While nails hold many functional purposes, such as helping us pick up items and protecting us from injury, they’re also an important component of a beauty routine. Long and strong nails can give the illusion of longer fingers, a desire for many.

However, nails must be healthy to grow long, which starts from within. Below, explore some biohacking techniques to help you optimize your diet and lifestyle choices and support long, healthy nails. In addition to proper nail care techniques, incorporating natural supplements into your routine can also help support your journey to growing healthy and strong nails.

Healthy Nails Start with Nail Care

Nail care is often forgotten as an important part of a beauty routine. Just as you take measures to protect your hair and skin, nail care is important in your efforts to grow durable and strong nails. First and foremost, keep nails clean and dry whenever possible. This means washing your hands regularly and using a nail clipper to keep the underneath side of the nail free of dirt and build-up.

Prolonged water exposure can also cause nails to weaken and become more brittle. When possible, wear gloves during household tasks such as washing the dishes or gardening. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology recommends using cotton-lined rubber gloves to help protect the nails during indoor and outdoor tasks.

As you embark on a journey to longer, healthier nails, remember that many chemicals found in nail products can damage the surface of the nail. This includes nail polish remover (acetone), chemicals found in nail polishes, acrylic nails, gel nails, dip powder chemicals, and more. Abstaining from these or limiting the use of these products, alongside supplementation, is the best way to create an environment where long and strong nails can grow.

Supplementation with Long, Healthy Nails

Biotin, a B-complex vitamin, is one of the most popular supplements in the beauty industry. Research suggests that consuming biotin supplements can help support the synthesis of keratin, a fundamental building block of nails. As an added bonus, biotin may also offer other benefits for the skin and hair too.

Collagen Supplements

Collagen is an important protein for overall skin, hair, and nail health – and another popular supplement discussed in the beauty industry. Collagen supplements have been shown to support increased nail strength and hardness as well as promote increased nail growth. While collagen contains several amino acids, a few specific amino acids, known as Arginine and Proline, found in collagen can help add nutrients and bring oxygen to tissues in nail beds and nail roots.

Vitamin E Supplements

Taking Vitamin E supplements can also help support the health of your nails. In a review of bioactive compounds for skin and nail health, research suggests that Vitamin E supplements helped to fortify nail strength and hardness, as well as shield nails from environmental damage.

Silica Supplements

Silica is a mineral that is found in nature, often found in rocks, clays, and sands. While silica has many benefits and uses, consuming silica supplements may help strengthen the connective tissues that support nail growth and help reduce the risk of nail breakage. By enhancing nail strength and hardness, silica supplements can support your efforts to grow long, healthy, and strong nails.

Supplementing with Iron

Iron is an essential mineral for a variety of functions, including supporting healthy nails. If you find yourself struggling to grow and maintain healthy nails, it’s important to ensure your body’s levels of iron are optimal. Iron deficiency is quite common, and can easily be identified with a simple test. For those who are prone to iron deficiency, supplementing with iron can help support oxygen transportation to nails, thereby improving the health of nails.

Be Patient with Nail Biohacking

Paying close attention to your nail care routine and taking new supplements to encourage strong nails are great steps to biohack your way to healthier nails. However, remember that even the healthiest of nails only grow at a rate of 0.1mm a day. It’s important to be patient, as a new regimen of supplements can take time to work and strengthen new nail growth.

In the meantime, discover more ways to biohack your skin’s beauty routine and biohacking tips for healthy hair.

  1. Brittle splitting nails – American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD). (n.d.). https://www.aocd.org/page/BrittleSplittingNail
  2. Tips for healthy nails. (n.d.). https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/nail-care-secrets/basics/healthy-nail-tips
  3. Hexsel, D., Zague, V., Schunck, M., Siega, C., Camozzato, F., & Oesser, S. (2017). Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology16(4), 520–526. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.12393