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


Richard A
Richard A11 months ago

Thank you.

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby4 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola5 years ago

Thanks for a great article,

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago

My nails are brittle due to nail polish.

J.L. A.
j A5 years ago

good to know

Nadia R.
Nadia R6 years ago

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.

Tim Cheung
Tim C6 years ago


Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Bon L.
Bon L7 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Sheila L.
sheila l7 years ago

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