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Another Medical Question

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
What does it mean when your fingernails get so weak and brittle that they chip and peel away at the tips? Mine are separating like geologic layers!

I never had a problem with this until a few months ago... which would make me suspect that it might have to do with the weight loss, except that I'm actually getting better overall nutrition now than I did before (a lot more protein, certainly).

Anybody else have this problem? What could be causing it?
post #2 of 26
I have the same problem and keep meaning to look it up.

My finger nails are like razors! They are thin but they keep peeling. And a couple have a line down the centre from the base of the nail up to the tip.

I think it's a vitamin deficiency, likely Vitamin B12.
post #3 of 26
You have had an extreme change of diet? Significant weight loss?
A change in diet, even if healthier, as well as weight loss can definitely cause this. There are supplements you can take to improve the strength of both. Of course it takes time and the best thing to do is to avoid picking, biting, and file any rough edges, condition with moisturizers at night.
post #4 of 26
I just found this online. It could be over exposure to water too.

Scroll down to "Brittle Nails". There is a picture of a peeling nail and what is the likely cause and a solution.

But it's also a symptom of vitamin deficiency.

http://hooked-on-nails.com/naildisorders.html
post #5 of 26
Or other more mundane reasons - washing dishes bare handed, digging in soil, crafting, etc.

Mine are currently tearing and splitting a lot. The cause... peeling stickers off of stuff.
post #6 of 26
I have always had brittle nails as well. Always kept as a more natural manicure, nail tips but short. Wearing gloves is essential with such activities as dishes, gardening, any construction or repair work. If you protect them till they lengthen a bit, they will get stronger. The trick after that is to keep them at a short manicure to avoid splitting, cracking, nail trauma.
post #7 of 26
My nails have been thin as paper, and brittle as glass, my whole life. I've tried all of the tricks...protein, gelatin, vitamins...you name it. I think it's just the way I am. Doing numerous surgical scrubs every day for the last 26 years probably hasn't helped my weak nails. My mother's nails peel in layers, like you're describing...however, for her, it's something that has come with aging. My father has nails that he can use to turn a screw (instead of a screwdriver.....naturally, I didn't inherit that trait, lol!)

I'd suggest getting a professional manicure, and watch the way they file your nails. From what I've gathered, the filing helps with the peeling. Using a good polish/sealer on them is supposed to help, but only seems to make mine more brittle (if that's even possible!)
post #8 of 26
That nail site is seriously scary Don't read it while eating breakfast (like I did )

I would guess the problem is a combo of dryness (water exposure?) and the change in your diet. I have always had this problem (another characteristic I didn't inherit from my mother is her nails of steel )
post #9 of 26
My mom has nails of steel also. I don't wear gloves when I do most of my gardening and they tend to split alot.

However it seems that when I wear gloves to do the dishes and moisturize my hands more paying attention to the nails and cuticles the appearance and strength improves quite a bit.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Wow! You guys are so smart -- thank you for your input. I'm afraid age and water may have a lot to do with this, but according to that website, it looks like Vitamin E and Jojoba oil might help. I sure hope so -- I use the nails on my right hand as picks when I play guitar, and I haven't been able to play lately because they're flaking away like this. I've tried playing with fingerpicks, but I don't like the way it sounds... so I sure hope this works! Thank you!
post #11 of 26
My nails are weak to begin with too. I made the mistake of allowing a manicurist to buff them. (I usually do my own nails, but had a gift certificate.) Please don't make that mistake! She buffed off the a layer of the ridges in my nails, causing the peeling to get worse!
post #12 of 26
When acute (compared to others who are describing "always" having weak nails) this is pretty much always a sign of some type of malnutrition. Iron, Zinc, and vitamin C are the most likely culprits. I would visit your doctor, and have him screen for nutrient deficiencies. Serious illnesses can also manifest in this way, respiratory conditions (emphysema etc), diabetes, and renal disease can show nail symptoms before any major effects/organ failures, so better safe than sorry (again, I am referring to your situation being "acute", as in you always had good nails until "x") Simple bloodtests can screen for nutrient deficiencies, and then you can easily correct the problem (eg by eating more citrus, legumes, beans depending on the nutrient fault). Diets high in calcium and protein arent enough to create beautiful healthy nails.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
What does it mean when your fingernails get so weak and brittle that they chip and peel away at the tips? Mine are separating like geologic layers!

I never had a problem with this until a few months ago... which would make me suspect that it might have to do with the weight loss, except that I'm actually getting better overall nutrition now than I did before (a lot more protein, certainly).

