Why nails become brittle

Brittle nails is a problem that affects more people that we sometimes think. It is usually associated with hard, physical labour, but the truth of the matter is that there are many factors that play into the health of both your skin and your nails. While nail problems are not always indicative of larger health issues, this may act as an early warning sign, so paying attention to the health of your nails may help you overcome problems before they even start. Here are a few common causes of brittle nails that you should look out for:

-One of the most common causes of brittle and breaking nails is low thyroid activity, also called hypothyroidism. In hypothyroidism, your body does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone, leading to symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, dry skin, brittle nails, depression, and memory trouble. People with under-active thyroid often notice soft nail beds, nail ridges, and a lightening or disappearance of the white, crescent-shaped area of the nail base.

-Gluten intolerance is estimated to affect 1 in every 100 people. Gluten intolerance happens when the body’s autoimmune system reacts to the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and some oats. A person with this disorder cannot digest this protein, resulting in chronic gastrointestinal distress, brain fog, muscle pain, weakness and nutritional deficiencies resulting in brittle nails and dry hair. Though the symptoms of gluten intolerance vary from person to person, eliminating gluten from your diet for a period of one-month should be enough to tell if your breaking nails are a result of this condition.

-Iron and Vitamin Deficiencies due to poor diet and increasingly poor soil quality has resulted in an epidemic of nutritional deficiencies. Iron is an essential mineral and the lack of it can result in brittle nails, breaking nails, unusual nail ridging, and sometimes a bluish color to the nail bed. Other nutritional deficiencies that may lead to less-than-perfect nails are vitamin C, D, E, and B.

-Overuse of Fingernails – Everyday activities such as typing, opening things, cashiering, cooking, and playing an instrument can also contribute to breaking nails. If your job or lifestyle requires you to continually use your nails, file them short and even, moisturize regularly, and protect them with gloves when you’re able.

-Too Much Nail Polish – Most commercial nail polishes contain harmful chemical additives that can weaken your fingernails over time. If you paint your fingernails more than once per week, you’re overdoing it. Your nails should be allowed at least a couple of days to breathe and grow naturally so they have a chance to be healthy.

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