Painting her nails with that disgusting stuff that you use to stop thumb sucking didn't work either because to get rid of the taste "you just suck it off Mum"
Bribing with getting her nails painted at a salon also didn't work. "Let your nails grow long enough so that they can be painted and once they are then we'll treat you." That didn't work.
Ok, so let's take a different approach. I came to this conclusion after chatting with a friend. She still bites her nails so gets acrylics to stop her biting. This might just work!!! If we get her some nice nails on top then by the time they come off she may just be out of the habit!!!
I was super impressed at how knowledgeable and confident she was in her recommendations and was very strong about not using acrylics (yet) because of my daughter's age and how short her nails were - Kelly had seen them because she asked to see a photo. She then went on to explain why. This was a real winning factor here because I like to know the "why" most of the time.
Over the summer holidays we had a few sessions, the first couple we simply used special gels on the very short nails which were hard enough to prevent biting but soft enough not to ruin the nails. She also gave us a cuticle oil to soften and heal the cuticles - when your nails are extremely short the cuticles toughen up in an attempt to protect the nails and can be left rough and angry looking. My daughter did this twice a day and in no time they were looking a lot better.
I took the pretty logical first step in our fact finding mission and asked Google. Always the critical thinker I opened the first 8 that a) didn't look like they were just trying to sell something and b) so I could compare for consistency in the information. I then dusted off my Understanding Nutrition textbook and found the Ministry of Health's Nutrient and Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand
Vitamin C is used to help absorb protein more efficiently in to the body.
Best food sources: Red bell pepper, kiwi fruit, brussel sprouts, broccoli
Females: 9 - 13 yrs 40mg, 14-18 yrs 40mg, Adult 45mg
Males: 9 - 13 yrs 40mg, 14-18 yrs 40mg, Adult 45mg
Zinc has a myriad of roles in the body, one of them is to regulate the body's ability to make new proteins so a deficiency can impair cell growth. Did you know that zinc is deficient in New Zealand soil? Making it harder to get your RDI's from food alone, Dr Libby reports the group most effected are teenage boys.
Best food sources: Meat, fish, oysters in particular, poultry, milk, brown legumes, pumpkins seeds, sesame seeds.
Females: 9 - 13 yrs 6mg, 14-18 yrs 7mg, Adult 8mg
Males: 9 - 13 yrs 6mg, 14-18 yrs 13mg, Adult 14mg
Iron is a mineral used for cell production and is found in the blood. A lack of iron can impair the absorption of nutrients and when the body isn't getting what it needs this can lead to many different health issues.
Best food sources: Red meat, brown legumes, oysters, beef liver, some green vegetables like spinach and kale.
Females: 9 - 13 yrs 8mg, 14-18 yrs 15mg, Adult 18mg, 51+ 8g
Males: 9 - 13 yrs 8mg, 14-18 yrs 11mg, Adult 8mg,
Protein is a macro nutrient (meaning your body needs it in large quantities daily) and the amino acids, which come from protein, are used for keratin production.
Best food sources: Chicken, eggs, lean red meats, low fat dairy, nuts, seafood, soybeans, whole grains.
Females: 9 - 13 yrs 35g, 14-18 yrs 45g, Adult 46g, 70+ 57g
Males: 9 - 13 yrs 40g, 14-18 yrs 65g, Adult 64g, 70+ 81g
Magnesium was also mentioned as, in the case of nails, it plays a role in the production of protein. When I went to one of the Dr Libby seminars I learned that stress plays a major role in a deficiency of magnesium. This is because the production of adrenaline requires one unit of magnesium, B vitamins and Vitamin C to make. If your body is constantly producing adrenaline then it's easy to see how one can become deficient in magnesium. The scary thing is though that unless you get a handle on what's causing the stress no amount of magnesium supplementation is going to make a difference.
Best food sources: Halibut, cashews, artichokes, tofu, pinto beans, tomato juice, broccoli
Females: 9 - 13 yrs 240mg, 14-18 yrs 360mg, Adult 320 mg
Males: 9 - 13 yrs 240mg, 14-18 yrs 410mg, Adult 420 mg
I am so proud of Rhi, she has stayed committed to improving her nail health and getting them to grow and stop biting them. And thank you Kelly Lewis!!
Thanks for reading this blog post. If you got value from it then please like and share this on social media.
Food is an awesome way to focus on getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals into your body that it needs but sometimes we can't always get what we need from food alone and need a little bit of help.
If you want to know more about the nutrition range I use that takes the question mark out of "am I getting what I need each day?" then feel free to get in touch by email or check it out here.
Ministry of Health (2017) Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand
Whitney et. al (2011) Understanding Nutrition - Australian and New Zealand Edition.
Blog posts from the internet some of which I have linked in the body of my blog.