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Brittle Nails

Hi everyone,

I've noticed that my nails and toe nails are chipping and rippring apart quite easily. This seems strange to me. They look and feel significantly thinner too. I heard that cucumber might help with this. Does anyone have any suggestions?


  • joannabananajoannabanana Raw Newbie

    Do you use nail polish? Once I stopped using nail polish my nails have become very strong. I still bite them (bad habit), but they are thicker. Maybe try more calcium rich foods.

  • troublesjustabubbletroublesjustabubble Raw Newbie

    More spinach! It has a lot of minerals that help the nails and hair. Just put Spinach in everything and maybe kale and other dark greens too.

  • No, I don't use nail polish. Maybe I'm just a little deprived of calcium? I know that kale, carrots, spinach, and avocado are calcium rich, but I rarely eat kale or avocado. Do you know how much I should eat to get enough?

  • How long have you been raw? The first month raw my cuticles were a mess and my nails were always breaking off at the top. Now, only another month later, my nails have never been stronger. Could be detox.

  • putiger- i've been raw for about 5 months. I have never done a fast. Is my body detoxing?

  • Two months ago my nails were absolutely horrible! I did the Master Cleanse for 10 days and I noticed they were stronger and longer than they've ever been. I'm quite happy with this change! I'm puzzled by what happened to me, too. I'm raw now and they're very strong. Hm.

  • Thank you Chattanoog. I will try this cleanse since it seems like the most reasonable thing to do! My nails have actually gotten better though they are still pretty thin and fragile!

  • One online source says fingernails grow about 2.3 cm a year. So you'd begin to notice any dietary effect on your nails after about five to eight months, when the nail growth has reached the tip. If you've been raw for five months, then there's something lacking in your diet that has affected your nails.

    Definitely more calcium and other minerals (magnesium + zinc, and I'm sure others are also good). Personally, I always take a Vegan Calcium-Magnesium supplement (brand name is Deva, available at Amazon online and at healthfood stores) because I know I'm not getting enough dietary calcium for my age/sex. If your dietary views are OK with taking a supplement, I definitely recommend it.

    Over the past several years, when I've been traveling abroad for several months at a time and didn't bring enough calcium/mineral supplements with me for the whole trip, I would notice serious weakness in my nails after a few months of growth post-trip (a sign that the nails were growing in poorly during my trip).

    Even when I tried to get enough raw greens and even lots of dairy yogurt/kefir, without the supplements I just didn't maintain good nails (and I assume my bones were a mirror to this!).

    (Note: I was vegan or vegetarian and only partly-raw during those times, because of the difficulties of traveling abroad.)

    (You might know this, but this was big news to me: Dairy milk is quite possibly useless as dietary calcium -- the body acidifies so much in response to milk that it leaches calcium from bones to alkalize back to normal! Plus, countries with lower dairy consumption have lower rates of osteoperosis, according to Campbell's book The China Study.)

  • Karina- thank you. I will try to incorporate more calcium and zinc rich foods into my diet. I must admit I haven't been really good about this. I got a urinary tract infection a few days ago and payed all of my time and focus on that. I've been water fasting and popping cranberry pills like crazy. The symptoms got worse! So I bought some D-Mannose powder from the health food store today and am crossing my fingers hoping this will work. If not, I guess I better cave into antibiotics. Thank you so much for your suggestion. I'm not against taking supplements, but It would be nice if I didn't have to.

  • Ooh -- I forgot. Chia seeds have a fairly good amount of calcium, too! 2 tablespoons of chia seeds have about 10% of your daily calcium needs (plus lots of fiber and good fats!). I like to make raw chia puddings (they're like tapioca when they swell up!) and there's a good thread going here in the Forums about how to use chia seeds.

    Sorry to hear about the infection :(. I get those occasionally, too, and it drives me crazy. I usually go for antibiotics as soon as I'm sure it's not going away naturally (about 2-3 days of worsening symptoms will make me go to the doc) since I have experienced awful kidney infections when it started to "travel north" :( .

    When it's absolutely necessary to go to the doctor, I just take a lot of probiotics (acidophilus capsules) after taking antibiotics to re-establish good bacteria. :)

    Try uva ursi herb, if you'd like to try another non-prescription remedy. (I hate to say "natural" since many prescription antibiotics are originally derived from molds, mushrooms, plants, etc.)

    Uva ursi has been used for a long time in herbal medicine to combat infections and especially urinary tract infections. I'm afraid I don't have a good idea of dosage or good brands, but you might want to look into it.

    Cranberry as treatment for UTIs doesn't have a lot of scientific support behind it (the studies are mixed), but it is worth a try. You can also try the straight unsweetened organic cranberry juice (super-super sour!) in glass bottles from the healthfood store -- it works better for me personally than the cranberry pills, to quash small infections and for symptom relief when I'm starting antibiotic treatment. I'll dilute it with water (plus stevia) or mix it in smoothies/juices and take at least 2 cups a day.

    Sorry to write such long posts - I hope something in this helps you!

  • Chia seeds! Wow, I'll definately look into that! Thank you! My husband's been urging me to drink raw cow's milk because of my nails but I refused and he got upset. Most of my family and friends seem to think that I'm just going through a phase, or that there's something totally wrong with me. The great thing is, my husband's always had a sandwich with smoked salmon, avocado, and cheese for lunch. Today he requested cauliflower, celery, raisins, flax crackers and almond butter. He didn't even realize that he was taking a 100% raw meal with him! A friend of mine enjoyed my raw carrot cake so much that she requested raw dessert for her boyfriend's birthday party this weekend (who by the way tried talking me out of transitioning to this diet). So I'm excited that they are subconsciously converting even though they think being raw is absurd!

    Oh- and my uti has pretty much gone away after taking some d-mannose. I definately recommend it. It really worked! Thanks for your recommendations though, i'll keep note of them all! Have a rawkin day!

  • RawKarenRawKaren Raw Newbie

    Almonds! Loaded with vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, zinc and more besides.

  • Interesting - I'll definitely look into d-mannose, I've never even heard of it. Thanks!

    That's awesome that you're "leading by example" for your family & friends. I noticed that same kind of gradual adjustment and curiosity in my boyfriend and family. A change of our diet sometimes seems scary or uncertain to people around us, like we're becoming a different person and will break away from them in our "new life"...but soon they realize that "going raw" doesn't mean "aliens stole my brain and I will leave you soon to go back to the raw-food mothership". ^_^ lol.

  • achin70achin70 Raw Newbie

    You are right about cucumbers. This non-sweet fruit is rich in silica, which is a common on the planet, but not very commonly found in food. Silica is a very important mineral in strong and healthy hair, skin, nails and bones. Other foods rich in silica include bell peppers, tomatoes, radishes, romaine lettuce, nettles, burdock, alfalfa, marjoram, oats and radishes. Three of the top sources are bamboo sap/shoots (not the canned variety), hemp leaf and horsetail, but these foods are harder to come by (I have seen horsetail in supplement form, though).

    Also, sulfur-rich foods can help build strong nails. Arugula, bee pollen, durian, broccoli, cabbage, hemp seed, kale, maca, cauliflower, onion, pumpkin seeds, radishes, and spirulina are all rich in sulfur.

    David Wolfe's "Eating For Beauty" is an excellent resource on these two minerals, as well as other beautifying minerals like zinc, iron, and manganese.

    A MSM supplement can also really help. This is a naturally occuring form of sulfur that is concentrated in rainwater, but since most crops nowadays depend on irrigation instead of rainfall, it's in short supply in our diets. Even raw fooders can benefit from a supplement. MSM has an affinity with vitamin C and with water, so it's best taken in this way.

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