What Brittle Nails Say About Your Health And How To Fix It

Posted by Sughra Hafeez in Health and Fitness On 15th July 2018

Did you know your nails can reveal clues to your overall health? Here are some signs that the state your nails could be signaling health problems


What Are Brittle Nails?

It’s not difficult to identify brittle nails: they split, peel, and break easily. Any breakage or ridges at the tip of your nails will feel sharp, and you will notice it easily. Women tend to struggle with brittle nails more than men.


What Causes Brittle Nails

Brittle fingernails can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'life-threatening'.


Fungal infection

Fungal nail infections are caused by various fungal organisms (fungi). Fungal infection of the nails sometimes makes the condition sound contagious or related to poor hygiene. As the nail ages, it can become brittle and dry. The resulting cracks in the nails allow fungi to enter. Other factors — such as reduced blood circulation to the feet and a weakened immune system — also may play a role.


Lack Of Moisture

Brittle nails usually result from dehydration. Too little moisture in the nails means that we may not be hydrating ourselves optimally which can lead to weak nails.


B-Group Vitamins

The chance of developing a vitamin B deficiency increases as you age, and it can lead to dry, brittle nails. Biotin helps the rest of the B-complex of vitamins work together to maintain strong, shiny fingernails.


Thyroid disease

Brittle, dry nails that crack and split may easily be one sign of thyroid problems. Low thyroid hormone production, or hypothyroidism, causes a range of symptoms —fatigue, constipation, dry skin and brittle nails, aches, and pains, and feeling down that you might easily attribute to other health problems.



Concave or depressed nails (think: the shape inside of a spoon) can be caused by low iron levels or anemia. Anemia could be caused by heavy menstruation, pregnancy, a diet low in iron and vitamin B12, or chronic kidney disease. Split nails and weak nails are particularly common among women who have low iron levels. Iron is an essential nutrient for healthy nails and preventing concave-shaped weak nails.


If the nails are mostly white with darker rims, this can indicate liver problems, such as hepatitis.



Nails with a bluish tint can mean the body isn't getting enough oxygen. This could indicate a lung problem, such as emphysema. Some heart problems can be associated with bluish nails.

Tips for Healthy Nails

In addition to diet and supplementation, certain lifestyle habits may help promote healthy nails when practiced regularly. It may help to apply a clear, protective layer of nail hardener to the nails to prevent splitting and cracking.

Reduce water exposure

Stay hydrated

Use a natural hand cream

Try a DIY cuticle cream

Avoid harsh nail polish remover

Biotin (B7) may help treat weak brittle nails

Vitamin E can also be an effective way to help the condition of your nail