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Calcium supplements do not help nails

BOSTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) -- Women who take calcium supplements to strengthen their nails are wasting their money, according to a study published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.

As part of an experiment to prevent osteoporosis, Dr. Ian R. Reid of the University of Auckland in New Zealand asked 683 women who had taken calcium supplements or placebo tablets whether their nails had become stronger or more brittle after one year.

"The majority of women in both groups noted no change," he said. "Among those who did note a change, more women in both groups reported improvement than deterioration."

Specifically, 60 percent of the women, whether they were getting the calcium or the placebo, saw no change. About 29 percent said they saw some improvement, regardless of whether they were taking extra calcium or not.

Reid, in a letter to the Journal, said the belief that calcium helps nail growth is widespread, presumably because nails contain calcium, the element that keeps bones strong. However, bones have 800 times more calcium than nails.

The new results "provide no support for the idea that calcium intake alters self-reported nail quality in healthy post-menopausal women," Reid said.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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