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Brittle Nails

Brittle fingernails

Many women find that their nails become thinner, brittle, and more prone to breaking, splitting, or tearing during menopause. Decreasing estrogen levels can affect the nails and dehydrate them. Estrogen has a role in regulating water levels in the body and when less of it is produced during menopause, dehydration becomes more of a problem. Nails need water to keep them healthy, just like the rest of the body. 

Natural treatments are a popular alternative to hormone therapy and can help to strengthen nails. 

Collagen

Collagen

As one of the main “building blocks” in the body, collagen is involved in healthy nails, skin and hair. Production of collagen declines as we get older. Changing estrogen levels during menopause can also affect collagen levels. More specifically, lower estrogen levels decrease the production of collagen. 

Many women take supplements that contain collagen to address this change and improve the condition of brittle nails. Studies have suggested that supplementing with collagen can improve brittle nails and help support nail growth [1]*.

Silicon

Various forms of silicon

Silicon supports collagen production and is an important mineral as you get older, particularly for healthy skin, nails, and hair. 

You can get some silicon from your diet by eating grains, vegetables, and seafood. However, modern production of foods can strip a lot of the natural silicon content from foods and this is why many women decide to supplement as they near menopause. 

Some supplements for brittle nails contain a bioavailable form of silicon, known as choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid (Ch OSA). In studies, this has been linked to stronger nails that are less brittle and prone to breakage [2]. 

Biotin

Vitamin B7 (biotin) chemical structure

In studies, biotin has been shown to increase nail thickness and reduce breakage and splitting [2, 3, 4]. In one particular study, taking 2.5 mg of biotin daily improved symptoms for 63% of participants[5]. 

Selenium

Foods with selenium

Selenium can improve nail strength but most supplements for brittle nails will not contain large amounts of it. This is because too much selenium can have the opposite effect and weaken nails. 

Calcium and Magnesium 

Calcium levels drop during menopause and research suggests that many postmenopausal women become deficient in calcium [6]. 

Foods with magnesium

Magnesium supports calcium absorption and is also involved in protein synthesis for healthy nail growth [7]. Magnesium levels tend to deplete during menopause. You can get magnesium from whole grains, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and seeds but you may decide to supplement if your diet does not include many of these foods. 

Taking too much magnesium can make you more likely to experience side effects. These can range from fairly mild side effects, such as diarrhea and stomach upset to more serious problems such as low blood pressure, slow heart rate or cardiac arrest. Women who are taking high blood pressure or heart medications should talk with a medical professional before starting any new supplements. 

Disclaimers:

You should always consult your health care provider before starting any herbal supplements or products.   *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Resources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28786550 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17763607 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2273113 
  4. http://icahealth.com/content/Hochman_Biotin.pdf 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8477615 
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21702289 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4455825/
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