Further to my earlier post on supplements that helped to grow my fingernails, I can report that 15,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day for two weeks did amazing things. It basically did the same thing that 8 mg of methylfolate did, although the folate seemed to work faster.
The weird thing is, the shape actually changed: the V-shape in the cuticle across the bottom straightened out to more of a U and the nail narrowed — it no longer separated from the nail bed (and thus widened) as far down as it had before. The cuticle also retreated a bit and lengthened/deepened the nail. This is probably something only I would notice, and none of this applies to my index fingers, which remained as pathetic as ever.
I had to stop the vitamin D3 a week or two after this when the splitting headaches returned once again. The progress lasted for about three weeks, and then the nails got weak again, although the squared-off shape of the cuticle has been maintained. I am lazy about taking calcium with the D3, which probably didn’t help much — the nails started splitting under the quick, which I have found means my calcium levels are too low.
I should note that my vitamin D3 has always tested pretty low — at best 20 ng/ml, when according to some experts, including this neurologist who has found it works wonders for her sleep-disordered patients, it should be 60–80 ng/ml.
The Vitamin D Council website has a guide to help you figure out how much vitamin D you can produce outside based on your skin color and latitude. I have always assumed that during my sun-worshipping teenaged summers I was getting plenty, but apparently I was wrong. My skin color is a bit more than a III, but not a IV (Mediterranean), and I was only one degree further south than Boston. Now I wonder if I was even getting 5,000 IU a day from June to August.
Throughout the whole procedure I was also using a nail strengthener from the drug store, which I’ve used off and on for years, and which also helps. It’s the one that comes in strengths 1, 2, 2.5, and 3. Ends in -ques, begins with Nailti-. I’ve tried most of the others and they don’t work for me. Allow me to bitch briefly about this product. It is very expensive and gets gooey before you’re even 4/5 through the bottle, which is pointless to complain about anyway because two days after it gets gooey, the polish is too far below the too-short brush to reach. One-fifth of the bottle is unusable. If you do apply the polish when it has thickened and then make the mistake of painting a nail color over it, the resulting spongy surface looks like you’re trying to cover up a fungus. But still, I buy it.