Fingernails are just one of many ways to determine the overall health of the entire human body. Split, brittle, soft or breaking nails can indicate underlying health issues. They can also be caused by harsh chemicals such as dish washing detergent and cleaning chemicals. There could be a lack of minerals in the diet. If the split nail is associated with redness, swelling or tenderness, there is a bacterial or fungal infection. All of these possibilities can be addressed naturally. With time, the nails should stop splitting.
Increase silica in the diet. Eat two to four cups of fresh green beans and fresh leafy green vegetables on a daily basis. Eat cucumber with the skin and drink fresh cucumber juice.
Take horsetail, an herb with high silicon content.
Increase calcium in the diet. Dairy products, Chinese cabbage, kale and broccoli have the highest concentration of calcium in food.
Increase magnesium in the daily diet. Magnesium supports structural health. Eat two to four cups of spinach and other leafy green vegetables per day. Also eat beans, peas, raw nuts and seeds, and whole grains on a daily basis.
Take silica complex tablets. There is no recommended daily allowance for silica or silicon.
Take calcium supplements. Most alternative health experts agree that a plant-based calcium supplement is more easily absorbed by the body.
Recommended daily allowances for calcium vary with age and gender. Young adults should ingest 1,000 mg calcium daily. Adults older than 50 should increase calcium intake to 1,200 mg per day.
Vitamin D3 increases calcium absorption. The best form of Vitamin D is sunlight.
Take magnesium supplements. The recommended daily allowance for young adults is 400 mg for men and 310 mg for women. The RDA for men over 30 is 420 mg and for women is 320 mg.
Exercise regularly. Walk, run, go to a gym, and participate in sports. The cardiovascular system must be healthy enough to bring nutrients to the fingernails.
Eat spicy foods such as cayenne, hot peppers, onions and garlic.
Reduce stress. Stress can lead to a multitude of physical conditions, including nail splitting. Take yoga or Qigong classes, take long walks in nature, or take long hot baths. Change jobs, cities or even "friends" if they are toxic.
A professional manicurist can apply a gel overlay to the split nail while it grows out. It will not damage the existing fingernail and can make the fingernail less unsightly. At 2010 prices, each fingernail should cost around £9 initially. "Fills" should then cost around £3 to £3 per nail. Long nails are more prone to damage. Keep them neatly trimmed. Apply nail polish that is made to strengthen nails. Use wooden instead of metal manicure tools. Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes, so nails will not get soft. Do not use fingernails for prying open packages and bottles.
See a qualified health care professional if there is any pain, redness, tenderness, bleeding, or any other signs of infection in the nail.