Vitamin B12 is something that needs to be included in your daily diet. But does vitamin B12 help promote nail growth?
What we eat is often seen in different parts of our body. Yes, excess body fat means that you have eaten a lot of unhealthy foods. But if there’s a deficiency in a vital vitamin or nutrient, your body will find a way to alert you to it. For example, a deficiency of vitamin B12 can easily be seen on your nails. It’s true that your nails can tell you if you need to eat more foods rich in vitamin B12. But are nails just a warning sign about a vitamin B12 deficiency? Or are there positive effects of including vitamin B12 in your diet for your nails?
Know the benefits of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin and is routinely required in our daily diet, says Varsha Gorey, senior clinical dietitian, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.
You need vitamin B12 for the following reasons:
1. Energy production
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It helps convert these macronutrients into usable energy, which is essential for the proper functioning of our bodies.
2. Formation of red blood cells
Vitamin B12 is necessary for the synthesis of red blood cells in our bone marrow, the expert tells Health Shots. Adequate levels of vitamin B12 are essential for preventing anemia, as it aids in the production of healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body.
3. Synthesis of DNA
Vitamin B12 is involved in the synthesis of DNA, the genetic material present in all of our cells. It is essential for cell growth, development and repair.
4. Heart health
Vitamin B12, along with other B vitamins, helps regulate homocysteine levels in the blood. Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, says Gorey. By helping to maintain optimal homocysteine levels, B12 supports heart health.
5. Bone health
Adequate levels of vitamin B12 have been linked to better bone mineral density, which is important for preventing osteoporosis and maintaining strong bones.
Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency in nails
Deficiency of vitamin B12 can affect your nails and signs of deficiency are –
1. Brittle nails
One of the common signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency is dry and brittle nails. A lack of B12 can cause changes in the structure of nails, making them more prone to splitting, cracking and chipping.
2. Pale or yellowish nails
Insufficient levels of B12 can lead to decreased red blood cell production, leading to anemia. Anemia can manifest in pale or yellowish discoloration of the nails due to reduced oxygen supply to the nail bed.
In some cases of severe vitamin B12 deficiency, a condition called koilonychia can occur, in which the nails become sunken or spoon-shaped.
4. Blue nails
In cases of severe vitamin B12 deficiency, nails may appear bluish due to reduced tissue oxygenation due to anemia.
Vitamin B12 for nail growth
Vitamin B12 is essential for overall nail health, as it plays an important role in cell division and growth, including those responsible for nail development. However, the level of nail health including texture, paleness and brittleness is affected by various factors, and a deficiency of B12 is just one potential factor that can affect the health and growth of nails, said the expert. Nail growth is largely determined by genetics, age, hormonal factors and overall health. In someone with inadequate levels of vitamin B12, correcting the deficiency through supplementation or dietary adjustments can improve overall nail health. But it may not necessarily lead to a significant increase in nail growth beyond what is considered normal for the person.
Tips to keep nails strong
Your nails will grow well if they are strong and don’t break easily. Here are some ways to keep your nails strong:
Drink water not only to keep your body hydrated, but also your nails. Well-hydrated nails are less prone to brittle and break, experts say.
2. Maintain a balanced diet
Make sure to have a balanced diet with essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals such as biotin, vitamin E, zinc and iron, which also contribute to healthy nails.
3. Foods rich in biotin
Biotin, a B vitamin, is essential for healthy nail growth. So, eat foods like eggs, almonds, peanuts, avocados, sweet potatoes and seeds.
4. Foods rich in protein
Nails are made up of a protein called keratin, so including protein-rich foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, lentils and dairy products in your diet can help strengthen nails and promote growth.
Eat all these along with foods rich in vitamin B12 to have strong and healthy nails.
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