vitamins deficiency symptoms

Brittle Fingernails or Brittle Toenails due to Vitamins and minerals deficiencies

Like skin, nails tell alot about the state of your health. Fingernail problems include abnormalities such as small depressions or pitting, white streaks or spots, crumbly or weak nails, finger nail ridges, brittle fingernails, brittle toenails, and changes in the shape, color, or texture of nails.

Aside from physical trauma, fingernail disorders typically arise as a result of health conditions such as illness, or infection, or nutritional deficiencies.
Finger nail ridges, and brittle fingernails or brittle toenails in particular, may be caused by aging, or may indicate disorders such as hypothyroidism, or a lack of important minerals and vitamins for hair and nails.

The nutrients necessary for preventing fingernail problems related to brittle fingernails or brittle toenails are tabled below, together with the foods that provide such minerals and vitamins for hair and nails.
If  brittle fingernails are also accompanied by dry skin and hair problems, it could be a sign of overall nutritional deficiency. Xtend-Life’s page on Hair, Nails and Skin details the relationship between these and overall health.

What vitamins and mineralst deficiencies can lead to brittle nails


Biotin is well-known to be one of the most important vitamins for hair and nails, as it is needed for cell division and growth. A deficiency of biotin is the main culprit in fingernail problems like brittle nails, and dry brittle hair.

Other symptoms that may indicate deficiency of Biotin :

  • thinning of hair which may lead to total hair loss
  • dry scaly scalp or face in infants (cradle crap), or in various parts of the body in adults
  • mental depression
  • insomnia
  • intestinal tract symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting
  • fatigue or extreme exhaustion due to impaired energy production
  • muscle pain or cramps related to physical exertion
  • nervo-muscular symptoms like seizures, numbness and tingling of extremities, and movements characterized by lack of muscle tone and coordination

Biotin-rich foods that can help prevent brittle fingernails / brittle toenails include:

  • organ meats such as liver
  • carrots
  • romaine lettuce
  • swiss chard
  • tomatoes.


Not only is calcium important for strong bones, but it also plays a role in strong nails and in preventing fingernail disorders. One of the symptoms of calcium deficiency is misshapened or brittle nails.

Other symptoms that may indicate deficiency of Calcium : osteoporosis characterized by brittle, porous bones and frequent bone fractures impaired bone mineralization which, in children, can cause rickets (bone softening) which may lead to bone deformities, fractures, or stunted growth osteomalacia (bone softening) in adults loss of bone mineralization in the jaw tooth decay or periodontal disease higher levels of lead in bones and teeth .

Severe deficiency can cause spasmodic contractions of skeletal muscles, symptomized by tingling fingers, toes or lips, numbness in arms or legs, and muscle pain or severe muscular cramps or spasms

Calcium-rich foods that might help prevent fingernail problems like brittle fingernails or brittle toenails include:

  • fresh dark green vegetables like collard greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, spinach, turnip greens, wing beans
  • dairy foods such as buttermilk, mozzarella cheese, raw (non-pasteurized) milk, whey, yoghurt
  • goat’s milk
  • soft bones of wild salmon, sardines, tuna, and anchovies are good sources of calcium that is easily absorbed by the body.


Lack of copper may cause brittle fingernails and brittle toenails indirectly, as it results in hypothyroidism (under-production of thyroid hormones) which can lead to dry brittle hair, hair loss, brittle nails, coarse dry pale skin, weight gain, intolerance to cold, fatigue, depression, irritability, poor memory, muscle or joint pain, constipation, decreased libido, heavy periods or menstrual irregularities.

Early symptoms of deficiency are osteoporosis, osteopenia (lower bone mineral density than normal, but not as low as for osteoporosis) and joint problems retarded growth or abnormalities in bone development in infants and young children anemia that is characterized by lack of improvement with iron therapy alone loss of skin or hair color impaired immune function that may lead to frequent infections impaired nerve function that may lead to taste insensitivity and lack of physical coordination inelastic blood vessels that rupture easily elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels irregular heart beat skin sores Menkes disease that occurs mostly in male infants, characterized by sparse greyish or colorless twisted hair, and floppy muscle tone

Copper-rich foods that can help prevent hypothyroidism, and resulting brittle fingernails or brittle toenails, include:

  • cashew nuts
  • dried beans like soybeans, adzuki beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), lentils, lima, navy beans
  • dried spirulina
  • crimini mushrooms
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • sesame seeds.


