Paper thin fingernails

I got hit with GBS in 2007. During first two years I noticed hair thinning and weak fingernails.

Now, eight years later, my fingernails are worse than ever. I kid you not, they are as thin as paper. Some are so thin, if I press lightly in the middle of a nail, it splits across and bleeds through. Every time any of my nails comes into contact with material (duvet, clothing etc) they catch and rip, crack, bleed etc. I have nail files everywhere because I have to constantly file them down to the point that they are in-grown to prevent them catching and splitting at the ends.

It's a living nightmare, filing my nails 50 times per day. I live with a nail file in my hand as I know I'm going to need it within 15 minutes or so.

I've tried every type of nail hardener, treatment, varnish, strengthener etc. Also tried all the usual vitamins and nutrients that are supposed to help. I've spent hundreds of pounds on every possible thing and right now I'm on the verge of trying to figure out how to amputate them once and for all so I don't have to live with the constant hassle of trying to deal with them.

Anyone else had this?

Anyone know of a solution that WORKS?

I found this intriguing article on pinterest.

Vitamin B12 deficiency will cause your brain to shrink, you may lose memory or experience confusion. One indication that you might be deficient is the appearance of lines or ridges on your fingernails and/or the disappearance of the moons at the bottoms of your fingernails. Methylcobalamin is the bioactive form, so look on your label to make sure you have that form of B12. Also, watch your peripheral neuropathy start to ease with B12, it is nerve food!

I just want to quickly pipe in - when I was discharged from the hospital, 3 mos. after diagnosis, my nails were 2-3 times thicker than usual. A dermatologist told me serious illness wreaks havoc on skin, nails, and hair. It took months for them to grow out. Now they seem to be ok.

My nails have always been weak, but in 2009 when I came down with GBS they were far worse. In 2010 I moved and started seeing a new doctor who put me on a monthly B12 shot along with B12 and D vitamins daily. Since then my nails have improved tremendously. Don’t get me wrong, they still have ridges and aren’t as strong as I would like, but they are much improved from 5 years ago. Look into having your B12 levels (blood test) checked. It sure sounds like some sort of deficency to me.

Thank you all. I had a blood test a few weeks back and had a vitamin D deficiency. But then so do over 50% of white folks and 90% of Asian folk living in the UK due to lack of sun and the fact that there is so little vitamin D in so little food groups.

Reluctantly, I am now taking a 10 microgram dose (lowest you can get) daily (with food).

I rarely take prescription drugs and never buy over the counter either. I just don't believe in the pharmaceutical industry for the most part. For me, if I have a headache, it's my body telling me there is something wrong, or warning me somehow and I don't want to mask my body's work by taking a Nurofen to trick my body into thinking everything is ok.

Anyway, flat rock bob, I'll pop along to the money-for-old-rope shop (Holland & Barrett) and try your vitamin B12 suggestion and see how my nails look in six months when they have replaced themselves under new B12 therapy.

RAC_Cherry, as you backed this B12 and the fact that you also take vitamin D makes me want to try it more.

For the record, I'm based in Cambridgeshire, UK, aged 48 and got hit when I was in Belgium in November 2007. I was not bad enough to be on a vent and was in hospital for one week, unable to get out of bed for first four days, then shuffled along hanging onto wall for a few weeks after that.

It was a s••t thing to happen to me as before I was a classical concert pianist. It hit me harder mentally than it did physically (made a 75% recovery with peripheral neuropathy and muscle wast in hands and forearms). One minute I was racing through Beethoven piano sonatas and Bach preludes and fugues, the next I can barely thimble my way through slow Chopin nocturnes :(

Though it has been eight years, my mental condition has got worse in that my depression is worse than ever, I'm more volatile than ever (though I was always somewhere on the bipolar/autism spectrum) and now I simply don't ever want to see/meet anybody. I'm something of a recluse now, living on my own, which is nothing less that what I deserve. I feel I got GBS as a cruel and wicked punishment for something I did back in 2007.

I'm not looking for any sympathy here so please, no 'stay strong' etc, I've had that a zillion times over the years. I have choices, I simply chose to live in the dark. I have my own saying, 'when you live in the dark, you can't see your own black shadow.' For me, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, I've lost my music, which was my soul. These days, I'm just trying to struggle through this miserable life until I die, but I'd rather struggle through it with as few hindrances as possible i.e. stronger nails would be a load off.

