• Onychorrhexis, Onychoschisis, Onychoschizia
Brittle fingernails are a common condition, occurring in about 20 % of people; more women than men develop brittle nails.
Brittleness in the nail may be caused by trauma, such as repeated wetting and drying, repeated exposure to detergents and water, and excessive exposure to harsh solvents, such as those found in nail polish remover.
Nail brittleness may also be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as
Because of all these possibilities, it is important to rule out a serious underlying problem before trying nutritional or herbal treatments for brittle nails. If a medical cause for this condition is not found, it may be worth considering some of the approaches described below.
Principal Proposed Natural Treatments
Although no herb or supplement has been proven effective for brittle nails, there is some evidence that the B vitamin biotin might help.
Animal studies suggest that biotin supplementation can be helpful for deformed hooves in horses and pigs. 8-12
Preliminary evidence from a small
For more information, including dosage and safety issues, see the full
Other Proposed Natural Treatments
The mineral silicon
12. Zenker W, Josseck H, Geyer H. Histological and physical assessment of poor hoof horn quality in Lipizzaner horses and a therapeutic trial with biotin and a placebo. Equine Vet J . 1995;27:183-191.
17. Barel A, Calomme M, Timchenko A, et al. Effect of oral intake of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid on skin, nails and hair in women with photodamaged skin. Arch Dermatol Res . 2005 Oct 5. [Epub ahead of print]
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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