The first thing I noticed was the ridges. Vertical lines, from the base of my fingernails to the tips. A bit like the grooves on a vinyl record – nothing too deep or obvious. My nails had always been pliable, bendable, more likely to tear like paper than to break or snap. That had changed; they’d become a bit brittle. Thinner, but drier and more prone to break than to tear. And they appeared to be growing slower than usual. Once upon a time, I could cut them short and grow them to an elegant length – worth shaping and polishing – within two weeks.
Thyroid tests – all blood tests – were perfectly normal. It’s been like this for several years, now. No better, no worse. I considered that all the polish I’d used a few years ago had damaged them, but it wouldn’t have damaged the nail bed; the damage should have been temporary, like the time I turned them green under leaky gel nails.
I read a member’s blog post on SparkPeople about using high dose biotin for the treatment of MS – which has nothing whatsoever to do with me, but I do have a cousin and friends who’ve suffered from it, so I was interested in reading about new ideas and research that could help them. The study on high-dose biotin looks quite promising for MS sufferers. And in following that Rabbit Hole, I vaguely recalled my doctor suggesting – when I’d first noticed the ridges in my nails – that biotin might be helpful. She hadn’t really sold me on it, but with no known adverse side effects, why not give it a try?
The Great Biotin Experiment
I’d already begun taking a multivitamin and a high-potency B-complex supplement, along with a general program of diet and eating “cleaner” – less processed – foods and exercising more. I’ve felt healthier and more energetic, but it didn’t appear to have any effect on my fingernails. I’m working to drop about 60 pounds over the next 7 months. A couple of weeks ago, I cut my broken, ragged nails – already fairly short – and added a biotin supplement: 10,000mcg. I just took it daily and hoped for the best. Win, lose, or draw, it couldn’t hurt.
After about a week, my nails appeared to be growing at their previously normal rate. I should note that biotin is not supposed to cause them to grow faster. Stronger, less brittle, but not faster. But if they’re generally healthier – maybe from the generally improved nutrition and supplementation, doesn’t it follow that the rate of growth might at least return to normal? It’s really too soon to tell. It could just be wishful thinking.
In the interest of scientific observation and accuracy, I’ve cut my nails short and filed them, as you see them above. I’ll update this every week or two.
UPDATE – 09/22/16
Can’t see that they’re significantly longer. None of split, broken, cracked, or peeled.
I’m not endorsing or recommending anything, at this point, nor has anyone asked me to – just experimenting and sharing the results.
They finally reached the point where I have to start thinking of cutting them. Other than a coat of polish last night, I’ve done nothing to them since starting this experiment. They’re not growing noticeably faster, but they haven’t split, chipped, torn, cracked – they do seem to be regaining some strength and flexibility.