Fingernail problems such as brittle fingernails, and finger nail ridges in particular, are associated with iron-deficiency anemia resulting from insufficient red blood cells, as iron is needed for formation of hemoglobin in blood cells; iron deficiency anemia symptoms may include pale skin, cold hands and feet, whites of eyes appearing bluish, headaches, dizziness, irritability, lack of energy, extreme fatigue, rapid heartbeat, low immune function with increased susceptibility to infection, brittle nails, shortness of breath, sore or inflamed tongue or mouth, lack of appetite, blood in stools, restless legs syndrome.

Other symptoms that may indicate deficiency of Iron :

food cravings for inedible items such as ice, paint, starch, clay, or dirt increased intestinal inflammation or irritation depression or apathy insomnia or disturbed sleep decrease in ability to concentrate impaired mental skills that can affect memory and job performance learning disabilities and short attention spans in children irregular menstrual periods hair loss;  nails that are spoon-shaped or that have ridges running lengthwise

Foods high in iron that can help prevent iron-deficiency anemia, and consequent brittle toenails and fingernail disorders, include

  • animal liver
  • blackstrap molasses
  • beef
  • eggs (especially the yolk)
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, turnip greens
  • green beans such as winged beans, string beans
  • dried beans like kidney beans, lentils
  • soybeans and soy products, especially tofu
  • rice bran and wheat bran.


Deficiency of iodine may also result in brittle fingernails or brittle toenails indirectly, as it causes hypothyroidism (under-production of thyroid hormones).

Deficiency of Iodine can lead to symptoms such as dry brittle hair, hair loss, brittle nails, coarse dry pale skin, intolerance to cold, fatigue or weakness, poor memory, depression, irritability, weight gain, muscle or joint pain, constipation, decreased libido, infertility, menstrual irregularities or heavy periods, and in more severe cases, hoarseness, decreased sense of taste and smell, mental impairment, skin thickening, and puffy face, hands or feet.

Eeven mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy can hamper growth of the child’s brain and lead to low intelligence congenital hypothyroidism is the most common cause of mental retardation in children

Foods rich in iodine that can help prevent hypothyroidism, and resulting brittle fingernails / brittle toenails, include:

  • salt-water fish
  • seafood and shellfish
  • seaweed like dulse, bladderwrack, kelp, nori
  • iodized table salt.


Manganese is important for activating enzymes that enable the body to utilize key vitamins for hair and nails, like vitamin C and biotin.

Deficiency of this nutrient can therefore contribute to fingernail problems like brittle fingernails or brittle toenails, excessive bone loss and weak hair and nails.

Other symptoms that may indicate deficiency of Manganese

  • hearing loss
  • iron-deficiency anemia
  • high blood sugar levels (impaired glucose tolerance) blood cholesterol levels that are too low impaired bone growth or skeletal abnormalities

Severe deficiency in infants can cause convulsions, and even paralysis, blindness and deafness.

Manganese rich foods that may help prevent fingernail disorders related to brittle fingernails include

  • dark green leafy vegetables (broccoli, chard, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach)
  • avocados
  • pineapple
  • raspberries
  • nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts).


Research indicates that selenium deficiency worsens the effect of iodine deficiency on thyroid function, leading to hypothyroidism with symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, irritability, depression, poor memory, weight gain, constipation, intolerance to cold, heavier or lighter menstruation than normal, coarse dry pale skin, dry brittle hair, hair loss, and brittle nails, and that selenium supplements may help protect against goiter.

