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I used to have strong and long nails. No more. No matter how careful I am to avoid things like doing the dishes by hand or doing cleaning without gloves, they keep breaking off to the point that you can't see any of the white of the nails.

I hate this because I love giving my nails a fresh looking coat of polish. They are definitely a part of what I consider to be my overall image. I don't want to have to get fake nails, which will ruin my natural nails even more.

It's a vitamin deficiency, right? Question is which one and how to fix it?

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My nails often break off as well, or tear, but I don't know if it's because of a vitamin deficiency or because I keep my hands rather busy. But recently I have been taking calcium supplements because I thought it might help. And I must say it slightly improved. I have been taking them for three months now. My nails are stronger but I try to keep them filed down to a decent length to also contribute to preventing them from breaking. I advise you do the same things and see if you notice a difference.
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A vitamin or mineral deficiency, especially iron deficiency, is definitely one reason nails can break. There are many other reasons you may tear or chip your nails as well though, and these include:

- Over-vigorous typing or texting
- Manual work, whether gardening, cleaning, factory work, or whatever without gloves
- You don't keep your hands and nails well hydrated by using hand lotion and cuticle oil
- Nail polish contains lots of drying ingredients that make your nails more prone to breaking
- You use a harsh nail polish remover
- You keep messing with your nails, cutting the cuticles or filing or cutting your nails too much
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User avatar
Celebrity
478 posts

Hey,

I'd also consider the possibility that your "nice fresh coat of polish" is causing the issue; leaving nail polish on too long can be very drying and indeed, many nail polish removers basically doom your nails.

Having said that, deficienies in iron, zinc, vitamin A, biotin, and calcium can all cause your nails to break as well. If you have any other symptoms, such as tiredness, brittle hair, bad looking skin, getting ill often, and so on, then please ask your doctor for a comprehensive blood test to figure out what is going on with your health. It could be bigger than your nails alone.

Rosie

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If your nails used to be very strong and healthy and you are now suddenly suffering from brittle nails, I would be concerned too. It is like your body is screaming: Something is going on here!

Before running to the pharmacy for polishes to make your nails stronger, getting gel nails, or even taking vitamins for hair, nails, and skin, I would also seek a blood test to check for serious deficiencies that could damage a lot more than your nails. If you don't have any, you can look for other reasons. If you do, you will be glad that you looked!

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Coconut oil, vinegar, vitamin E oil, biotin, even sea salt (???), I've tried them all. Because I do suffer from hypertension as well, I do regularly have blood tests, none of which have turned up any vitamin deficiencies. My nails are still brittle and never grow very long. I have no idea why. I do know there is not an underlying health issue that can easily be identified, and by the way, my hair and skin both look great!

I have simply come to the conclusion that my nails are like this, for whatever reason, and I keep them short as a matter of course. I don't bother to apply nail polish to draw more attention to my stumps.

Everyone has their strong and weak points and my nails are not the most beautiful thing about me. Big deal.
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One thing to keep in mind is that if your finger nails are brittle but your toe nails are strong and will grow long if you do not cut them, that this is quite a reliable sign that vitamin and mineral deficiencies are not the cause of your brittle nails. I also agree that hair and skin looking good are other indicators that something else is going on.

Hmmm... Being too rough on your hands comes to mind first, to be honest. If you scrub without wearing gloves, or garden, or do sports that require the use of your hands, that comes to mind as a likely cause of your brittle nails. If you can't identify an external cause though, I'd wonder how comprehensive your blood tests are. Those tests probably don't look for the full spectrum of deficiencies but only for those associated with hypertension medication, I think potassium and calcium??? I think iron is the most common deficiency associated with brittle nails.

Because your nails do say a lot about your health, I would not stop looking for answers quite yet.
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OK, really people, does everything have to be pathological now? Some people just have sucky nails what don't grow well and I'm one of those people. It's not because of acrylic nails, I swear, that's just the way they were and that's why I get the fake nails in the first place. My health is fine. I work out, eat healthily, all that good stuff, and yet my nails suck. So what I do is get acrylic. Cos I do work out and need my hands for stuff, I keep em short and classy these days, though I did the long gharish nails routine when I was younger for sure. In my mind anyways, stuff that points to deficiencies is white spots on the nails, ridges, that kind of thing. I don't have that. I just have weak nails.

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User avatar
Health Ace
6880 posts
"OK, really people, does everything have to be pathological now?"

On this forum it is, but it's usually CANCER!!!!
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I usually stick to the beauty forum, because I'm here to learn more about, well, beauty, so I haven't come across a lot of cancer scares (except for people's questions about whether tanning beds + sunscreen = no cancer of course).

Anyway. I do think your nails say an awful lot about your overall health, and that it's a good idea to reexamine your lifestyle and nutritional habits if you do have brittle and weird looking nails. These are signs for you to improve your health, so why not make the most of what your body tells you?

Of course not everyone goes out running to get a blood test. But you can look up pictures of nails and symptoms and see what deficiencies are likely to be causing your issue and then change your diet. Because food is always better than supplements anyway.
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Well, no. Not everything. :) But some things give you a ton of information about your overall health and it so happens that your nails do exactly that. Vitamin deficiencies show up in your nails. So in someone who has always had strong nails and then suddenly has brittle nails, it's only logical to explore the possibility of deficiencies. Especially if they also have other symptoms, which are Googleable of course. Why ignore good info your body is giving you for free? If nothing else (and there is indeed much else) it can help cure those brittle nails! :)
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