Consisting of several protein layers of a substance called keratin, your fingernails may be small, but they consist of several parts--the plate, folds, bed, cuticle and lunula--which is the white, half-oval portion on the bottom of the nail. The nails hold many cues to your overall health and because slow growth can indicate further medical conditions, it is always wise to know more about your finger nails and how they grow.
Your nails grow from the bottom of your nail--at an area called the nail matrix, located under your cuticle. The growth of new cells in the matrix causes old cells to build up and become harder and stronger. These cells are then pushed out and become visible to the eye.
The finger nails grow at a rate of 0.1 mm per day. If you do the math, this means it takes four to six months for cells to grow from the base of your fingernail to tip of the fingernail. Interestingly enough, toenails grow at a lesser rate--about 1 mm per month, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Speeding Nail Growth: Diet
Many people (particularly nail biters) desire to speed nail growth and may attempt many remedies to encourage growth. If you are hoping to do the same, you should first examine your diet. Nails are made of protein. If you are not eating enough of it, your nails will not grow quickly. Calcium is another important nutritional element associated with nail growth. Eating foods such as yogurt, cheese or milk will be beneficial to your nails.
Speeding Nail Growth: Circulation
Another way to make fingernails grow more quickly is to encourage blood circulation through using your hands more. According to AzTeenMagazine.com, whatever hand you write with most frequently experiences faster fingernail growth than the other hand. Ways to engage your hands include frequent typing, exercises that involve catching or playing a musical instrument.
Other Growth Facts
As a person ages, his nails may begin to grow more slowly. According to hooked-on-nails.com, a person's rate of nail growth diminishes after age 20.
The longer your finger, the faster the nail grows. Therefore, your middle finger grows the fastest and the thumb the slowest.
Heredity also has a lot to do with how fast your nails grow, according to hooked-on-nails.com.