Other symptoms that may indicate deficiency of Selenium :

  • weaker immune system leading to susceptibility to stress and illnesses
  • greater incidence of cancer, especially gynaecological, gastrointestinal, esophageal, lung, and prostate cancer
  • rheumatoid arthritis patients tend to have low blood levels of selenium
  • elevated blood pressure
  • risk of arteriosclerosis / atherosclerosis (hardening and/or narrowing of the arteries), leading to heart or coronary artery disease
  • loose skin
  • hair or skin discoloration
  • whitened fingernail beds
  • Keshan disease (heart disorder characterized by inflamed heart muscles)
  • Kashin-Beck disease (disabling disease of bones and joints, characterized by stunted growth, bone deterioration, and deformity of joints)

Severe deficiency along with malnutrition can cause muscle breakdown characterized by pain or weakness in the muscles

Selenium-rich foods that alleviate iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism, and consequent fingernail problems and brittle toenails, include

  • Brazil nuts (one of the most concentrated selenium food sources)
  • mushrooms (button, shiitake, reishi)
  • fish (cod, flounder, halibut, herring, mackerel, salmon, smelts, red snapper, swordfish, tuna)
  • seafood (lobster, oyster, scallops, shellfish, shrimp).

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Minerals in Type 2 Diabetes Diets

Type 2 Diabetes Diets & Nutrition

Diabetes mellitus, usually just called diabetes, is a disorder in which the body is unable to regulate the amount of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. There are 2 types of diabetes.  Type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes, is due to insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas.  Without insulin, the body cannot use glucose, which causes low glucose absorption by the tissues, and results in high blood sugar levels.  It occurs mostly in young adults or children.

What are Symptoms of Diabetes Type 1

Childhood diabetes symptoms include abnormal thirst, frequent urination, unusual hunger, irritability, weakness, fatigue, and nausea or vomiting.  If left untreated, more severe childhood diabetes symptoms include double vision, disorientation, trembling, and eventually, coma.

Type 2 Diabetes (Diets-related Diabetes)

Type 2 diabetes is usually seen only later in life, and is called adult-onset diabetes.  It can be due to insufficient production of insulin, but is usually because the body cannot utilize insulin effectively, referred to as glucose intolerance or insulin resistance.

What are Symptoms of Diabetes Type 2

Insulin resistance symptoms of type 2 diabetes include slow healing, skin infections, itching, tingling or numbness in the feet, drowsiness, fatigue, unusual thirst, obesity, and blurred vision.

Obesity is a major contributing factor in type 2 diabetes.  Diets are often used to control it, and insulin is not usually required.

What nutrient deficiencies can lead to diabetes

Coenzyme Q10 is vital for making energy needed for cells to grow normally and to stay healthy, and for the basic functioning of every cell. It is also an important antioxidant. Deficiency of coenzyme Q10 is known to lead to
high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance symptoms.

Foods rich in coenzyme Q10 that may help an anti-high blood sugar diet include:

  • migratory fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines
  • germ part of whole grains, eg.
  • wheat germ.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is needed to stimulate production of insulin. Lack of vitamin D can result in increased risk of diabetes due to insufficient insulin produced.

Foods high in vitamin D that may contribute to an anti-high blood sugar diet include

  • fish liver oils
  • mackerel
  • salmon, especially sockeye salmon
  • sardine
  • shrimp.


Chromium is especially critical for maintaining blood sugar balance, due to its role in formation of GTF (Glucose Tolerance Factor). GTF enables insulin to push glucose from blood into cells, where it is used for energy.
Chromium deficiency therefore leads to insulin resistance or glucose intolerance where cells in the body become resistant to the effects of insulin (in pushing glucose from the blood across cell membranes into cells), which affects the ability of insulin to regulate blood sugar and means higher amounts of insulin are needed.

Chromium-rich foods that are helpful to an anti-high blood sugar diet include:

  • brewer’s yeast
  • molasses
  • onions (raw)
  • ripe tomatoes
  • romaine lettuce.


Since the 1990s, evidence has shown that magnesium supplementation can improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics and help regulate blood sugar levels, and that deficiency of magnesium causes insulin resistance linked to blood sugar imbalances and type 2 diabetes.

