Home Remedies for Brittle Nails, Nutritional Deficiencies


Have you ever wondered "why do my fingernails break so frequently?"

This could be nails that tend to split, crack, tear or chip easily.

Other nail signs of health problems may include vertical ridges on nails or thin nails that take a long time to grow.

Brittle Nails Causes to Be Aware Of

There are of course external reasons why nails develop signs of weakness. This may include things like over-washing of hands, use of hand sanitizers and nail polish remover containing acetone.

Other top causes that are known to affect nail the strength are conditions like psoriasis, hormonal imbalance and fungal infections. In addition, strength and appearance of nails commonly declines as we age.

However, fragile fingernails, and even toenails, can indeed mirror the health of the body as the state of our nails is largely influenced by dietary habits and digestive capacities.

So, in other words, if we are not maintaining a balanced diet or have issues with absorbing the nutrients from our food we are more susceptible to soft or splitting brittle nails.

Nutritional deficiencies are a common cause of nail weakness, so it's good to know what superfoods, vitamins, herbs and supplements you can take if supporting strong thick nail growth is a health objective.

Here are 5 home remedies plus the top list of nail-nourishing vitamins and minerals.

Brittle Nails Home Remedies

1) MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)
2) Digestive Enzymes
3) Bamboo and Horsetail
4) Shilajit
5) Protein

1) MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)

MSM is the biologically active form of the element sulfur.

The bioavailable sulfur provided by an MSM supplement encourages the production of keratin, which is essential for healthy nail formation.

As a white crystalline powder, it is one of the best ways to deliver dietary sulfur.

MSM is odorless, somewhat bitter tasting and usually consumed in water first thing in the morning or between meals.

2) Digestive Enzymes

Poor digestion and absorption can definitely be a factor when it comes to nails that split or tear easily.

That's because there are dietary nutrients that we need to maintain the hardened skin cells that make up nails, otherwise known as the mentioned protein called keratin.

Digestive enzyme supplements can greatly assist in breaking down foods into usable vitamins and minerals the body requires.

Most digestive enzyme formulas on the market have at least 15-20 different enzyme types to ensure they help digest all foods that may make up a meal.

3) Bamboo and Horsetail

Silica or silicon (not to be confused with silicone) is another nail-strengthening ally you may wish to consider.

While we get the trace mineral silica when consuming a balanced diet that includes plenty of quality whole foods such as vegetables and grains, as we grow older the body has a harder time absorbing food-based silica efficiently.

Bamboo and horsetail are also two species that contain A LOT of SILICA. Both dried bamboo leaves and horsetail herb can be consumed as water-soluble tea infusions to increase dietary silica uptake. They are also available as extracts in supplement form.

A quality orthosilicic acid or MMST silica-based supplement can likewise come in handy for increasing the bioavailability of this nutrient.

4) Shilajit

Shilajit is very high in fulvic acid, a compound valued for its benefits to nail strength, preventing splitting, ridges or cracks. It also has potent antifungal properties.

Shilajit contains tons of essential minerals in an easily absorbed ionic format. The fulvic acid component is also known to help us metabolize the nutrients in our food more efficiently.

This effect is traditionally referred to as "yoga vahi" in Ayurveda which means "joining carrier", defining its unique capacity to carry and deliver nutrients.

As a mineral substance, powder or resins can be added in small amounts to shakes, teas or elixirs. Although it can be expensive it doesn't require large doses. For example, our favorite Lost Empire Herbs powder, at one gram per day or about 1/2 teaspoon, will last about 50 days.

5) Protein

People who eat low-protein diets often have softer thin nails. Keratin is actually dead skin cells that rapidly divide to provide a tough protective covering on the fingertips.

Because nails are made of keratin protein, especially the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine, eating a diet of protein-rich food sources can be beneficial.

Of course, animal foods like eggs, chicken, beef and fish are good sources but plant-based protein powders can also be utilized to get adequate nail-supporting amino acids, like cysteine.

Animal-based protein, however, will also supply plenty of vitamin B12, which is an essential nutrient for hard strong nails.

Brittle Nails Vitamin Deficiency

Brittleness is commonly on the list of nail symptoms that can be associated with nutritional deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals.

Here are the most important nutrients to keep your nails healthy.

  • Biotin (Vitamin B7) - aids in the metabolism of protein-building amino acids.
  • Calcium/Magnesium - good for dense bones as well as nail growth. Silica helps with calcium absorption.
  • Iron - those with brittle nails are commonly iron deficient.
  • Vitamin C - needed for proper iron uptake. Spoon-shaped fingernails are a sign of deficiency.
  • Zinc - deficiency is often associated with white spots on nails or general weakness.

Note: When looking to purchase the highest quality vitamins and minerals, we personally prefer food-based over synthetic varieties for the best absorption and safety aspects.


Consult your healthcare professional before using foods and supplements to treat brittle nails if you are pregnant, nursing, have a serious health condition or are taking any type of medication.

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