Anyone else have problems with their nails bec... - Bone Health

Bone Health

4,473 members1,860 posts

Anyone else have problems with their nails because of osteoporosis?

53 Replies

I read on one osteoporosis site that one of the first indications of osteoporosis, in some people, is dry, brittle nails. I have Sjogren's Syndrome and understood that that can be a cause of having very dry, brittle nails and put it down to that. It makes sense to me if I have bone loss\brittle bones I will have nails and teeth that aren't strong either. I have used so many different type of nail treatment but my nails keep tearing very low down my nail bed and makes my nails very sore. Does anyone else have a nail problem and have found a treatment?

53 Replies
Met00 profile image

Maybe it can be a sign for some, but my nails and teeth gave me no indication that there might be an issue with my bones, despite having a very poor spinal t-score.

in reply to Met00

Hi Met00, Probably down to my having Sjogren's Syndrome, which I thought initially was the reason I had very thin nails and teeth, then I thought it was because I had osteoporosis - oh well back to drawing board truffled!

Met00 profile image
Met00 in reply to

Actually, I think problems with nails can be due to one or more nutrients lacking in the diet (or not being absorbed), in which case the same deficiency could also impact on bone health.

in reply to Met00

Yes that is very true. The physio said, that I hadn't been absorbing minerals because of my having IBS and that had caused my bone density condition. So even if your diet is very healthy and you do (and have previously done) a lot of exercise (but not exercised excessively), like me, you can still get osteoporosis. I don't know if it would help if women were able to get their Vit D and calcium levels checked on a regular basis, whether that would be a good indication if they had good bone health.

Mbaloo profile image
Mbaloo in reply to

My doctor tells me that my calcium level is good but the real question in my mind is if there is any test where they can find out if the calcium is coming from your bones or if your bones have absorbed and kept the calcium and then the body just regulate your calcium levels. When it steals from the bones then you are left with O.

Rosepetal60 profile image

Yes, I have flaky, dry ridged , brittle nails. For as long as I can remember. I’ve recently started using Rimmel nail care.( came highly recommended) Best product so far after years of trying Other well known products with no improvement. The R one has given me a subtle improvement in strength. So I put a first coat of this stronger nail care on and then a top coat of a clear R product which I think it’s called a base and top coat. But don’t use it as a base if using the R stronger nail which looks pinkish in the bottle. Hope all makes sense . After 4 days. Remove coatings and reapply. After a couple of weeks you should notice a slight improvement. Maybe more if your nails are better than mine. I hope it works for you. I also have Arthritis so I feel that is a factor too as well as Osteoporosis.

in reply to Rosepetal60

Thanks for that Rosepetal60, what a lovely name. I'm putting a Boots order in today and so I'll get some.

beckyiswell profile image
beckyiswell in reply to

I've been told the issue with my nails was from osteoarthritis.

I occasionally take Biotin. It seems to help.

annelii profile image

I’ve always had weak nails but since I started taking magnesium as well as calcium etc for OP they’re much stronger. Taking zinc used to have the same effect. Don’t know what it means for the OP though.

in reply to annelii

I was wondering now I have got calcium and Vit D (Accrete D3) on prescription for the osteoporosis if that might help my nails. Are you on that too annelii?

annelii profile image
annelii in reply to

No I do ‘diy’ supplements taken separately to balance out calcium with magnesium, D and k2.

Siamang profile image

My nails are strong but have developed vertical lines. Told it’s ageing!!

in reply to Siamang

My mother used to have very pronounced vertical lines on her nails and her nails were strong too.

Siamang profile image
Siamang in reply to

Reassuring I’m not the only one who has vertical lines on nails!

