All parts of the human body require attention and care otherwise what seems insignificant can cause problems beyond expectation. This is nothing strange because the body works as a system – a problem to the tiniest part can be the beginning of waves of problems. Skin, hair, nails, etc. all require as much care as we would give our internal organs.
Nails are key parts of the general anatomy of the human body. A healthy nail is a pinkish-white, smooth-surfaced hard layer. It is made from a tough protein called Keratin. Other parts of the nail are the nail matrix and the nail bed. They provide protection for delicate tissues of the nail bed, contribute to sensitivity, and add aesthetic value to the body. At the minimum level, an ugly or rough nail can make a significant mess of your general outlook. With this level of significance, it becomes imperative to ensure the nail is continually in its best shape.
Over the years of an average man, nails face varying kinds of challenges such as nail fungus, paronychia, green nail syndrome, and undergo as many changes. These issues could be a result of numerous factors such as birth defects, nutrients deficiency, infection, as well as underlying health issues. The best thing is to ensure proper care and maintenance of the nails to avoid having to cure issues. Nevertheless, some people will still have to go through different degrees of nail treatment.
Whether it is for maintenance or cure, certain vitamins are fundamental to the healthy state or recovery of the nail. Let’s discuss the top vitamins for nails.
The biggest class of vitamins that contribute to nail’s health are the B vitamins. They contribute to nail health in extensive ways – growth, strengthening, and preserving the coloration. The vitamins include biotin, vitamin B12, vitamin B9, etc.
Biotin is also known as Vitamin B7, Vitamin H, and coenzyme R. It is a B-complex vitamin that plays key roles in the growth of cells as well as contributes to the metabolism of protein-building amino acids. Some of these amino acids form keratin which is the building block of nails.
Biotin enhances nail growth and strengthens brittle fingernails. Although there is no sufficient scientific backup for some of the claims, some research has found biotin to be a vital vitamin in nail growth and strengthening.
The daily recommended Adequate Intake (AI) of biotin for adults is 30mcg. Cases of deficiency in this B-complex Vitamin is very rare. Organ meats such as kidney and liver are the richest sources of biotin. Diary products, sweet potato, nuts, egg yolk, avocado, and yeast are also good sources of biotin.
To keep your nails strong healthy, eat foods, or take supplements rich in biotin.
Vitamin B12 contributes significantly to the absorption of iron in the body and also the formation of red blood cells. Both red blood cells and iron are important elements in the healthy growth of nails hence the importance of vitamin B12 for healthy nails development. Adults need 2.4mcg of vitamin B12 per day.
When vitamin B12 is deficient in the body, the nails can become completely blue or have bluish-black or brown pigmentation. The primary source of vitamin B12 is animal foods e.g. eggs, fish, dairy, and meat. They can equally be found in some beverages.
This is another vital Vitamin in having a healthy nail. It is also called folate. B9 enhances the formation of red blood cells as well as the development of new cells. The daily requirement of folate for adults is 400mcg. It is needed much more by pregnant women.
Folate deficiency may result in nail discoloration, rigidity, and crumbling. Dark green vegetables, seeds, avocado, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, and peas are some of the sources of folate.
Vitamin A does not impact the strength of nails directly; it works as a transporter of essential nutrients needed by nails. If vitamin A is deficient in the body, transportation of iron through the bloodstream will be affected which could hence cause anemia.
Liver, carrots, and spinach are some of the rich sources of vitamin A.
Iron is the life of red blood cells. It is the element that ensures sufficient oxygen is transported to all body cells. Many people are not aware that nails breathe; they do. Therefore, they need sufficient oxygen to remain healthy. Vertical ridges in the nail can be caused by a deficiency of iron in the body.
Women within ages 19 to 50 need 18mg of iron per day while older women and men need just 8mg per day. Animal foods are a better source of iron to the body. To get better absorption of plant-based sources, eat the iron source with food rich in vitamin C.
Magnesium is another key element in the healthy growth of nails. It contributes to protein synthesis which is the fundamental aspect of the nail. The deficiency of magnesium can cause vertical ridges in the nail. Grains and vegetables are rich sources of magnesium.
We must pay attention to all body parts. All the vitamins above are not just important in the healthy growth of nails, they also play key parts in other body functions. Consume all these sources adequately to ensure the whole body is well nourished.