Body Signs, Nutrition

The Body Signs Series #4 – Brittle Nails

Do you often find your nails weak, thin, easy to break off or peel? Do they have ridges or lines? All of these could be signs of the following nutrient needs:

👉Dietary protein provides the building blocks (amino acids) necessary for keratin synthesis – a type of protein that makes up our nails, hair and skin.

✅Other signs of insufficient protein intake include slow wound healing, fine & brittle hair, decreased muscle strength, impaired immune function, fluid retention in feet & ankles, anxiety, poor concentration, joint pain, cravings and more.

✅Low intake of protein may not be the only reason for poor protein status – insufficient stomach acid and digestive enzymes can reduce the amount of protein our bodies absorb from our diet.

👉Iron, copper, zinc, and calcium which are all needed for healthy nails. Just like with protein, in order to absorb them we need sufficient stomach acid.

✅Other signs of mineral deficiencies include pale skin, tongue and gums, cracks in corners of mouth, kinky hair, weak bones, muscle cramps, high blood pressure, acne, poor vision, geographic tongue, loss of taste, diarrhea and more.

👉Essential fatty acids, which are needed for healthy cell membranes and may reduce nail brittleness.

✅Other signs of deficiency include acne, reduced visual acuity, dandruff, parasthesia and neuropathy, impaired memory, increased thirst, eczema, dermatitis, poor mental health and more.

The above are only some of the functions & deficiency signs of these nutrients, our physiology is quite complex and many nutrients interact in multiple ways, so we should not view them in isolation.

As always, it is recommended to check your nutrient levels and speak with your healthcare provider before coming to conclusions and starting any supplementation.

Your body is talking, are you listening?

Nutrients, Nutrition


If you know me well, you probably know that I ❤️ magnesium! I love to use it for anything – from muscle soreness to headaches and anxiety… it is my miracle mineral 😁

I mean magnesium has over 300 functions in the human body, isn’t that Impressive?! Some of these include:

  • Cofactor for hundreds of enzymes 
  • Energy production
  • DNA and protein synthesis
  • Cell membrane structures
  • Bone health & structure
  • Glutathione (antioxidant) synthesis
  • Blood glucose and pressure regulation
  • Cell signalling
  • Wound healing
  • Muscle & nerve function

And yet many populations around the world do not meet the recommended daily intake according to research statistics. Luckily, magnesium is found in many whole foods, especially in:

  1. Brazil nuts
  2. Oat bran
  3. Brown rice
  4. Cashews
  5. Mackerel
  6. Spinach
  7. Almonds
  8. Swiss chard
  9. Beans

Deficiency in this mineral can produce wide-ranging signs & symptoms such as:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue & weakness
  • High blood pressure
  • Palpitations/irregular heart beat
  • Tremors, numbness & tingling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Personality/behavioural changes

Zinc supplementation and high fibre intake may impair magnesium absorption, whereas the active form of vitamin D can increase it. When magnesium is low it can also lead to low calcium levels.

Always aim to get your nutrients from whole foods first!


  1. Lord R, Bralley J. Laboratory Evaluations For Integrative And Functional Medicine. Duluth, Ga: Genova Diagnostics; 2012.
  2. Higdon J. Magnesium. Linus Pauling Institute. Published 2001; Updated 2019. Accessed February 24, 2022.
  3. DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis [published correction appears in Open Heart. 2018 Apr 5;5(1):e000668corr1]. Open Heart. 2018;5(1):e000668. Published 2018 Jan 13. doi:10.1136/openhrt-2017-000668