Rosepetal60 profile image
Rosepetal60 in reply to Siamang

I’ve had Vertical lines for at least 40 years. There maybe a connection with Arthritis. I also have ridges Horizontally. About same space of time. But I find using nail polish keeps the Horizontal ridges under control. Toe nails are ok/ strong, but still have the ridges going horizontally and use nail varnish on them

Debs4 profile image

Hi Truffled

It’s funny that just before I saw your post I’d been thinking about how my nails seem to be growing a bit lately instead of breaking off the whole time . I remember reading something by Vivian Goldshmit? one of the Drs who support natural remedies for bone health, and she said that the condition of our nails is indicative of the condition of our bones. This makes perfect sense to me but I’m guessing it must take much longer for any supplementation or particularly healthy diet regime to reach ones bones. I’ve been looking back at my supplementation orders and trying to work out when I changed my regime. I think in the last six months I’ve been much more disciplined about taking D3 and K2 which is supposed to help direct calcium to the bones. I also started including curcumin and turmuric which is supposed to help nails and hair. Also been taking calcium and magnesium with zinc more recently 🤷‍♀️ it’s hard knowing what’s working and what isn’t but my nails definitely seem a bit stronger so I will be sticking to my routine! Hope this has helped.

Siamang profile image
Siamang in reply to Debs4

Your doing exactly as I’m doing so will monitor nails and hair too!

Yes your reply has helped Debs thanks and it makes perfect sense to me too. Are you being prescribed Accrete D3 (calcium nd Vit D3) ? I already take curcumin and just finished a course of biotin (Vit B6) which is supposed to help your nails but it didn't help. I am going to start taking a hair and nail multi-vitamin supplement called Starpowa, which has had some very good results for some peeps.

Debs4 profile image
Debs4 in reply to

I’ve been prescribed a calcium and Vit D supplement but as the calcium is carbonate and apparently harder to absorb I buy my own. Forgot to say that I’ve also been taking a B complex supplement for the last 3 months and a whey protein powder sporadically. I know that in the past I’ve not eaten enough protein so thought I’d try supplementing with that too when I don’t get enough from my diet. Also take vit C. This is all costing a fortune 🙄 which is fine if it’s working but I suppose I won’t really know until the next Dexa planned in about 18 months time. Definitely hoping the nail improvement is a sign though. Thanks for the Starpowa suggestion I will have a look at that.

I’m getting loads of pressure to take the meds but really resisting it! This is in spite of 3 spinal fractures in the last five years (not fragility but spine obviously very vulnerable now) and a T score of -3.4 in spine. Can’t pretend I’m not frightened I’m making the wrong decision but nothing I’ve read can convince me that taking it is wise.

in reply to Debs4

I get what you mean about being frightened in making the wrong decision. The only person who will suffer the most with any decision we make is ourselves. I am really in a quandary too about restarting AA, because from what I have read you can still get fractures\brittle bones from taking bisphosonates long term. Do you have any kind of exercise plan? I also must spend a fortune on supplements and I don't know if they are doing me any good or not.

Mbaloo profile image
Mbaloo in reply to

I am following the exercise program by Melioguide with Margaret Martin. I am doing her exercises every day. I got an email from her today saying she is adding more videoes to help people progress in their strength training. Also, I recently joined "consumerlab". com. They test all kinds of supplements and are not affiliated with anyone. I have learn a lot about supplements. They tell you their top picks and most often they are the less expensive ones. I am shocked how many vitamins do not really contain what they claim to contain. Another frustrating part of the O. journey. Dr. Cooperman would owns the site, tells you how vitamins are best absorbed and which ones you should take or never take together. Remember supplements are a Billion $ business.

Rosrzb profile image
Rosrzb in reply to Debs4

Hi Debs. I’ve just been diagnosed myself and have found there is device called the Marodyne low intensity vibration platform. It’s expensive but sounds good. It was developed for astronauts coming back from space, as they lose bone density. You stand on it for 10 minutes a day. Supposedly it stimulates the stem cells for the osteoblasts that build bone - you also need to then do some exercise like go for a brisk walk. I’m frightened like you are and am seriously thinking of buying one. I’m reckoning I’d rather she’ll out for that than for walking sticks and other aids.

Siamang profile image

Initially I blamed the prolia injection for hair falling out and nail deterioration but perhaps was the condition of bones?

