There’s nothing worse than discovering a split right down the middle of a nail you’ve been trying to grow out for a while. Perhaps it hit a snag, perhaps it’s a common occurrence. If the latter, it may be worth paying a visit to your doctor. The condition of your nails can surprisingly indicate subtle signs of your overall physical health that may not always be detectable at first. Pay attention if your nails seem to err on the brittle side. This could point out symptoms of something more serious.
One of the lesser known signs of iron deficiency is brittle nails or koilonychia, a condition that causes concave, spoon-shaped nails. Iron is an essential nutrient the body needs to transport oxygen and maintain cell growth. When we’re deficient in iron, the cells in our body are deprived of that oxygen. Consider incorporating more iron-rich foods (such as red meat, fish and poultry) into your diet or ask your doctor about taking supplements.
Manganese is a trace mineral that plays a vital role in calcium absorption, blood sugar regulation, bone health, wound healing and proper brain and nerve function. Though it is a common nutrient found in many different foods, it is estimated by the University of Maryland Medical Center that as much as 37 percent of Americans do not meet the recommended daily intake for this mineral. Low levels of manganese in the body can cause a variety of health complications.
Too little moisture
Especially troublesome in low humidity and in the winter with dry heat, nails that aren’t adequately (or inconsistently) hydrated are prone to cracking and breaking. As an all natural moisturizer, soak the nails in warm water for five minutes and follow up with coconut oil to massage your nails and cuticles a few times each week.
Too much moisture
Alternately, if you find that your nails are breaking because they’re too soft, they may be exposed to too much moisture. Roll up your sleeves a little higher and opt for cotton-lined rubber gloves when performing household chores such as washing dishes, handling laundry detergent or cleaning fluids, which can cause chemical damage in the nails. Lastly, if you paint your nails, opt for non-toxic nail polish or acetone-free polish remover to prevent further damage.