A diet for weak nails

A lack of zinc and iron can make them brittle, says the nutritionist.

If one has terrible nails — they peel constantly, break and are quite soft. Nothing you have ever done has helped, not even a pregnancy. You try to eat as healthily as possible and include lots of dairy in your diet as well as lean meat, chicken and fish. What could you do that will improve their condition?

Brittle nails are often thought to be the result of calcium deficiency, but in fact the nail contains very little calcium and the problem is more likely to be caused by lack of zinc. Meat, shellfish, fish,crumbly cheese and eggs are all good sources of this mineral. While wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds like pumpkin, and certain vegetables, eg, courgettes, marrow and asparagus, also contain zinc, these foods unfortunately also contain phytates, which reduce zinc absorption. Many women are unaware that taking the Pill can also affect the amount of zinc taken in by the body. As a lack of zinc can lower your libido, this may explain why some women say that they lose interest when they are on the Pill. (The same effect on zinc levels and libido can be observed with long-term use of the antibiotic tetracycline, which is used as a treatment for acne.) So the first step is to boost your intake of zinc-rich foods. It is also worth finding out if you have an iron deficiency. This can be pretty common after pregnancy, as your baby will have been draining your reserves. A lack of iron can cause iron deficiency anaemia: the symptoms include feeling tired (although with a baby, who doesn’t?), looking pale and brittle nails. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check your levels of haemoglobin (the pigment in the blood that carries iron around the body) and your body’s store of iron, or ferritin levels. Incidentally, low ferritin levels also account for many women losing their hair. Increase the amount of iron-rich foods in your diet — this means lean red meat,liver,eggs, green leafy vegetables, pulses, lentils and dried apricots. Eating vitamin C-rich foods at the same time will help to ensure that your body absorbs plenty of iron (good sources of vitamin C include berries, oranges and kiwi fruit).Caffeine interferes with iron absorption, so try to avoid having it with meals. Also avoid excess alcohol, as brittle nails may, in extreme cases, be a sign of an unhealthy liver — though I doubt that this is true for you. I think that the main problem is that your pregnancy has drained you of your zinc and iron stores. And finally, many people have little white flecks on their nails — this can be a sign that the nail has received a knock, but it may be worth looking at your zinc intake, too.

Nails beauty. Winter care.

In the winter, especially, nails become brittle, rough, ridged and seem to peel. Does this mean I have a vitamin deficiency? What should we do to solve this problem?

Diets often change during the winter,and marginal deficiencies may show up. Insufficient protein seems to be high on the list,though the often-recommended use of gelatin does not seem to be adequate. However, I find that improving the digestion overall is the best single thing that can be done.

Consider a really good supplement of digestive enzymes, like Super Enzyme, by Twinlab, or something equivalent (read labels). Try one right after every meal (not before), and go to two if there's no problem (it's rare that there would be).

Eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and add high-protein foods like fish, meat, and especially whole eggs, which are high in sulfur amino acids. Cholesterol is almost never a problem as long as you don't break the yolk during cooking.

Keep your hands in good condition from the very beginning, and you will not have any problem with them in future!

Fake Nails Or No Fake Nails. Some questions and answers.

If you recently got fake nails, and you wanted to know what is the best why to get them off?

The best option to remove your nails if you had them put on at a salon or even at home is to visit a salon for proper removal. This may not be an option, the best way to remove your nails at home is to soak your fingers in acetone or acetone-containing nail polish remover for 12 minutes and then proceed to remove your nails gently from the cuticle up. You can use a clean fingernail file to do this. But be careful that you soak your nails long enough to loosen them and be careful when removing them. After removing them consider soaking your nails in rubbing alcohol for 5-10 minutes to clean the nail bed area and don't forget to apply lotion to your nails, to keep the skin around your cuticle healthy.It is very important to keep our nails in good condition. Nail infections are very common and often overlooked. Artificial nails can be a source of bacterial and/or fungal infection. To avoid this, wash your hands regularly. It is best to trim your nails weekly, but be careful to not trim them too short which may traumatize the skin around the nails. If you do have artificial nails, be even more careful to wash your hands. If your fake nail starts separating from your natural nail, soak your nails in alcohol before reapplying your artificial nail. This will help ward off germs which can cause infection. If you do have your artificial nails put on at a salon, it might be worth the time to inquire about the sanitation standards of the salon. How do they clean their equipment and how often? Have they had problems with customers getting nail infections? If you get pedicures, how often do they change the filters in their foot massagers?Toenails should also be kept trimmed and clean. If you use a locker room/gym facility, it is best to wear shoes at all times to avoid contact with the floor. Keep feet clean and dry and wear cotton socks. Nail infections can manifest as yellow nails or black discoloration of the nail area. If this occurs, schedule an appointment with your doctor because you may need to be put on medicine to avoid spread of the infection.

