Battling brittle nails?
The primary protein that helps to maintain your nails’ integrity and strength is keratin, and the main amino acids in keratin are: Glycine; Valine; Serine; Tryptophan; Lysine; Methionine; Cysteine. Brittle nails (onychoschizia), which affects 1 in 5 of us, can occur when your body is deficient in any of these amino acids, and it is a common cause of soft, thin, or splitting nails.
A collagen supplement can boost amino acid levels and help maintain or improve nail health. As we age our body’s natural collagen production slows down, with the process beginning from around the age of 30. Lower levels of collagen lead to lower levels of keratin which can make your nails brittle and more prone to breakage.
Most collagen tablet supplements contain low doses of collagen, typically less than 1,000mg or 1g. There is no clear guidance on the optimum daily dose of collagen but higher strength, typically 8,000mg to 10,000mg (8g-10g) per serving per day will be adequate for most people. How can collagen help improve your nail health?
Collagen is a structural protein and a crucial component of your skin, hair, nails, bones, muscles and other body parts. It contains almost all the amino acids that make keratin. Some foods (such as animal skin and bone broth) can naturally boost collagen levels in your body. However, it might not be possible for everyone to take these foods – for example, long-term or high intake of red meat may increase the risk of diabetes; heart disease; colon cancer. Let’s take a look at the potential benefits of collagen supplements for brittle nails, based on recent scientific evidence.
Collagen decreases frequency of broken nails According to a 2017 article in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, a 6-month oral administration of collagen peptides promoted nail growth and decreased the frequency of broken nails in women aged between 18 and 50.
Collagen reduces nail brittleness and peeling In an 8-week study, participants receiving a supplement containing collagen, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and lipids had significant improvement in:
• Nail cracking
• Nail brittleness
• Nail softness
• Nail peeling
Collagen significantly improves nail roughness
The roughness of the fingernail plate improved significantly in those who took a fish-derived type 1 collagen hydrolysate for 12 weeks. So, taking a collagen supplement can really help improve the health of your nails. For example, Cutizana from Clinic Nutrition is a liquid collagen supplement sold in salons and online.
It contains 10,000mg (10g) of type 1 & 3 collagen to support skin, hair and nails including all the amino acids for keratin production. In addition, Cutizana contains Biotin, Hyaluronic Acid, Silica and Vitamin C for a complete beauty supplement. Summary Collagen contains most amino acids found in keratin, the building block of your nails.
When your body lacks these amino acids, your nails can become brittle and rough, resulting in breakage or splitting. So, taking a collagen supplement can safely and effectively improve brittle nails and boost nail health.
Do remember that when choosing a collagen supplement, make sure to read the ingredients label and confirm that it contains amino acids that make keratin.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephen Small is founder of Clinic Nutrition Ltd, which has created a range of high quality, broad spectrum liquid supplements that are supplied to clinics, and direct to the consumer.