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Gelatin Won't Strengthen Nails

In the 1890s, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Knox decided to go into business together to sell dried gelatin. Mr. Knox was a salesman who knew a product sells better if you can find a particular use, such as curing a disease or condition.

The resourceful Knoxes advertised that gelatin contains protein and lack of protein causes deformed dry nails. So they claimed that gelatin can be used to treat thick, dry, deformed nails. The image they created was that cow's hooves are very strong, so eating gelatin made from cow's hooves would make your nails strong. You can still buy Knox's gelatin and many people today still believe that gelatin can be used to treat deformed nails.

Gelatin does contain some protein, but lack of protein is not the cause of brittle or cracked nails. Lack of moisture usually is. Even if lack of protein caused brittle nails, gelatin would be a very poor choice. Today gelatin is made from soybeans or slaughterhouse waste and is poor source of protein. You can meet your needs for protein with many different foods such as beans, meat, fish, chicken or nuts. If you have badly deformed nails, check with a dermatologist to see if you have a fungus infection that can be cured. If you have nails that crack and break, you probably have a genetic defect that causes your nails to lose water. The most effective treatment is to paint them with nail polish to slow the loss of moisture, and to keep them very short so they are less likely to be forced from their nail beds.

Checked 9/23/10

June 2nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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