why do my nails keep splitting down the middle

Nutritional deficiencies can cause a multitude of symptoms, including changes in the health and appearance of your fingernails. Although protein plays a major role in your overall state of health, a deficiency of this nutrient does not cause splitting or cracking of your nails. Cracks in your fingernails may occur due to environmental conditions or can appear in response to an inadequate consumption of certain nutrients. Eating a balanced diet provides adequate amounts of protein for most people. Women require about 46 g of protein each day, while men need about 56 g per day. Food sources of protein include beans, nuts, dairy products, eggs, meats, fish and poultry. A protein deficiency can cause symptoms that include skin lesions, apathy, edema and tender arms and legs. Although you may not notice any difference in your nails, hair changes are common. If you have a protein deficiency, your hair may look and feel brittle, straight and dry. Splitting due to nutritional deficiencies tends to affect toenails as well as fingernails. Iron deficiency is a common cause of nail problems. An iron deficiency may lead to nails that crack easily and grow slowly. Niacin and biotin supplements may help reduce nail splitting. Other vitamins that may help improve the health and appearance of your nails include copper, vitamins C, B12 and B6, as well as folic acid.


Nutritional deficiencies are uncommon, and environmental causes are the most likely culprit of nail problems in people who consume varied diets. Repeatedly wetting and drying your nails is the most common reason for developing splits and cracks. Wearing gloves and using lotion may help protect your nails and minimize cracking from environmental conditions. Let your doctor know if you experience signs of a nutritional deficiency. Blood tests can help reveal nutritional deficiencies and provide valuable information regarding your diet and your state of health. Consuming excess amounts of nutrients may cause various side effects. Talk to your doctor before taking nutritional supplements to treat a medical illness or a suspected deficiency, especially if you take medication or have a chronic health disorder. Some supplements can interact with certain medications.
caption goes here. Onychoschizia, commonly known as nail splitting but also known as onychoschisis or lamellar dystrophy, is a condition that causes horizontal splits within the nail plate. Nail splitting is often seen together with onychorrhexis в long-wise (longitudinal) splitting or ridging of the nail plate в and these 2 diseases together are called "brittle nail syndrome. " Frequent wetting and drying of the hands is the most common cause of nail splitting, so this condition is, therefore, common among house cleaners, nurses, and hairdressers.


Nail splitting may also be caused by nail cosmetics (hardeners, polish, polish removers/solvents), nail procedures, and occupational exposure to various chemicals (alkalis, acids, cement, solvents, thioglycolates, salt, sugar solutions). Injury (trauma) may also play a role in the development of brittle nails. Brittle nails may occur due to medical problems, including gland (endocrine system) diseases, tuberculosis, SjГgren syndrome, and malnutrition. People with other skin diseases, such as lichen planus and psoriasis, as well as people taking oral medications made from vitamin A, may also develop nail splitting. Who's at risk? Brittle nails affect nearly 20% of the population. Nail splitting is seen more frequently in women and older individuals. People in occupations requiring frequent wetting and drying of the hands are at increased risk for nail splitting. Nail splitting affects the fingernails and the toenails. The condition may appear as a single horizontal split between layers of the nail plate at the growing end or as multiple splits and loosening of the growing edge of the nail plate. Horizontal nail splitting may occur along with onychorrhexis, with longitudinal ridging or splitting as well.


Horizontal splits at the origin of the nail plate may be seen in people with psoriasis or lichen planus or in people who use oral medications made from vitamin A. Reduce how often you wet and dry your nails. Wear plastic or rubber gloves over thin cotton gloves while doing all housework, including food preparation. Keep the nails trimmed short to reduce worsening of nail splitting. Soak the nails in water daily, 15 minutes at a time, to increase the water content (hydration) of the nails. Apply moisturizers (emollients), such as petroleum jelly or CetaphilВ, to improve nail hydration. Nail-hardening agents containing formaldehyde may increase nail strength, but they should be used cautiously, as they can cause brittleness and other nail problems. Apply these hardeners only to the free edge (growing end) of the nail. Acrylate-containing hardeners are also effective, but they may cause an allergic reaction in the skin. Nail splitting is generally considered a cosmetic problem, but see your doctor if the condition becomes bothersome. The only oral therapy that has shown any benefit for nail splitting is biotin supplementation. Bolognia, Jean L. , ed. Dermatology, pp. 263, 264, 1071-1073. New York: Mosby, 2003. Freedberg, Irwin M. , ed. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 6 ed. pp. 1848, 2590. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.

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