GW asks: "What can I do to stop or prevent nails from
splitting? Is the old remedy of gelatin just a myth?"
to dermatology experts, nails can split for a variety of
reasons. Nutritionally, protein may be the most critical for
strong nails. Amino acids from foods such as fish, chicken,
soy, beans, eggs, yogurt and numerous other foods provide the
material to make keratin, the tough protein fiber from which
our nails are made. Another nutrient, vitamin D, regulates the
production of these fibers, according to the Micronutrient
Information Center at Oregon State University. If you have a
low level of vitamin D, your nails might suffer.
skin, our nails can become dry and brittle if they fail to get
adequate moisture. Drinking water and other fluids helps this
process from the inside; using moisturizers and wearing gloves
when appropriate can protect our nails on the outside.
nails and skin need some fat, too, to stay moist and supple.
Essential fats ó those that must be provided in our diet ó
are found in nuts and seeds, vegetable oils and fish. An
inadequate intake of essential fats results in dry skin and
nails, say experts.
deficiency can also cause nails to become dry and brittle. Low
levels of iron can cause nails to curve like the inside of a
spoon. This condition is called "koilonychia" or
research suggests that the vitamin biotin may help strengthen
weak or brittle fingernails. We generally need about 30
milligrams of biotin a day for optimal health. A few small
studies used daily doses of 2500 milligrams for six months or
more. Good sources of biotin include avocados, eggs, liver and
way, in case you are wondering, our fingernails tend to get
thinner as we age; our toenails get thicker. And our
fingernails naturally grow faster than our toenails.
is indeed an old remedy, harking back to the 1950s. Gelatin is
actually collagen, a protein substance found in the bones,
skin and connective tissue of animals. Itís not a complete
protein, however, so gelatin as the sole therapy for building
strong nails would be like trying to build a house without
nails. Historically, according to the Knox gelatine folks and
other sources, using their product for strengthening nails was
a great American advertising success, not particularly based
on tried and true science.
short, the old advice holds true: Eat a balanced diet from all
the major nutrient groups to assure your nails stay strong. A
deficiency of any nutrient can affect the growth of our nails
in some way, say experts.
gloves when you wash the dishes.