are working hard to provide varied and innovative approaches towards providing dietary supplements, such as liquid vitamins with high absorption rates, to provide the best product for the growing base of consumers. On the other hand, this means that there is a plethora of claims and products on the market to choose from, and the consumer may have a difficult time knowing what are truly the best vitamins for nails.
In this article, we will fill in that knowledge gap by providing a comprehensive overview of the best vitamins for nails, whether you are interesting in strengthening your nails, making your nails grow faster, or simply wish to keep them as beautiful as possible. When you are done reading, you will be able to confidently make your way through the market and choose the best vitamins for you.
Nails as Indicators of Health
Before we jump into our list of the best vitamins for nails, it is important that you are able to identify some of the indicators of health or deficiency when looking at your own nails. Here are four of the most common nail conditions that can serve as potential health warnings that you may want to look out for:
1. Rippled Fingernails
Ideally, your fingernails should be smooth. However, some people develop verticle ridges on the fingernails, and according to Healthline, this can be an indicator of some possible health issues.
Among the possible causes of ridged fingernails are eczema and skin dryness. But most often, these ridges can indicate a deficiency in protein, iron, calcium, or vitamin A.
2. Brittle Nails
Brittle nails can sometimes indicate nothing more than growing age. However, brittle nails can also indicate a deficiency of vitamin A, biotin, or vitamin C.
3. Yellow Nails
One of the most common causes of yellowing nails is a fungal infection which is often accompanied by the nail bed retracting, thickening of the nails, or crumbling nails. In rarer cases, yellow nails can indicate more serious causes conditions such as thyroid disease, lung disease, diabetes, or psoriasis.
4. White Stripes on Nails
Some people will find that they have developed white stripes on their nails. While this should not cause too much alarm, this condition is most often seen in children who do not have a balanced and nutritious diet since it often indicates malnutrition and protein deficiency.
Best Vitamins for Nails
Above we have outlined some of the most common nail conditions that might be indicators of health problems. But of course, you need not have any of these conditions for you to wish to have the strongest and most beautiful nails possible. Taking vitamins for nails need not be preventative, and luckily there are many vitamins for healthy nails that both serve to protect against health issues and to simply increase your nail health and beauty. So what vitamins are these? The answer is coming right up!
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays integral roles in promoting healthy cell growth and metabolizing fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids that help you build proteins. Additionally, biotin also plays key roles in histone modifications, gene regulation (by modifying the activity of transcription factors, and cell signaling.
For these reasons, biotin is essential to nail growth and is often taken to treat brittle nails and prevent hair loss. As we said, nail care is also about general health care, so it should also be of note that biotin plays an important factor in liver health and can be beneficial in developing a fetus in pregnant women who typically need more biotin than the average individual.
The ways to get biotin include food sources and dietary supplements. In ensuring that you get the correct amount of biotin, you may want to integrate some of these foods and supplements into your diet to avoid biotin deficiency:
1. Liver and Other Meats
Most biotin is stored in the liver, and thus eating animal liver is one of the simplest and most effective ways to get enough biotin in your diet. Additionally, other organ meats such as kidneys have a similarly high amount of biotin. Other meats do not contain as much biotin as organ meats but can still be a great source of the vitamin.
Eggs are another great source of the vitamin. For maximum biotin intake when eating eggs, the food should be cooked before eating since the protein, dietary avidin, which is found in raw egg whites stops biotin from being absorbed into the body.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great and simple way to ensure that your body is getting the correct dosage of biotin. In particular, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and pecans all contribute to biotin intake. Nuts and seeds are such a great source of the vitamin since they can serve as great snacking food throughout the day and do not require any meal preparation.
Avocado is another simple and easy way to increase the amount of biotin in your diet. Just one avocado contains 2-6 mcg of biotin and can be easily integrated into your diet as a snack or as part of a meal.
5. Biotin Supplements
Of course, there are many people who get their biotin by augmenting their diet with some of the best biotin supplements on the market. Biotin is not only great for nails strength and growth, but also for hair growth, which is why those concerned with hair and nail beauty will often turn to top tier supplements such as Tropical Oasis’ Biotin for Hair Growth supplement in order to get maximal absorption and effectiveness out of the biotin vitamin.
Other B Vitamins
In addition to Biotin (B-7), many other vitamins in the B-complex have been shown to be some of the best vitamins for healthy nails.
One of the best B vitamins for nails is vitamin B-12 which plays a part in the absorption of iron and in developing healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body and to the extremities like fingernails and toenails. Both vitamin B-12 and the iron it helps to absorb are necessary for keeping nails strong and healthy, while a deficiency in B-12 can result in blueish nails, wavy longitudinal dark streaks, and brownish pigmentation.
Another important B vitamin for healthier and stronger nails is folate or folic acid (B-9). This vitamin helps generate new cells and tissues in your body so it is important for promoting both air and nail growth. A deficiency in folate can result in a pigment change in your nails as well as making them rigid and brittle.
