The only dietary supplement expressly identified as able to improve the condition of nails is vitamin B8, or biotin.
A study showed that a daily 2.5mg dose of vitamin B8, taken for a period of six months, strengthened thin nails and stopped them breaking (1). These results were, however, only seen in brittle nails: biotin has no effect on healthy nails. It seems that vitamin B8’s role in metabolising amino acids may help promote the production of keratin, the structural protein which gives nails their strength.
Supplementing with collagen may also improve the condition of brittle nails: in one study lasting almost six months, participants were given 2.5g of collagen peptides a day (2). Researchers observed a 12% increase in nail growth and a 42% decrease in nail splitting. It must be said, however, that there was a flaw in the methodology of this study and these promising results therefore need to be greeted with caution.
In addition, silica (in the form of orthosilicic acid which is very well-absorbed by the body) may reduce nail brittleness (3). It too plays a role in keratin production.
It’s worth noting that a good intake of vitamins and minerals is essential for healthy nails. Biotin supplementation can make a significant difference to the condition of thin and brittle nails. The supplement Hair & Nails Formula, specially developed to support hair and nail health, contains biotin, silica (extracted naturally from bamboo) and patented soluble keratin: it therefore constitutes an excellent, natural, and scientifically-sound solution to the problem of brittle nails.
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