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Have dry nail with ridges and cracking at the front. How to keep nails in good condition?

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Ayurveda Specialist
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 2430 Questions
I am 83 years old, male. Male. I have dry nails with ridges on both hands. My right hand nails are cracking at the front. I had assumed that this had been caused by washing dishes every day mainly with my right hand being immersed in soapy water. Since this began I have been much better about wearing rubber gloves every time I do dishes. I keep my nails very short and rub them daily with "Bert's Bees Rescue Remedy" lotion. Is there something else I should be using? What about encouraging new nail growth through diet? Like gelatin or bone broth or similar??
Posted Fri, 6 Sep 2013 in Ayurveda
Answered by Dr. Munish Sood 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Biotin,Iron,zinc,Calcium XXXXXXX diet.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for contacting Ayurveda with your health query, and going by your history following reasons are noted:
1.     As you frequently engaged in dish washing, which was “cause and effect” reason of dry and brittle nails, moreover do let me know whether the environment at your work place is of low humidity or is it cold climate (both factors can exaggerate the existing condition)
2.     Along with your AGE (81 years) i.e. as the aging progress, blood supply to peripheries is diminished, as a result oxygen and nutrition is also reduced, thereby causing dry nails.
3.     At your Age, one also suffers from physiological Iron Deficiency, and Iron and Zinc are required for healthy nails, make sure you check with your laboratory or attending Doctor with Complete Blood Culture (CBC) to rule out any Hematological Deficiency.
4.     Recent studies reveal that dry nails with ridges are also due to Osteoporosis, so please check your Serum Calcium and Vitamin D level along with BMD (Bone Mineral Density), were you examined by a Dermatologist for any skin problem?
5.      Do let me know about the Investigations, for further line of treatment, in the mean time preventive aspect is given:
i.     When washing dishes make sure you wear gloves which can reduce the harsh effects of detergents on your fingernail.
ii.     Biotin is helpful in making nails somewhat strong and thick: apart from biotin supplement you can also take natural source of biotin like: boiled eggs, cauliflower, avocado, whole grains.
iii.     Eat a protein and calcium XXXXXXX diet which include: milk with protein powder, soyabeans, guava,fish,pulses,cheese,yogurt,fortified soya milk,broccoli,
iv.     For Iron you can opt for oat/wheat XXXXXXX cereals,beans,eggs,vegetables (iron from plant food is not absorbed as efficiently as from meat) and for Zinc: oysters, chicken,crab,kidney beans,yogurt,brown rice,spaghetti.
v.     Take Paraffin wax and mix with mustard oil (Quantity sufficient) and apply at night on the finger nails and wash in the morning.
vi.     Do revert back for further clarifications

Dr. Munish Sood
MD Kayachikitsa
Consultant & Physician
Naimittika Clinic

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have dry nail with ridges and cracking at the front. How to keep nails in good condition? 21 hours later
I already follow most of your dietary recommendations. One quart of milk most days, large quantities of XXXXXXX Brocccoli. # avocados a week in my salads, 1/2 cup of sugar-free yogurt with blueberries and or raspberries, ca. 1/4 cup of whey powder containing 50g protein, 80 mg calcium, 75 mg L-Glutamine (Whey powder supplement started only 4 months ago), have been consuming 1 serving of brown basmati rice for the past 30 years (now made with 1 cup rice, 1 cup water, 1 cup chicken broth). I eat organic whole 9-grain bread (2 slices/day) most every day, Cooked oatmeal every morning containing 1/4 oat XXXXXXX + 1/4 cup of rolled oats plus 2 to 3 oz of chopped walnuts and 1/2 sliced XXXXXXX + 2 tbs of soy lethicin, usually 3 boiled eggs/week, chicken about 3 times a week (typically thigh with bone, baked, skin and fat discarded), 3 oz Sardines (whole, with skin and bones) usually each day. Have not included tests for serum calcium or vitamin D (I take 4000 units/day of Vitamin D-3 plus sunshine exposure and whenever I get in my milk). I will ask my General Physician to include these in my next routine blood test. Everything else was normal

Local climate here is of Northwest Connecticut . . . cold and dry conditions in Winter, moderate moisture in Spring, very variable in summer ranging from very damp to moderately dry. Dry enough at various times to be a definite factor, specially in the winter months.

My dental surgeon (I have had a dental implant recently ) confirms that my jaw bones, at any rate, are quite solid and strong. No signs of osteoporosis.

What is special about Mustard Oil? I have "Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream" containing "A soothing blend of natural ingredients to nourish weak nails and soften dry cuticles" made up of almond oil, beeswax. lemon peel oil cocoa seed butter, soy bean oil, beta carotene, candelilla wax, tocopherol and canola oil. I also have a supply of ghee as well as just plain beeswax softened with a bit of mineral oil.

I had asked my dermatologist what could be done but she just passed it all off as inevitable old age! I didn't appreciate such a non-professional brush-off.
Answered by Dr. Munish Sood 15 hours later
Brief Answer:
Mustard Oil benefits

Detailed Answer:

Thanks for reverting back with your replies.
1.     As your Dental Doctor explained about the health of jaw bone, still we have to see the health of vertebrae (bone loss in the vertebrae) i.e. spine, so do include them on your next visit (as stated by you).
2.     Apart from what you are taking as iron supplements,still: dates, apricots, dry raisins should be taken in plenty, likewise for calcium and vitamin D: beetroot along with Guava is an ideal choice, walnuts contains Omega 3 fatty acids and will take care of the bone loss in vertebrae.
3.      Because climate has variation there, so will be the medicine, thus if you are comfortable with “Burts Bee Lemon Butter cuticle cream”, you can continue with it, keeping in mind that when you trim your nails, cut them in straight line and not in curved way.
4.     Mustard oil prevent growth of fungus thus helpful in fungal infections and also used as an antibacterial oil (reason for its use in pickles),likewise it will have similar action on the nails, more over in daily activities (especially in winter and before bath) one usually applies mustard oil for making body warm and producing mild irritating effect on the body and organs (nails: by rubbing against each other) you can also do that externally because in United States it is banned for XXXXXXX consumption!
5.     You can use/take turmeric in any form which has action similar to steroids but without any side effects.
6.     Take bee wax+shilajeet+ghee+jiggery+guggul+raisins+gairik(iron oxide) ,mix them and apply on finger nails.

Dr. Munish Sood
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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