B-12m is commonly found in animal foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy, so if you are a vegetarian or vegan, then it may be advisable to supplement your diet with supplements. On the other hand, folate can be found in dark green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and avocado. So if you are not getting enough fruits, vegetables, or grains in your diet you may also want to consider supplementation. If you are interested in efficiency and your interests go beyond just improving your nails to improving your overall health (to which many B-vitamins contribute), then a great option is to take a B-complex supplement.
Zinc is a mineral that is essential to your overall health with especially great effects when it comes to having healthy skin and nails.
Zinc assists in the growth and division of cells. Given that nail cells grow and divide quickly relative to other types of cells, zinc deficiencies can cause major problems in these areas. If you do not get enough zinc, then this can cause the degeneration of the nail plate which is often indicated by the appearance of little white spots on the nails.
Luckily, there are a number of great sources for zinc from both animal products and vegetables. In the animal product category, great sources of zinc include meats like beef, chicken, fish, and eggs and dairy products like milk and cheese. In the vegetable category, great sources of zinc include black beans, chickpeas, nuts, soy, and a variety of other seeds.
Getting the proper amount of iron is essential for the health of every single cell in the body, and the nails are no exception. Iron is the main component of red blood cells which is necessary for these cells to be able to transport oxygen. A deficiency of iron becomes especially apparent in the nails since it results in a diminished ability for red blood cells to transport oxygen to the extremities.
Thus, if you are deficient in iron, the nails will be one of the first indicators. Signs of iron deficiency in the nails include vertical ridges in the nails, as well as your nails curving into an upward concave shape rather than downward over your fingertips like they are supposed to.
Paying attention to iron is especially important for women since they require more iron than men. So even though men and women metabolize iron at around the same rate, men need around 8mg of iron in their diet, women need up to 18mg of iron daily, and this increases to 27mg if they are pregnant.
Great food sources for iron are red meat, chicken, fish, legumes, nuts, and leafy green vegetables, while iron absorption can be impaired by very high fiber diets, alcohol consumption, and tannic acid.
Given that some of the greatest sources of iron are meat-based, many vegetarians and vegans will turn to dietary supplements to increase their iron intake and absorption. Additionally, iron supplements can be very useful for women ( especially if they are pregnant) since their bodies require a greater amount of iron.
Magnesium is not a vitamin. It is a mineral, and it plays a very important role in maintaining the strength and beauty of your nails. Most notably, magnesium assists in protein synthesis and cell growth and plays integral roles in energy production, bone and teeth structure, muscle function, nerve function, and DNA replication.
The signs of magnesium deficiency on your nails are similar to those of iron deficiency: vertical ridges on your nails. Additionally, magnesium deficiency symptoms include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, and weakness with long term adverse effects on bone density, brain function, nerve and muscle function, and the digestive system.
There are certain factors that make you more likely to be at risk of a magnesium deficiency. These include eating a low-magnesium diet, losing magnesium through excessive sweating, being pregnant, having type-2 diabetes, or taking certain medications like antibiotics.
Magnesium is often found in foods packed with dietary fiber, such as almonds, avocados, cashews, shredded wheat cereals, spinach, whole grain bread, and yogurt. Some ways that you can improve magnesium absorption include treating vitamin D deficiencies, not smoking tobacco, eating raw vegetables instead of cooking them, and augmenting your diet with magnesium supplements.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are three Omega-3 fatty acids -- ALA, EPA, and DHA -- all of which contribute to a healthy diet and healthy nails. Indeed, when we are talking about Omega-3s, this is a clear area where nail health and overall health overlap.
According to Healthline, Omega-3s can help fight anxiety and depression, can improve eye health, can promote brain health and functioning, and can improve risk factors for heart disease. But in addition to all of this, Omega-3s have some wonderful effects for nails, skin, and hair.
For both hair and nails, omega-3s can help to give a shiny and smooth look. They also help to reduce inflammation in the nail bed itself, which can aid in the growth of nails. Finally, Omega-3s contribute to the strength of your nails and can be used to help protect against nail splitting and brittleness.
Omega-3s may be harder to integrate into your diet, especially if you are not a big seafood eater. Some of the best sources of omega-3s include salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. To a lesser extent, you can also get a good amount of omega-3s from chia seeds, eggs, walnuts, and soy. Nevertheless, since many people have a hard time getting all of the omega-3s they want to help with their hair and nail beauty, people turn to supplement their intake with dietary supplements.
Getting Those Essential Vitamins for Your Nails
Everyone wants healthy and strong nails and for good reason. Not only can healthy nails be incredibly beautiful, but they also reflect the greater health of the rest of your body and show that you are getting all the right vitamins and minerals required for a healthy lifestyle. In order to make your nails as healthy as possible, you will want to make sure that you are getting enough of the best vitamins to strengthen nails, such as biotin, B-12, folate, zinc, iron, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
The best way to do this is to try to eat well-balanced meals that contain all of these vitamins and minerals. Alternatively, you may want to augment your diet with some of the great dietary supplements on the market, and this is especially the case if you have certain dietary restrictions such as those required by vegetarian and vegan diets. With innovative and trusted brands that offer a wide range of supplements for nail health, you can rest assured that your nails will be looking as beautiful as possible.