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July 1954


Author Affiliations


AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1954;70(1):75-83. doi:10.1001/archderm.1954.01540190077006

FOR YEARS many patients and physicians have recommended calcium ingestion because of brittle nails. Is there any scientific basis for this? It seemed wise to find out just what was the calcium and phosphorus content of nails.

In a cursory search of the literature available, the only paper bearing on the subject was that of Goldblum and his associates,1 who have recently studied the metal content of skin, nails, and hair by spectrographic methods.

A study of nail brittleness has been carried out by Silver and Chiego,2 but little mention of calcium is made. Many other factors were considered, such as iron metabolism, presence of fatty acids, occupation, nail lacquers, avitaminosis, systemic disease, pH of skin, and endocrine status.

It was decided to save nail clippings from the fingernails of both men and women having hard and brittle nails. Where possible, these clippings were separated by individuals.