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My nails have become brittle and are cracking more easily.

Q. Dear Terry, “My nails have become brittle and are cracking more easily. I usually just put nail polish over them, but I know that isn’t healing my nails. Are there vitamins or other things I could take to help make my nails more healthy?” – Nikki C., Sterling Heights, MI

A. Dear Nikki, The first thing that comes to mind is that you may be lacking the mineral silica. 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 an organic silica 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 40 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.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.

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