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Fix for Brittle Nails

Fix for Brittle Nails

If your nails go snap, crackle, and pop, you’re in good company–as much as 20 percent of the population suffers from brittle nails. Though experts don’t know exactly what causes our nails to weaken, peel, or break, they point to harsh detergents and nail polish removers as the likely culprits. Other factors include cold, dry weather and frequent hand washing.

Fortunately, a natural remedy for frail nails happens to be one of the most abundant elements on Earth: silicon. As an essential trace element in our bodies, this common mineral promotes the formation of two important connective tissue substances, collagen, which gives our skin, hair, and nails strength and flexibility, and glycosaminoglycans, which hydrate the tissue to provide cushioning action. In a study in Finland, researchers found that 50 percent of women given silicon for 90 days reported significantly stronger nails.

But it’s not easy to get that extra dose. Silicon usually binds with oxygen to form organic silica, which the body has trouble absorbing. The most bioavailable type of silicon is the one normally found in our blood–orthosilicic acid–which is formed when silicon binds to hydrogen atoms.

James Belanger, ND, from Lexington, Massachusetts, recommends taking about 7 mg (10 drops) of orthosilicic acid–commonly found as a supplement–twice a day for at least three months, which is the time it takes for the old nail to grow out and the healthy one to take its place.

If you want to add more silicon to your diet, load up on whole grains, soybeans, and leafy greens and consider supplementing with horsetail and alfalfa. And don’t do it just for your nails. Getting a little extra silicon also strengthens bones and may reduce the appearance of wrinkles by improving elasticity of the skin. “It’s a great supplement to take, in general, for all of its effects,” Belanger says.

If brittle nails persist, check in with your healthcare practitioner. This symptom can also result from deficiencies in zinc, iron, calcium, and protein and from more serious maladies such as thyroid problems or lung disease.

Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living offers its readers the latest news on health conditions, herbs and supplements, natural beauty products, healing foods and conscious living. Click here for a free sample issue.

Read more: Beauty, Hands & Feet, ,

By Carolyn Barry, Natural Solutions

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Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living offers its readers the latest news on health conditions, herbs and supplements, natural beauty products, healing foods and conscious living.


+ add your own
1:55AM PDT on Nov 4, 2012

Thanks for a great article,

7:30AM PDT on May 13, 2012

good to know

3:48PM PST on Jan 25, 2012

I've been drinking organic apple cider vinegar for about 3 weeks. The results are my hair stopped falling and my nails got stronger. Easy, simple and very effective.Here are my exact recipes for curing brittle nails.

12:37PM PDT on Sep 16, 2011

For dry, cracked, brittle, and irregularly shaped nails you can try Deep Cover Nail system. I'm telling you this stuff really works. I got it on shopnbc. They have a oil and nail polish line. It's amazing!!

5:10AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011


9:59PM PDT on Mar 14, 2011

I've been eating loads of cucumber for its high silica content. I was doing it to keep my hair growing fast, and this is cool too. My fingernails are fine but my toenails are always a bit flaky. hopefully this will help.

11:39PM PST on Feb 9, 2011

This seems to be a common problem - there is certainly something in our chemical-laden environment or food that is causing this.

5:36AM PST on Jan 8, 2011

Thanks for the info.

3:29AM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

Thanks for the advice my nails are terrible always breaking, splitting full of ridges.

5:13PM PDT on Jul 7, 2010


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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