Symptoms of Brittle Nails & What Vitamins Are Lacking When You Have Brittle Nails?

Fingernails of any person can reveal secrets about his/her health just like our skin does. Brittleness of nails is becoming a common problem and about 1/5th of the population suffers from brittleness of nails.

Nails, whether of fingers or toes, are made up of protein which is known as keratin. Nails which are healthy can also become brittle in exceptional cases. Brittle nails are much more witnessed in fingernails than toenails. Women are more prone to getting brittle nails than men. Brittle nails can cause the nails to become weak and hence they break easily even due to light impact. Sometimes nails also peel off easily when they get brittle.

Symptoms of Brittle Nails

Symptoms of Brittle Nails

When your nails are brittle, the common symptoms which are noticed are; nails break or split easily, ridging can be seen on the nails which are longitudinal, peeling at the nail tips is also seen, nails do not grow easily. Once you are experiencing these symptoms then it means that you have brittle nails.

Causes of Brittle Nails

Brittle nails can occur due to various reasons. The major causes for nails getting brittle can be advancing age, deficiency of vitamins and other nutrients, using chemicals on nails, exposing nails for a longer time to water or other elements which can harm them. The other reasons for nails brittleness can be fungal infections, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, arthritis, a special condition of skin, which causes nail damage i.e. lichen planus. Hence, there are plenty of reasons which can make your nails brittle. Since women are more prone to thyroid diseases hence they experience brittle nails more often than men.

The most common reasons for nails brittleness are vitamin and nutrients deficiency. The most common deficiency behind nail brittleness is of Biotin, a special vitamin in the group of B-complex. Deficiency of Vitamin C and E can also be a reason behind nails getting brittle. Iron deficiency is the nutrient deficiency which can cause brittle nails.

What Vitamins Are Lacking When You Have Brittle Nails?

Health of your nails whether that is of finger or toe very much depends on the vitamins and minerals that you are including in your diet. The deficiencies or the lack of vitamins which lead to brittle nails are biotin and vitamin C and vitamin E.

Lack of Biotin Can Cause Brittle Nails

Biotin is a vitamin from the vitamin B family. Biotin is also known as Vitamin H or coenzyme R. Biotin is 7th B vitamin in the group of vitamin B complex; hence also known as vitamin B7. Biotin is a water soluble vitamin and is very essential for the health of your nails and hair. Since the chances of deficiency or lack of biotin increases as you get older the more cases of brittle nails and weaker hair are seen with the old age group. Biotin actually helps in the functioning of other B-complex, which together helps in maintaining healthy hair and nails. So if you are suffering from brittle nails then it is a sure indication of lack of biotin.

Sources of Biotin to Prevent Brittle Nails: Biotin, the most important vitamin for healthy nails and hairs is available in many food sources like eggs, sweet potatoes, almonds and other nuts, oats, tomato, salmon, cauliflower and carrots. The recommended amount of biotin intake on a daily basis is 2.5 mg and one can easily manage this much amount by including the above sources in one’s diet.

Lack of Vitamin C Can Cause Brittle Nails

Deficiency of Vitamin C can also lead to brittleness of nails. Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic Acid, is a vitamin which is not produced by your body and can only be taken with diet. The lack of Vitamin C can leads to bad health of your nails as well as your hairs. Lack of Vitamin C also prohibits the growth of your nails and hair. Collagen is an important component of your hair and your nail; and vitamin C helps in the formation of more collagen and eventually helping your hair and nails to stay healthy all the time.

There are many other benefits of vitamin C; hence you should include this essential vitamin in your diet on a regular basis.

Sources of Vitamin C to Prevent Brittle Nails: Vitamin C is available in all citrus fruits, green vegetables, berries and juices. One can also take vitamin c supplements which are easily available in the market.

Lack of Vitamin E Causing Brittle Nails

Vitamin E also helps in keeping your nails healthy and the deficiency of vitamin E can also lead to brittle nails.

Sources of Vitamin E to Prevent Brittle Nails: The sources of Vitamin E are almonds, nuts, egg, sunflower seed and oil, etc. There are capsules of Vitamin E which are available in market; one can use them to fulfil the lack of vitamin E to treat brittle nails.


Nails may get brittle with age and due to the deficiency of certain vitamins. You should focus on getting a balanced diet. Do not use harsh chemicals on your nails as they eventually damage them. Sunburns can also be a reason for brittleness of nails, so wearing gloves can be helpful. If the nail condition is getting worse, then you can also consult your dermatologist for treatment of brittle nails. Nails may get brittle with age, but certain precautions can keep them healthy forever.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 3, 2019

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