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Brittle Nails, Brittle Bones?

Brittle Nails, Brittle Bones?

Q: My nails just suddenly started breaking all the time about six months ago, and I worry about what’s happening to my bones. Is there any correlation between the two things?

A: Most likely not.

Most people as they get older will suffer from brittle nails. The most common culprit is a lack of moisture. This can be easily remedied by rubbing olive oil or lotion onto the nails daily.

If you are accustomed to wearing nail polish or fake nails, removing these and allowing the nails to “breathe” will also help the situation.

Other potential (but less common) causes of brittle nails are iron deficiency anemia, fungal infections, and thyroid or parathyroid problems.

Brittle nails do not correlate with brittle bones; however, if you are a man or a woman over the age of 50, discuss with your physician about getting a routine screening test to measure bone density.

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at

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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


+ add your own
1:45PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013


1:56AM PDT on Nov 4, 2012

Thanks for a great article,

5:13AM PDT on Sep 21, 2012

My nails are brittle due to nail polish.

7:29AM PDT on May 13, 2012

good to know

4:07PM PST on Jan 25, 2012

Here are my cures for brittle nails. I got stronger nails and my hair stopped falling only by drinking organic apple cider vinagar for about 3 weeks.

12:39PM PDT on Oct 28, 2011


7:47AM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

Thank you

5:35AM PST on Jan 8, 2011

Thanks for the info.

11:21PM PDT on May 8, 2010

brittle is never good anywhere, brittle nails sign of not good health, lacking essential minerals

8:40PM PDT on Mar 28, 2010

Take care of our nails!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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