Improve the health of your hair, skin, and nails

My fingernails are weak and break easily. Sometimes thin layers of the nail peel off.

I have tried MSM for the past month, but haven’t noticed any difference. Can you recommend a natural remedy to help make my nails strong?

>>You may have the right supplement already. MSM (Methyl Sulphonyl Methane), also known as organic sulphur, can help improve the health of hair, skin, and nails considerably, However, you will need to take a therapeutic dose.

Many MSM supplements recommend 1,000mg daily, whereas I tend to use an absolute minimum of 3,000 daily.

MSM is not a cheap supplement, so even taking a basic dosage adds up quickly. Instead of buying MSM in capsules you can buy MSM crystals (a fine sugar-like powder) in bulk — try your local health store or raw food specialists such as

The crystals are best when taken stirred into a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Take a teaspoon of the crystals in juice each morning and again at lunchtime. The MSM works synergistically with vitamin C, plus the orange juice helps to offset the slightly bitter taste of the crystals.

MSM is present in keratin, which is responsible for making nails hard, and is a crucial component of collagen production. Try taking at this increased dosage with the juice for at least three months, and please let me know if you still don’t notice any improvement.

B vitamins are also important for healthy, strong nails — in particular, Biotin.

This water-soluble B vitamin helps to strengthen nails, increase thickness, and reduce splitting!.

You will need to take around 2,000 – 3,000ug (micrograms; or 2-3mg) daily for best results. Solgar make a 1,000ug (1mg) biotin supplement, available from health stores, where 50 capsules cost €7.84. Take the biotin for six months.

Note: Have your thyroid function checked, particularly if you have other symptoms of hypothyroidism — such as dry skin, premature greying, fatigue, bodily aches, and sensitivity to cold.

* My sister-in-law suffers from gallstones. I remember a cure for these using lemon juice and olive oil. Can you let me know what amounts and how often this remedy needs to be taken?

>> Gallstones cause acute pain, usually in the upper right area of the abdomen where they block off the bile duct. While watching her cholesterol intake can help your sister-in-law to reduce the severity of the symptoms, it is definitely worth doing all she can to help break gallstones down naturally so that they can be passed easily.

There is a lemon juice and olive oil remedy — or a number of variations on a theme using lemon juice and olive oil. I feel this is still very much in the category of ‘folk remedy’ since the evidence is anecdotal.

My favourite remedy for gallstones is the South American herb, Quebra pedra (also known as Chanca piedra or stone-breaker). Not only does it have scientific research backing its effectiveness, it is also free of any side-effects or contra-indications. Quebra Pedra (Phyllanthus niruri) is available from Rio Trading ( where you can purchase this herb either as a tea or in capsule form.


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