Sorry,I don't know if prolia is a bisphosonate, like the Alendronic Acid I was prescribed. Listed under side effects on AA's leaflet is hair loss. Does it list side effects for prolia on-line - if you don't have an info on it being as it is an injection?

truffled - I have Sjogren's, PBC, lichen planus, and a

few years ago, a resection of bowel. They can all come with absorption deficiencies so, no wonder, (according to dexa measurement,) I have osteoporosis. I did have flaky, splitting nails and very dry skin. Then I started four capsules a day of ursodeoxycholic acid to manage PBC. I noticed after 5 or 6 months that my nails were strong and no longer breaking. I have verticle ridges of recent date. My renewed nail strength I believe to be a result of the 4 gelatin capsules around the daily Urso and perhaps an increased potential for absorbing nutrients that the synthetic bile allows. I believe the gelatin is a product of ground bone, usually pig, sometimes beef. I would never paint anything on my nails again now that I know it can trigger an autoimmune flare-up in me which wouldn't subside for days or weeks, even if I removed the chemicals from my nails fairly fast (with more chemicals).

o yeah, so my treatment, if i wasn't taking urso, i'd eat more jelly!

in reply to

I have been eating three cubes of jelly every day for ages now. I used to use the packet gelatine The gelatine is supposed to help peeps who have joint hypermobility - but must admit it has done nothing for my nails. Do you have any side effects from Urso Acid (is it a prescription drug? )

in reply to

No side effects. At least, many who take it say they have a number of side effects. But others who don't take it report same effects so it may be just PBC symptoms, not side effects of the drug. Some cannot tolerate the drug or are allergic and suffer an allergic reaction. It is a prescription medication, dose is calibrated on body weight. It is also used to disperse small gallstones which are troublesome but not visible on x-ray. In PBC the immune system attacks the healthy tissue of biliary tubes. Urso helps to release bile acids from the liver. The drug has been licensed for about 25 years. It is the first-line treatment of PBC which is incurable and progressive. Urso has drastically reduced the numbers of sufferers needing liver transplant. I do wonder how much that has to do with changing lifestyle at dx along with the meds.

I have hypermobility - didn't know about jelly for that! I understand there's a link between it and predisposition to autoimmune conditions.

in reply to

I read an article in Ethlers-Danlos Syndrome literature (I have the joint hypermobility type of EDS). It mentioned two foods that are recommended for us; gelatine/jelly and bone broth - they apparently support connective tissue structure. Have you found having both SS and hypermobility complicates your condition 22?

in reply to

truffled - I suppose in reality I don't see myself as having a number of conditions, except for the purpose of identifying with others in this context (health unlocked). So I don't have a sense of any of them complicating any other. In fact, I see it all as one condition which I can call How I Am! What about you?

Collywobbles64 profile image

Hi truffled, until this year my nails were ok, but around February, I noticed that my nails had got flakey and kept ripping, so I have had to cut them right down. I'm hoping that the extra supplements I am taking may improve this.

in reply to Collywobbles64

My nails just don't seem to grow that long that I have to cut them. If they do I use nail clippers as I heard that using nail clippers were kinder for soft, weak, thin nails.

Collywobbles64 profile image

I should also add, after reading the other comments, that my T-scores are worse.

My fingernails are ver brittle and always have been, but I've always bitten them. As a child I was diagnosed with very low calcium. My toenails on the other hand (or should I say foot) are very thick and so hard, I can't cut them and I assume that even if I could get them into my mouth I wouldn't be able to bite them either. :-O

lawdog profile image
lawdog in reply to

Funcus and other types of things like athletes foot that can pentrate the nail can also thicken them. I live in a tropical area where sandals can be worn almost year-round but the summer rains come every day, so keeping feet dry is important large toe on each foot becan to have a cloudy spot or two and just didn't go away. Went to a foot surgeon and she said just use an over the counter fungus killer...but it would take a long time before it would cure the situation. Said I could use nail polish......she was wrong. They became infected and had to be removed. A foot speciatist at the University Nedical School is following me now.....the nails are slowly growing back...she was surprized the surgeon said I could use nail polish while that cloudy appearance was there. A laser could have been used to kill and clear up the fungus.

