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Vitamins For Nails: Exactly What To Look For + 8 High-Quality Supplements*

Last updated on October 11, 2022
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A strong, healthy nail is always on-trend—think white tips with a smooth, flesh-toned nail plate, and nary a spot, ridge, or fray in sight But the road to optimal nail health is quite the winding one. 

Experts agree: "Your nails are made of proteins and naturally need a lot of vitamins," Amy Lin, the founder of sundays, a nail care brand focused on wellness, once told us about how to strengthen nails.

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In fact, they're made mostly of keratin. So while you can massage in a cuticle oil (as you should!) or commit to monthly maintenance, sometimes the best method for shiny, smooth nails is to go internal. 

That's where we come in: Below, find the best vitamins for nails—including common ingredients to look for, as well as a curated list of supplements to choose from.* You know, in case you find yourself browsing the vitamin aisle

Quick list:

Best vitamins for nails

Before we dive into supplement recommendations, let's highlight a few star players when it comes to vitamins for strong, healthy nails.*

1.

Biotin

Ah, the beloved B vitamin (vitamin B7, to be exact). While biotin has a number of important functions, the body cannot create its own1 levels of biotin, so it must be obtained through what you ingest (i.e., food or supplements) daily. That's where vitamins and supplements come in.

Biotin has been shown to support nail thickness and firmness2 in several human studies.*

One moderate-size human study found that those who took biotin supplements had 25% thicker nail beds3 than the placebo group.*

In supplements, it's often paired with collagen to further support the skin and hair benefits.*

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2.

Collagen

Collagen supplements contain hydrolyzed collagen peptides, which are short chains of amino acids, or compounds that the body uses to build protein, among other things.

These amino acids are the building blocks of nails—so if you provide your body with those nutrients, it will be better equipped to grow healthy, strong nails.*

One study even found that when individuals took collagen daily for 24 weeks, it helped support their nail health4, including better growth rates, reduced breakage, and improved appearance.* 

3.

Keratin

Again, your nails are structurally made of keratin—and while you can get your fill of keratin-building amino acids from food and vitamins, you can also find supplements that contain soluble forms of keratin itself.

In a way, it takes the middleman out of the equation—although, many options will still include keratin-building ingredients, like biotin and collagen, just to encourage your body's natural production of the protein.*

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4.

Omega-3s

Fatty acids help maintain your skin barrier, sealing in moisture and keeping your skin supple and smooth—to that end, omega-3s can also can help lubricate your nails.* 

5.

Antioxidants

Finally, let's not forget nail-strengthening antioxidants. Vitamin C is a popular one in nail supplements, as the antioxidant is essential in collagen synthesis.*

Vitamin E is another one to note, as research shows it can help support a healthy, fresh nail color5.*

You might also reach for botanical antioxidants (like horsetail or fruit extracts) to protect the collagen you have from oxidative stress.*

If you're looking for specific supplements to add to your routine, consider one of the below. Each high-quality vitamin blend is formulated to target your hair, skin, and nail health.*

How we picked

Variety

Some people prefer powders; others opt for gummies. We made sure to include a variety of formats in this list. 

Expert-informed

The following selects were guided by mindbodygreen’s vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN. In addition, they come tested by the mindbodygreen beauty team & staffers or other beauty experts. 

Quality

Consider these your all-star formulas—no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, gluten, GMOs, gluten, and known allergens.

Science-backed ingredients

We made sure to seek out plenty of ingredients known for their positive effects on nail health, so you can support strong tips from all angles. 

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Best supplement for nails

Our collagen powder targets nail (and skin and hair) health from multiple angles: There's 17.7 grams of pasture-raised, grass-fed bovine collagen peptides (delivering types I and III collagen); vitamins C and E for enhanced collagen production and antioxidant support; hyaluronic acid for hydration; biotin to strengthen nails; and the protein building block L-glutamine. Plus, you can trust that each ingredient is rooted in science, and the excipients (aka, the "other" ingredients on the label) are clean and of the highest quality. A star supplement, we'd say.* 

beauty & gut collagen+, mindbodygreen ($59)

beauty & gut collagen+
mindbodygreen

What our reviewers say

"After just one month of taking this collagen supplement, my natural nails have grown out tremendously without breaking. Although I was primarily looking for nail strength, there have been so many other benefits that have come from taking this collagen."*Kalie Lovell

