There is no doubt that hands are every person’s business card. Already at the first contact and shaking hands, we see how a person takes care of himself and what kind of life he leads. The appearance of the hands is mainly affected by the condition of the nails and their surroundings. Bitten and brittle nails do not leave a good impression.
You may be surprised at what the condition of your nails can affect. It is important to note that genetics has little effect. Poor nail conditions can also indicate a health problem. Therefore, if you notice soft, frayed or brittle nails or various defects on them, we recommend paying attention. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics – nail problems can signal a long-term deficiency of certain nutrients in the body. Such a condition can also be caused by hormonal changes or changes in the body that are associated with age.
The good news is that we have a chance to influence a lot of this. We bring you tips on how to strengthen nails and improve their appearance and health.
What are nails made of?
The primary component of nails, similar to hair, is the well-known protein – keratin. The nails contain several layers of keratin. Interestingly, these are dead cells inflated on each other, and as the nail grows, new cells push the older ones out of the nail bed. The anatomy of the nail consists of the nail plate, the nail matrix – this is where the nail grows, the nail bed under the matrix. The area around the nail is formed by the cuticle, the cuticle. At the root of the nail is the lunula, which is a lighter crescent moon.
The greater the strength of keratin, the better its cells hold together and the stronger the nail. Nail health depends primarily on whether the living cells inside the skin from which the nail grows have sufficient nutrients. At the same time, we supply nutrients to the body, and if the body has increased demands on vitamins and minerals, for example in various diseases, their intake is even more important.
What do nails need to be strong and not break
From the point of view of internal nutrition, if the body has enough nutrients, the nails will grow faster and will be stronger, stronger and less broken.
What nutrients are involved? Vitamins and minerals primarily affect the good condition and also nail growth. B vitamins, for example, play a big role, perhaps biotin – vitamin B7. Then there are vitamins C and E and minerals – iron, magnesium and zinc. The sufficient consumption of omega-3 fatty acids also has a positive effect.
Proteins are an important source of keratin. Therefore, the diet should be nutritionally balanced, with enough protein from which keratin can then be formed. It is therefore recommended that protein make up at least 10 to 35% of your daily calorie intake.
Collagen is the most important protein that supplies nutrients to nails and is literally food for the nail bed. It makes up 80% of our skin and uses it to supply nutrients to our nails. Therefore, if you have frayed nails and are looking for something to break on your nails, supplementing with collagen is a great idea. We also take in a certain amount of collagen in foods rich in protein, but the body cannot get enough of it from food. The solution is collagen supplements that can help you supplement collagen and thus contribute to better nail condition.
Many studies have already been carried out on the positive effects of collagen in the form of a dietary supplement, examining the effect of several months of using bioactive collagen in various groups of people. Effects on the skin, effects on the musculoskeletal system have been observed, and studies on its effect on nail growth and firmness have also been reported. One of them showed that nail growth accelerated by 12.5% in a group of women with a 24-week intake of 2.5 grams of collagen per day, and nail fragility decreased by more than 40%.
When choosing collagen supplements, we recommend focusing on their quality. It doesn’t matter what dietary supplement you take. Your body needs to get in the right shape to work with it. The specifics of quality collagen are:
A gentle way of production. Collagen should be bio-active, ie in a “living” form with a preserved helix structure – the body cannot absorb the collagen molecule as a whole, so it must be broken down into individual peptides, which then easily penetrate into the blood. The most gentle method of such production is hydrolysis.
Soft nails, brittle nails – what they reveal about your health
If you are not sure if you have enough collagen in your body, test yourself. A good indicator is, among other things, the condition of the nails. With the help of our test, you can easily find out if you need to supplement collagen because as one of the most important proteins in the body, its deficiency can also manifest itself in the form of soft, brittle and brittle nails.
What diseases affect the poor condition of nails? If you have a long-term suspicion of a health problem, we recommend that you resolve the situation with your doctor. Brittle nails can be a symptom of, for example, thyroid problems, so-called hypothyroidism. Onychomycosis, in turn, is an infectious fungal disease that affects both the nails on the hands and feet. Other skin conditions can also affect the nails – for example, psoriasis or a disease called lichen planus.
Hormonal changes can also affect the nails, most often during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. During these life stages, mothers commonly encounter an undesirable phenomenon – nails are weaker, they grow more slowly. This is a temporary condition until the hormones return to normal.