Magnesium deficiency causes overactivation of nerve and muscle impulses, leading to tremors or hyperexcitability or irritability and nervousness ; muscle weakness, twitching or spasm, cramp, fatigue; mental confusion, disorientation, or apathy; affects calcium metabolism, leading to low blood levels of calcium, and softening and weakening of bones ; low blood levels of potassium ; increased risk of stroke . Severe deficiency can lead to muscle contractions, tingling or numbness. Severe magnesium deficiency can cause seizures, delirium and hallucinations. Some studies showed that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tend to have magnesium deficiency; magnesium given in addition to ADHD medication appeared to decrease hyperactivityFoods high in magnesium include

  • rice bran, wheat bran
  • peas and beans (legumes) such as black beans, black-eyed peas, green beans, green peas, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, french beans
  • whole grains (such as brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, wheat)
  • whole grain products (like whole-grain cereals, buckwheat flour, rye flour)
  • nuts (like almonds, cashews, peanuts)
  • seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, mustard seeds
  • most dietary magnesium comes from vegetables, especially dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, broccoli, collard greens.


Due to the importance of manganese in enzyme activation, a deficiency is known to adversely affect many bio-chemical processes in the body and lead to high blood sugar levels (impaired glucose tolerance).

Manganese deficiency can leads:

  • hearing loss
  • iron-deficiency anemia, due to manganese’s role in iron utilization
  • blood cholesterol levels that are too low
  • impaired bone growth or skeletal abnormalities, especially in children
  • loss of hair colour Mn.11 Deficiency symptoms for Manganese-diabetes-glucose-intolerance defective functioning of the reproductive system
  • severe deficiency in infants can cause convulsions, and even paralysis, blindness and deafness
  • excessive bone loss and weak hair and nails

Foods high in manganese that can be useful in an anti-high blood sugar diet include:

  • dark green leafy vegetables (broccoli, chard, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach)
  • avocados
  • pineapple
  • raspberries
  • nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts).


Zinc regulates insulin activity and blood sugar balance. Lack of zinc can lead to lowered glucose tolerance with increased risk of diabetes.

Other symptoms that may indicate deficiency of Zinc :

  • impaired sense of smell and taste
  • impaired immune function
  • susceptibility to pneumonia and other infections in malnourished children and the elderly
  • skin ulcers
  • slow wound healing
  • retarded growth in infants and children
  • delayed sexual maturation
  • hypogonadism in males (where the body does not produce enough testosterone hormone)
  • impotence
  • reduced thyroid hormone output
  • decreased metabolic rate
  • mental lethargy
  • depression
  • lack of appetite
  • unexplained weight loss
  • diarrhea
  • hair loss
  • skin rashes or skin lesions
  • eye lesions
  • night blindness (difficulty with seeing in the dark)

Zinc-rich foods include

  • liver
  • meat (beef, chicken, lamb, pork, venison)
  • mushrooms
  • raw oysters.

Optimum Diabetics

Optimum Diabetics Health supplement provides essential nutrients that may be lacking due to the strain diabetes can often put on the body’s health. Each serving provides a complete, full potency formulation of vitamins, minerals and Alpha Lipoic Acid. If you are not always eating a balanced diet, Optimum Diabetics Health Supplement provides the nutrients that you may be missing.

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Selenium food sources and supplements


Image via Wikipedia

Selenium occurs in staple foods such as corn, wheat, and soybean as selenomethionine, the organic selenium analogue of the amino acid methionine.

Selenomethionine can be incorporated into body proteins in place of methionine, and serves as a vehicle for selenium storage in organs and tissues. Selenium supplements may also contain sodium selenite and sodium selenate, two inorganic forms of selenium. Selenomethionine is generally considered to be the best absorbed and utilized form of selenium.

Selenium is also available in ‘high selenium yeasts’, which may contain as much as 1,000 to 2,000 micrograms of selenium per gram. Most of the selenium in these yeasts is in the form of selenomethionine. This form of selenium was used in the large scale cancer prevention trial in 1983, which demonstrated that taking a daily supplement containing 200 micrograms of selenium per day could lower the risk of developing prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer.

However, some yeast may contain inorganic forms of selenium, which are not utilized as well as selenomethionine.

A study conducted in 1995 suggested that the organic forms of selenium increased blood selenium concentration to a greater extent than inorganic forms. However, it did not significantly improve the activity of the selenium-dependent enzyme, glutathione peroxidase.

Researchers are continuing to examine the effects of different chemical forms of selenium, but the organic form currently appears to be the best choice.


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