Best gummy

This tasty gummy features biotin, vitamin C, and folic acid for strong nails, as well as pre- and probiotics to support gut health (a welcome added benefit, don't you think?). As you chew on the candy-like gummy (serving size equals two gummies), take note of the tart flavor—it's all thanks to a berry antioxidant blend of cranberry, raspberry, cherry, strawberry, blueberry, and elderberry extracts.* 

balanced beauty, TULA Skincare ($30)

Balanced beauty gummies
TULA Skin Care
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Best powder with marine collagen

While bovine collagen peptides tend to be the most researched and potent, marine collagen is a great option for those who follow a pescatarian diet. The other main ingredient is the brand's signature crushed pearl powder (come on, that just sounds luxurious), which is chock-full of minerals like calcium.* 

holi(mane), Agent Nateur ($92)

Agent Nateur supplement
Agent Nateur

Best capsule

These capsules contain Cynatine®, a clinically tested and bioavailable form of solubilized keratin, to help strengthen your hair and nails. Other star players in this multi-ingredient formula include biotin, MSM, hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, and horsetail extract (to name a few)—which research shows can help enhance nail health6.*

Hair, Skin & Nails Veg Capsules, NOW Foods ($29.99)

Hair, skin & nails NOW Foods capsules
NOW Foods

Best vegan collagen support

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: There is no such thing as vegan collagen. There are vegan ingredients that support collagen health—like vitamins C and E for collagen synthesis or botanical antioxidants to protect the collagen you have from oxidative damage—but the actual collagen itself cannot be sourced from plants. That said, this supplement contains ingredients to bolster your body's natural production of collagen, like vitamin C, as well as a B complex and key amino acids. We should note that each packet contains eight capsules—something to keep in mind in case you're looking for single-capsule doses.* 

Collagen Precursor, Zuma Nutrition ($99.95)

Collagen Precursor, Zuma
Zuma

Best organic

These USDA-certified organic tablets contain 2,500 mcg of biotin, along with antioxidants from pomegranate, turmeric, amla (a berry that is rich in vitamin C), and green and rooibos teas. It's marketed as a collagen builder, so know that while there are no collagen peptides inside the formula, the ingredients are meant to support and protect your body's natural source.* 

mykind Organics Organic Plant Collagen Builder, Garden of Life ($34.99)

Organic Plant Collagen Builder, Garden of Life
Garden of Life

Best prenatal with omega-3s

To support a smooth, moisturized nail plate, look for a supplement with fatty acids—specifically, these softgels contain DHA and EPA, along with biotin, calcium, and vitamins C and E to strengthen and hydrate the nails, along with other essential prenatal micronutrients like iron, vitamin D3, and much more.*

Prenatal Multivitamin + 200 mg DHA Softgels, Nature Made ($15.35)

Prenatal Multivitamin, Nature Made
Nature Made

Best keratin

Soluble keratin is the star ingredient here (500 mg!), but the formula is enhanced with biotin and resveratrol (a potent polyphenol) to support and protect healthy nail beds. Not only are you replenishing your body's keratin with this supplement, but it also helps encourage your body's natural production of the protein—so this is a formula with multiple avenues for nail health.* 

Keratin Hair Supplement, NAOMI ($34.99)

Keratin Hair Supplement, NAOMI
NAOMI

FAQ

How can you prevent your nails from breaking?

In addition to taking vitamins, experts recommend applying cuticle oil daily, keeping your nails protected from the elements, wearing gloves while doing dishes and other household chores, skipping the gels and acrylics, and being mindful of your polish choices. For more tips to strengthen brittle nails, check out our guide

What foods can help strengthen and grow your nails?

"Nails are made of mainly hardened proteins," explains Amy Lin, the founder of sundays. (Namely, a protein called keratin). "When we're low in protein, calcium, or other vitamins, that can sometimes show up on your fingernails with vertical lines." Keep those tips healthy and strong by eating foods rich in calcium, antioxidants, and keratin-building amino acids—think nuts and seeds (especially chia seeds), leafy greens, and collagen-rich staples (like bone broth and egg whites). 

Does biotin work for nail growth?

It sure can! As we mentioned, biotin has been shown to support nail thickness and firmness in several human studies, and one moderate-size human study found that those who took biotin supplements had 25% thicker nail beds than the placebo group.* You can read more about biotin and nails here

The takeaway

Two of the most popular (and widely studied) vitamins for nails are biotin and collagen, but plenty of supplements include other antioxidants and bioactives to support nail health from all angles.

With these 8 options, you and your nails (and your skin and hair, while we're at it) are covered.*

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.