Anybody else have this problem? What could be causing it?
ummm.... Carol? are you drinking your protein & taking your supplements?
while i realize you don't have the malabsorption issues i do, you're still severely restricted in intake.
post #14 of 26
I had taht happen from Anemia. I take High dose Iron now and they are fine.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat View Post
I made the mistake of allowing a manicurist to buff them.
I did once too, many years ago -- and you're so right! Those little ridges are there for a reason!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Februa View Post
...Serious illnesses can also manifest in this way, respiratory conditions (emphysema etc), diabetes, and renal disease...
Yup, I do have diabetes. I had some bloodwork done just a few weeks ago, but I don't know how extensive it was -- probably ought to find out! (They told me I was fine except for cholesterol issues and glucose.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
ummm.... Carol? are you drinking your protein & taking your supplements?
while i realize you don't have the malabsorption issues i do, you're still severely restricted in intake.
Wellll... not drinking my protein, no. Can't abide the shakes. But I'm eating my Clif Mojo bars, one or two a day, and those are about 10 grams of protein each. I'm not getting up to my target of 65 per day, but I'm getting a lot more protein than I did before! And I do take my vitamins, yes ma'am.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mews2much View Post
I had taht happen from Anemia. I take High dose Iron now and they are fine.
Glad you found a solution! I've had a little anemia in the past... maybe I'll doublecheck what that result was.

Thanks, everybody!
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Wellll... not drinking my protein, no. Can't abide the shakes. But I'm eating my Clif Mojo bars, one or two a day, and those are about 10 grams of protein each. I'm not getting up to my target of 65 per day, but I'm getting a lot more protein than I did before! And I do take my vitamins, yes ma'am.
2 suggestions, shake-wise - try ordering samples from here [$2 each] get several different kinds, 'cause they all taste different. vitalady
2nd - i would be glad to bring you samples of the ones i have on hand [these are the ones i like!] to the DFW meetup. this is what i have in stock syntrax nectar's strawberry-kiwi, natural peach & roadside lemonade; champion whey stack's chocolate, banana & cookies & cream; some kind of apple [like jolly rancher apple candy type taste] & what i think is Elite's vanilla [not bad, considering it's vanilla!].
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
You're so sweet to offer! I do remember you suggested Vitalady... let me go see what their ingredients are. One of my problems is that it's so hard to find protein supplements that don't contain animal products.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
You're so sweet to offer! I do remember you suggested Vitalady... let me go see what their ingredients are. One of my problems is that it's so hard to find protein supplements that don't contain animal products.
i have a similar problem finding ones w/o iodine!
are milk by-products ok? that's what whey is...
post #19 of 26
Have you had your Thyroid checked recently? Is your skin also dry?

Also you may need more calcium and healthy essential fatty acids. Biotin helps with nails too.
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
Laureen, sure, milk products are fine! But glycerine and gelatin and such... can't do it.

CC, you're right about calcium, I'll bet -- I used to take it, but ran out and forgot all about it! You may have hit on the problem!
post #21 of 26
I've had the same problem for the last couple of weeks! I didn't take my calcium along on while we were on holiday and I think the nail peeling is the result. I'm back on the calcium!
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Laureen, sure, milk products are fine! But glycerine and gelatin and such... can't do it.

CC, you're right about calcium, I'll bet -- I used to take it, but ran out and forgot all about it! You may have hit on the problem!
then i think the ones i posted will be ok... here're the ingredients for Champion [cookies & cream flavor]: Micro-Filtered And Ion-Exchange Whey Protein Concentrate And Isolate, Whey Peptides, Natural And Artificial Flavoring, Cocoa Powder, Salt, Xanthan Food Gum, Sucralose, Carrageenan, Acesulfame Potassium


Allergy Warning: Contains Milk Derived Products. Produced In A Facility That Also Processes Soy, Peanut, And Shellfish Derivatives.

& for the Syntrax Nectars [strawberry-kiwi flavor]:
Whey Protein Isolate*, Citric Acid, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Acesulfame-K, FD&C Red #40, Sucralose.

since i don't remember what the apple or vanilla ones are [brand] i won't bring any of those.
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Laureen, bless your heart, that's so sweet of you! I must admit, the strawberry sounds good -- I'd love to try it! Maybe this will be the answer for me.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Laureen, bless your heart, that's so sweet of you! I must admit, the strawberry sounds good -- I'd love to try it! Maybe this will be the answer for me.
i'll bring a serving of each flavor of Champion that i have, as well as one of each flavor of Nectar.
Champion i have chocolate, cookies & cream, & banana. Nectar i have the strawberry-kiwi, peach & roadside lemonade.
post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
Oh gosh, no -- just one to try is enough! You're too nice! I'll PM you...
post #26 of 26
My doc gave me iron pills, and now my nails are hard as rocks, and growing faster than I can manage them. Until then, they were fairly brittle, and peeled in layers.
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