lawdog profile image

My nails have needed to be cared for every day as long as I can remember. They tend to "peel" at the edges, and I check them every night and "sand" off the rough edges, take off the polish on those, rub the oil on them for the cuticles, wash that off, dry and apply the polish. If I don't do that, they look terrible. I do have osteoporosis which is under very good control...but my nails have been like this all my life. I have friend who developed a heart situation (5 stints) but her bones and nails are incredible....strong. But her hair loss has gradually caused her scalp to be seen through her permed short hair. No remedy, and no explanation that the doctors have. After a serious vehicle accident 20 years ago, I had hair loss gradually over the months.....everywhere but my head. Neurologist siad it could have been my body's reaction to the serious collision with a truck. Guess sometimes we are all just different. When I worked I handled paper constantly and my hands were always seen in meetings, etc. I had to budget for a professional nail manicure every week or so, as paper dries our nails and hands, and I felt I couldn't keep up my nails' appearance.

Zezes-nan profile image

My finger nails tend to split very easily so I use OPI nail envy its a nail strengthener and seems to help. It doesn't have Formaldehyde so gentler on the nails.

Seacrab profile image

My finger nails AND toenails are so weak, tear easily and bleed . I’ve tried everything and am on many bone strengthening supplements including Prolia .

SewingIsMyBag profile image

Yes! Many years of horrible nails. I've tried it all. When diagnosed with osteoporosis I just said no to the meds. Started weight bearing exercise, fermented foods including milk kefir, loads of veggies, especially kale. To my surprise, fingernails became quite hard for the first time! Why do doctor's not take note of fingernail health??? They may have been able to diagnose my osteoporosis earlier before it got this far

karmel profile image
karmel in reply to SewingIsMyBag

I remember years ago going to the doctor, at different times, about my nails, before I had op. One said I could try wearing false nails and the other said I could eat some jelly - a lot of help.

I can't tolerate dairy products or a lot veg (including kale) because they make my IBS flare-up. I do believe that better digestion leads to better absorbtion of minerals and you getting the optimum benefit from your diet.

Fruitandnutcase profile image

I know I’m joining this conversation a bit late in the day but when I was first diagnosed with Graves Disease- autoimmune over active thyroid - my nails were just like yours. SO fragile, they ended up tearing and flaking until they got right down to the nail bed. It was agony if I touched anything. I read somewhere to rub almond oil in daily and on my quest to buy almond oil one of the assistants in John Lewis recommended OPI Nail Envy. There are a few and I can’t remember which one I used but someone on that brand will be able to advise.

I also used the almond oil and was receiving treatment for the Graves and eventually my nails improved. Now they grow like mad and are very strong. My hair is the same too, grows at an amazing rate and is strong.

I thought because I am well built, haven’t lost height, don’t have dry skin and my hair and nails grow like mad and are. strong that having osteoporosis was unlikely. Turns out that was wrong.

Hope your nails are recovered now but if not give the Nail Envy and almond oil a try.

in reply to Fruitandnutcase

Thanks. I know what you mean about your nails tearing. Mine keep catching on my clothes or on pieces of thread. I have tried OPI nail products and they have unfortunately made my nails worse. I have tried coconut oil, castor oil, almond oil and lanolin nail conditioner, but haven't found any supplement or treatment that have made my nails stronger. I also have an autoimmune disease, Sjogren's Syndrome (dry mouth and dry eyes) and some of us with SS do have very fragile nails. I haven't found any product that some of the SS sites recommend help me. As I mentioned to another poster I am going to have to find a dermatologist as I have to wear plasters over my nails where they have torn really low down the nail bed.

