Fingernails, like hair and skin, can reflect your general state of health as the body is likely to sacrifice these features to protect other organs. Common features of nail health are deficiencies in zinc, silica and B vitamins. Slow growing nails ( and hair) often indicate problems with poor circulation and may suggest the need for extra protein. Biotin (one of the B vitamins) supplementation at ca 3mg/day and silica (ca 50mg/day) have been shown to improve brittle nails. Delaminating, or flaking, nails may result from insufficient oils to lubricate them from the nail bed or from over exposure to soaps. Some pump action soaps may cause splitting nails and similarly splits at the finger tips.
Warmer weather enables faster growth of fungal infections in the toe nails or between toes. Usually it is caused by one of two fungi, Trichophyton or Epidermophyton. They prosper in warm, moist areas between the toes. Frequent fungal episodes can be a sign of an imbalance in the body’s gut microflora and/or a weakened immune system. Spores may be retained in shoes or socks so that these may need treating to prevent repeat infections. Generally fungal infections are shown as browning of the nails.