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As tempting as it may be to run out and purchase the miracle “nail growth” pill you see on Instagram, don’t do it! While few produce results, others may actually do more harm than good. Instead, stick to supplements that are made from actual nutrients your body needs. From vitamins to minerals and everything in between, check out the top five supplements that promise to give you the long, healthy nails of your dreams.

Biotin

If you want longer, stronger, healthier-looking nails, then biotin should be your first choice. Biotin helps the body metabolize proteins and fats that are necessary for hair and nail growth. While you can get biotin from an array of foods, such as almonds, milk, raspberries, tomatoes, walnuts and more, taking a biotin supplement may be the easier way to amp up your daily intake when you’re on the go. One word of caution: Everyone reacts differently to biotin, with side effects including breakouts, dry skin, fatigue, and hair loss.  Your best bet? Start off with the lowest dosage and work your way up as your body adjusts. Something else to keep in mind? You’ll need to take biotin consistently for at least four months before seeing results.

Collagen

The Instagram fave often associated with healthy hair growth can actually also encourage nail growth. Collagen supplements contain pure amino acids, aka the “building blocks” necessary for healthy and long nails. Regular collagen intake will also help strengthen the nail matrix, resulting in less breakage, and, in turn, longer nails.

Vitamin C

Not just for kicking a cold to the curb, vitamin C is the secret to keeping nails strong. It also aids in collagen formation, which will result in fewer hangnails over time. But, much like other supplements, vitamin C should only be taken if you have a deficiency. If you notice any nail pitting, swelling or red-brown spots on the nail plate, it’s definitely time to stock up on a vitamin C supplement.

Folic acid

Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is responsible for healthy cell growth. Taking the necessary amount of folic acid will help regenerate nail cells, leading to more rapid growth. Before investing in a supplement, ask your doctor if you are indeed folate deficient as taking too much folic acid can be hazardous to your health.

Zinc  

Though the jury is still out on whether or not zinc will speed up nail growth, it will improve the overall appearance of your nails, especially if you have any splitting, weakness or discoloration. Again, only take a zinc supplement if you are deficient—too much zinc can actually block the body’s absorption of iron, an essential nutrient for growing healthy nails.


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