Have you had your thyroid checked? Thin nails are one symptom of hypothyroidism which can be autoimmune. I was hypo for years and then suddenly went hyper when I got GBS.

Thank you, hautemess. I'll get this checked, along with vitamin B12.

I understand your frustration - actually that is not the right word - anger is better.


-- I always wanted to be a musician -- I never was good enough to "make it". I was always 2nd clarinet, the only one strong enough to play baritone sax, or youngest ( at 58 yrs old ) member of the McPherson Highlanders Pipeband, I was average - not gifted.

It sounds like you had that real spark of talent and that you were able to say - at least for a time - that you were a gifted musician.

I refuse to go through life thinking -- "Life is crap and then you die."

I am not saying stay strong -- I am saying - enjoy the fact that you have a gift even if your body will not let you use it. You are still a musician.

Hello there in Cambridgeshire,

I think one the greatest disservices the medical community has done around GBS, is to asure us that "most people with GBS recover completely." I have yet to meet anyone with GBS who has recovered completely. It is the dramatic onset of the disease that make it seem like one has recovered completely.

I also had hair loss and nail issues with Guillian-Barre Syndrome. I had GBS in 2012 following food poisoning that I either got in London or Paris while visiting the UK and Europe. I had just found my long lost brother in Cirencester so this trip as a celebration of finding him and my 30 anniversary. So contracting GBS at the end of my trip was unbelievable calamity.

I won't go into my symptoms only to say that I had brain stem involvement with the GBS with breathing problems and facial paralysis ans well as not being able to walk etc. It sound like you had brain stem involvement as well. GBS affect the peripheral nervous system which is everything outside of the brain and spine. So why wouldn't it also affect some people hair follicles and nail beds. I belong to the Guillain-Barre Foundation in Canada and I have also come across others who had this problem with hair and nails.

I remember when GBS was first hitting I had massive tingling of my scalp, my hands went completely numb as well. Later on I was pulling hand fulls of hair out as if I had chemo-therapy. I lost at least 1/3 to half my hair and I had very thick hair. My hands were totally numb so I couldn't use them for quite a while. but I do have some nail thinning as well and a kind failure of side cuticles to adhere properly.

I am a sculptor with a MFA degree from UCLA, I am also a writer. So I can relate to you frustration at having this disease stop you from doing your life's work. It is devastating. I also became very depressed.

I am doing better but by no means recovered. My wrists, ankles, elbows and hip joints are still a lot weaker than they were pre GBS. I still do biweekly physiotherapy. I also work with an occupational therapist to manage the muscle fatigue and speech therapist for the swallowing problems. In addition I hired myself a personal trainer. (I am on a disability pension so I have a limited income but I knew I needed that.

As well, after reading a lot of research. I started focusing on substantially upping my micronutrient intake. The closest guide to what I do is in Dr. Joel Fuhrman's autoimmune diet. It isn't his research, he is just capitalizing on the research but he gives the simplest instructions on what to do. I put my own thing together but it is pretty close to what Fuhrman suggests. Basically I am bombing myself with micronutrients through my diet with massive amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds nuts and mushrooms. No pharmaceuticals or vitamins except Vit. D3 and B12. And I don't eat any refined or packaged foods.

So between the change in diet and the strength training I have made huge strides. I can type again. I can hold a screw drive and a chisel. I can draw again. I can do something for foe than a few minutes with out the crippling fatigue. If anyone had told me that subtantially increasing my micronutrients and working with weights I would have told they were f**ked.

It took about 3 months of diet and strength training, but it is working. Best of all I am no longer depressed, I feel hopeful again. I have written several shot stories and have just finished the first draft of a novel. I have just moved into a new studio space and I am starting to make work again. And my hair is almost as thick as it was. My nails are much strong and no longer flake and crack.

I hope this is in some way helpful to you.

While looking for a solution to the same problem your having . I came across this on Pinterest.

Its called "Recipe for Healthy Nails"

4 drops of wheat germ oil

2 drops Frankincense

2 Drops of Myrrh

2 Drops lemon oil

1 drop wintergreen

mix it all together , then apply one drop 2-3 times a day. I use a cue-tip.

I have been searching for two years for something to help my once strong nails. Just started trying this a few days ago, so can't report on results.

Believe me , when I say I feel your pain. My hands are no good, after 5 years can barely type still can't write/print .

But I'am better then I was and stubborn enough to fight back at this B---h .

Be Strong