Article by Angela Haldane
Q. I have brittle nails that split and peel. They seem to have worsened over the summer, perhaps it is due to the dry heat, or am I deficient in something?
A. Firstly check that you have adequate protein in your diet. The amino acids cysteine, methionine and taurine which are present in protein foods provide the body with sulphur that is required for optimal health of the nails.
Brittle nails that split easily, vertical ridges on the nails and/or “spoon” nails (nails that have a concave-shaped appearance) may occur as a result of iron deficiency. Or it may be that you are low in calcium or silica which can also produce very dry and brittle nails. If you have white flecks on your nails, this often indicates a zinc deficiency.
I suggest that if you follow a healthy diet of meat, fish, eggs, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, oils and vegetables. This should amend any dietary deficiencies. If after a month, you feel your nails are still brittle take Active Elements 2.1 which contain silica and calcium fluoride.
Do the mineral appraisal on this website (under the about section).
Alternatively, those who take the supplement glucosamine sulphate notice an increase in the rate of growth and strength (toughness) of their nails.
If you have a family history of thyroid disease, it may be wise to get a blood test as nails can become brittle with an overactive or underactive thyroid gland.
If you are still not sure, see your registered natural practitioner or doctor.