Very specific advice.
The last post here got me thinking about something that I thought I should share. It likely won't be helpful to most of you, but just in case there's a few of you like me out there... One of my few really girly things about me is that I love having nice nails. Most of my life I had brittle, thin, quick to split and crack nails, so I'd have to keep them short if I couldn't afford to go get fake nails on. The inability to afford this made me sad for years. But in the grand scheme of things it just wasn't important. Also my hair grew ridiculously slowly, but that just meant I had to cut my hair less, so that wasn't too bad, considering. Due to repeated blood tests when I was younger in the beginning of my health issues, I learned I have ongoing deficiencies regardless of diet, and was advised to take supplements (multi-vitamin + iron, + folic acid + something else I forget). I discovered that pre-natal vitamins covered all of this, but they've been more expensive than regular multi-vitamins over the years so I usually wasn't really good at keeping up with it. They've gotten considerably cheaper in recent years, and for the past 2-3 years I've been really good about keeping up with it. And holy crap, after about six months of daily taking everything the blood tests have said I should, I SUDDENLY HAD FINGERNAILS. Even though they started growing faster that quick it took the better part of 2 years for them to stop being thin and rippley etc. And recently my hair appears to be growing at a more normal rate, and I've almost finally got it back to a length that makes me happy. Now, I can barely keep up with them, a good nail file cost me all of a couple bucks, which that plus time is ridiculously cheaper than the upkeep of acrylic fakies. When I have the time and supplies to paint 'em up all pretty, people ask me where I get my fake nails done. heh. I even once had a bitchy admin at discharge from the ER attempt to lecture me that all the money I spent on my nails was obviously part of why I was poor. Hah! So, if any of my original nail problems sound familiar to you and you're not taking any supplements and you have insurance or easy access to a doctor, get yourself tested, because even if it's not deficiencies like mine, finger/toe nail problems can indicate more serious problems like kidney and liver issues. If you are unable to get such blood tests done, it won't hurt you to try various vitamin/mineral supplements. But unless you bruise easily or know you've had issues with iron deficiencies in particular, don't take any EXTRA iron above what's in a regular or prenatal multivitamin, that can be dangerous. However, I do believe that it's specifically the folic acid that is the main thing being helpful with nails/hair. On a related note, if you're primarily vegetarian/vegan GET YOU SOME B12! I was raised vege/vegan and had ongoing annoying issues with bleeding gums for nearly 20 years till I got on B12, that's completely gone now. Vitamins obviously aren't a cure-all, but if you're broken like me, you may not be getting everything you need just from a healthy diet. Being healthy and pretty as cheaply as possible is a poor skill, right? =D