Many women tried to put on fake nails themselves and when they take them off they take the whole top layer and then some of the nail with it!!! How is it possible to properly take off a fake nail without it taking the real nail with it? Or should they just go to a professional? Or should they just buy some nail growing and strengthening polish?

This is an excellent question as there are so many people wearing fake nails. You have seen that having fake nails can cause damage to the cuticles, as well as your real nails if they are not properly taken care of. If they are left on too long without cleaning they may cause fungal growth between the fake nail and your own nail. Also, they can be painful to get off as you have noted. You can get them off by soaking them in an acetone remover that can be found in most cosmetic sections of supermarkets and drug stores. Soak your nails in the solution and then remove them rather than trying to pull them off or clip them. Be careful as some people have thinner or more sensitive nails than other people do so the removal process may cause pain or irritation.It might be a good idea to go to a professional who can give you pointers as to what products are best and show you the proper way to remove the nails. The last suggestion about the nail strengthening polish is excellent - there will be less wear and tear on your real nails, it's more convenient and definitely cheaper. It might take some time but if you take care of your real nails they will be just as beautiful.


Woman who gets fake nails could be getting something else in the bargain - a dangerous dose of poison.
A toxin eradicated from the beauty industry 25 years ago has made a quiet comeback in nail salons nationwide, including New York - and nobody's doing anything for stopping it.
Methyl methacrylate (MMA) can rip nails off fingers, cause nerve problems and severe rashes - and over the long term hurt kidneys, livers fetuses and livers.
"It's being sold openly. You can buy it all over the place," said California beauty-industry chemist Douglas Schoon, who studied the problem.
MMA is found mostly at discount salons because it costs $20 to $60 a gallon, compared to about $200 for top-of-the-line, safer products.
Manicurists combine liquid MMA with a powder to build so-called sculptured, or acrylic, nails. It is also sometimes used in acrylic "wraps" of artificial nail tips.
The super-cheap chemical isn't supposed to be used by manicurists.
But Post reporters easily bought MMA products from two Queens beauty-supply stores - and during a random check of 13 nail salons found the toxin in two of them. Two wouldn't say what they used, and two more didn't know.
Employees at both supply stores said they had no idea MMA shouldn't be used on nails.
Almost no information about the acrylic is available in Korean or Vietnamese - two groups that have cornered the cut-rate salon market.
Competition is so tough, some salon owners get the cheapest product they can find, said Michael Limb, head of the Asian American Advisory Council and member of the state board that licenses manicurists.
"Everybody's got it. Everybody's selling it," said Kevin Bae, a salesman at Hi-Fashion Beauty Supplies in Sunnyside, Queens, one store where The Post bought the chemical.
"If they tell us not to sell it, we'll follow the law," he said.
Federal Food and Drug Administration officials ruled in the early 1970s that MMA is poisonous when used on nails.
The agency seized products - a move that held up in court and effectively killed the market. But the FDA never actually banned it.
"The use seems to be coming back," said Dr. John Bailey, head of the FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors. "Our position is still that it's unsafe."
In some people, MMA causes a poison-ivy-like rash and in extremely rare cases causes permanent damage, say Manhattan nail specialists.
The super-glue chemical bonds so strongly to the natural nail that it can rip the nail right off if it's accidentally bumped, Schoon said.
Workers who breathe MMA for years can suffer kidney and liver lesions, reproductive problems and possibly lung and cardiovascular damage, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
The chemical is manufactured by a handful of mega-corporations that sell it legally to the construction- and dental-supply companies - who are probably diverting it to the beauty industry, Bailey said.
The FDA lacks the manpower to launch a full-blown investigation, he said.
The state, which licenses manicurists and regulates salons, has no rules about its use - although the Health Department is "reviewing" the issue, a spokeswoman said.
Without tight federal or state control, MMA is flourishing again.
When a Post reporter was shopping for acrylic liquids in Queens, a Bronx manicurist whispered she would sell the reporter a gallon for just $35. It turned out to be MMA.