The Eclectic Physician
Dr. Beth Burch
Fingernails sometimes soft and split.Q. I am 68 years old. I have a pretty good diet and I take vitamins and antioxidants, yet my nails are sometimes soft and split. Sometimes they have white spots. I hate to have them wrapped for them to look decent. Are there any supplements that I can try? I have gone to a health food store and have tried a few different products, but none seem to work. Perhaps I did not use them long enough? The strange thing is that my toenails are fine, they seem to be strong and do not peel or have ridges in them.
First have your thyroid level checked, especially if you have other symptoms of low thyroid such as dry skin and hair, constipation and fatigue. Iron or calcium deficiency can cause brittle nails. In addition biotin, zinc and protein deficiency can all contribute to weak and damaged nails. Fungal infections, psoriasis and poor circulation can also result in splitting and fraying of the nails.
Since your toenails are healthy and only the fingernails are affected, I would think about external things that might be damaging them. Are your hands in water a lot, do you use fingernail polish and remover, are your hands exposed to detergents or chemicals, do you bite your fingernails? Any of these can cause softening and splitting of the nails.
Make sure you are eating a healthy diet with adequate protein and take a high potency vitamin and mineral supplement to insure adequate levels of all nutrients.
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