Q. Dear Terry, “What do you suggest for improving nail growth? My nails have been cracking more lately and don’t seem to grow as well as they used to.”– Britt V., Grand Island, NE
A. Dear Britt, Delayed nail growth can be caused by stress, illness, aging, and nutrient deficiencies. Nails require certain minerals, vitamins, and sufficient dietary protein to grow optimally.
For issues that primarily affect the nails and hair, silica is one of the most important minerals we need. Silica is found throughout the body; however, the highest concentrations occur in connective tissues such as nails, skin, hair, and teeth, which are especially dependent on silica for strength and resilience. It’s also a major building block of collagen, which helps keep skin supple and blood vessels strong. As the body ages, it tends to undergo a steady loss of minerals. Some of these minerals are well known, like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Silica is lost at an even greater rate than these other essential minerals.
I prefer silica that is obtained from the above-ground parts of the spring horsetail (Equisetum arvense) plant. Silica tends to be poorly absorbed, so look for a product that is clinically studied, extremely soluble, and virtually 100 percent bioavailable. I recommend taking a form that provides 20 mg of silica. I would take silica twice daily.
Nails grow at a rate of about one eighth of an inch per month, so please be patient as it can take several months to notice a difference.
I also think you could benefit from a multivitamin and mineral formula. Believe it or not, mineral deficiencies are more common than vitamin deficiencies. You may want to look for a multivitamin that features chelated trace minerals. I prefer a multivitamin and mineral formula taken several times per day and includes vitamins and minerals in their most absorbable and active forms.
Terry . . . Naturally