Does having bent or brittle nails mean I have a nutritional deficiency?
Issues with the health of your nails can be from nutritional deficiency, nutritional toxicity or other causes (such as liver disease and chronic kidney disease).
Long standing iron deficiency can result in spoon-shaped nails (koilonychia). Recommended dietary intake (RDI) is 8-18ug/day.
Vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with changes in nail pigments. RDI is 2.4ug/day.
Protein deficiency or protein energy malnutrition can result with transverse ridges on nails. RDI is 0.75-0.84g/kg body weight. Recent studies have recommended higher intakes of 1.0-1.2g/kg body weight for elderly (65yo+).
Selenium deficiency can result in white fingernail beds. RDI is 60-70ug/day.
Vitamin A toxicity can result in nail brittleness such as above 20,000ug/day. RDI is 700-900ug/day.
Selenium toxicity can result in nail brittleness, nail discolouration and nail loss such as above 850ug/day.
If you are experiencing these symptoms see a healthcare professional and conduct tests such as blood tests to determine whether you are deficient. Supplement only if necessary as excess vitamins/minerals can be toxic! It’s best to obtain nutrients from a balanced diet. See a dietitian to ensure you are eating healthily every day!