Fruitandnutcase profile image
Fruitandnutcase in reply to

Forgot to say I wore cotton gloves over the oils and hand / nail creams I wore in bed when mine were really bad - I bought them in John Lewis which was where I got talking to the OPI person.

It is just incredibly painful when your nails reach the nail bed. Agony really. Good luck with it all.

in reply to Fruitandnutcase

Thanks. I use vinyl gloves when I prepare food and for jobs round the house and always cotton gloves after I have put handcream or Vaseline on my nails. It doesn't seem such a big deal having nail problems does it? From my experience nail problems s are not taken seriously by doctors that it could be an indication of an autoimmune disease

Michalbaner profile image

It's all connected, joints, tendons, bones, nails, hair. When body starts taking nutrients from its own storage, it will do from bones and nails alike. Lot can be said by loking at person's nails as well as tongue, hair, eyes. Could also be a result of treatment of oeteoporosis.

Would you mind elaborating on what sort of treatment are you currently undergoing for which conditions?

Mbaloo profile image
Mbaloo in reply to Michalbaner

I am starting to feel the same is all connected. My doctors check all of may numbers and they look fine but I feel the body knows how to balance itself and it sorts "robs peter to pay paul" sort of thing. The question no one can answer is how do we know where the body gets the minerals it needs to keep it in check. I feel like it pull nutrients out of our bones and organs and then we start to have disease.I feel like my body is not using its nutrients where it should be using them. When I ask this question, doctors just look at me like I am crazy.

Thanks for your reply. I take Risedronate for op and I don't know whether it is because of this or whether it is because I have op. I have always had weak, thin nails which have got worse as I have got older. Thin, soft nails, for some of us, is an indication of Sjogren's Syndrome (dry mouth and dry eyes), so I don't know whether it is that or whether it s because I have SS or because I have IBS. I probably don't absorb properly, what should be a healthy diet. Maybe it is because I have to watch my cholesterol very carefully because heart disease runs in my family. I keep having gut problems as I try to eat what is good for one condition but it conflicts with what I should eat for another condition so I think that is why I have very poor nails . I am thinking of going to a dermatologist privately as regardless of what supplements I take and what treatments I try nothing helps.

wbiC profile image

yes to osteoporosis & a nail problem (perhaps unrelated?)

skincare lotion (softens the nails so they're less prone to chipping), silicon supplement (2 capsules of BioSil/day) and a Biotin capsule appear very helpful, but have not completely eliminated all manifestations

in reply to wbiC

Thanks - I took biotin for over a year but it didn't help and haven't found any other supplement that helps. Unfortunately I can't take silica supplements as they aggravate my gut. I have tried so many treatments, strengtheners but none of them work. I have Sjogren's Syndrome and I have used all the products that it is advised for this condition but they haven't helped either. But keep looking for that elusive treatment product for paper thin nails.

wbiC profile image
wbiC in reply to

silica, Silicon Dioxide, despite the similarity in name, has little to nothing to do with the silicon in BioSil which has active ingredients:

Ingredients. Silicon (as Choline-Stabilized Orthosilicic Acid) (ch-OSA), Choline (as ch-OSA). that is, H4SiO4

so possibly, you might tolerate BioSil quite well (it's not cheap, though)

in reply to wbiC

Thanks wbic - I will look more closely into all the ingredients I and get a layman's breakdown of it.

Mbaloo profile image

I have severe osteoporosis and in the process of consulting with spine clinic about Prolia. I do not want to take it but they say I have no other option. I too have Sjogren's Syndrone but don't present with any major symptoms, but I have dry brittle nails. I started taking Great Lakes grass fed collagen (2 scoops 1x daily) about 2 weeks ago and so far it seems like there are a tiny bit better. I can't really judge it for 6 mos. But I am encouraged so far.

Rosrzb profile image

I’ve heard that a lack of Biotin can cause dry brittle nails. I go to Aqua fit and the chlorine in the pool is terrible for nails. When I stopped going during lockdown my nails recovered very quickly (the only upside of lockdown!).

You may also like...