Lower levels of collagen lead to lower levels of keratin which can make your nails brittle and more prone to breakage. As we age our body’s natural collagen production slows down, with the process beginning around the age of 30.
Keratin is the primary protein that helps to maintain your nails’ integrity and strength, and the main amino acids in keratin are glycine, valine, serine; tryptophan, lysine, methionine, and cysteine. Brittle nails, also known as onychoschizia, can occur when your body is deficient in any of these amino acids. A collagen supplement can boost amino acid levels and help maintain or improve nail health.
Most collagen tablet supplements contain low doses of collagen, typically less than 1,000mg or g. 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.
Collagen decreases the frequency of broken nails
According to a 2017 study published 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 and 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.
Brittle nails affect about a fifth of the population, although it is more prevalent in women. It is a common cause of soft, thin, or splitting nails. When your body lacks the amino acids found in keratin, 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. But when choosing a collagen supplement, make sure to read the ingredients label and confirm that it contains amino acids that make keratin.
Stephen Small is the founder of Clinic Nutrition, which has created a range of high-quality, broad-spectrum liquid supplements that are supplied to clinics, and direct to the consumer.