Fingernails take approximately 4 to 6 months to regrow completely, whereas toenails require 12 to 18 months. Nails are made up of a protein called keratin - the same structural protein that makes skin and hair. The growth rate for nails is a combined function of your physical health, age and genetics. Maintaining proper nutrition can actually promote nail growth. Dietary deficiencies or illness will impede growth or cause malformation, discoloration and change in texture. Leading a healthy lifestyle that includes a well balanced diet will help you to preserve the essential functions that your nails provide. Nails not only help us to pick-up and handle things, but they also protect and support the tissues of the fingers and toes.