Everyone knows your fingernails can indicate whether you are in good health or not. Right?
Well actually, there are plenty of people with health issues that have normal looking nails, so that is not entirely true.
And there can be a significant number of ways that fingernails of healthy people can look different as well. So while paying attention to changes in your nails is valuable, assuming that there is a health problem may be premature.
Let’s discuss other myths and truths about our nails.
Supplements can help grow strong fingernails.
According to WebMD, studies show taking biotin will help strengthen brittle nails. There is no recommended daily dose of the supplement but if taken regularly, it may help grow stronger nails.
Garlic on the other hand (couldn’t resist) has not been found in studies to help grow longer nails.
Some women swear that rubbing garlic on their nails or brushing on clear nail polish containing chopped up garlic has helped their nails grow longer. That simply is not true.
WebMD suggested that since garlic contains selenium and low selenium levels have caused nails to weaken, that this is how this myth might have come along.
Moisturizers will help keep fingernails long.
Keeping nails moist can help prevent them from breaking, particularly in the fall and winter months when the air is dryer and nails tend to crack or split.
Painting on a thin coat of clear nail polish can also help hold in moisture. So giving your nails increased moisture will help with their growth.
It is a good idea to use hand cream on your hands and fingernails after washing them. Using rubber gloves when washing dishes and wearing mittens or gloves when outside in the cold will offer more protection.
Eating a high protein diet will help grow your fingernails faster.
Being deficient in protein may cause weakened and slow growing nails but boosting your protein intake will not make them grow faster. Here in the United States, there are few people who are truly protein deficient.
Some people have suggested drinking high protein drinks will make nails grow more quickly, but don’t believe them, that is not true.
Eating or soaking your fingernails in gelatin will help grow longer stronger nails.
This myth has been around forever. Gelatin is made of processed collagen. Collagen is a protein that provides strength and elasticity to skin, cartilage, tendons and ligaments in the body.
Fingernails and toenails are made up of keratin, which is structural protein but it is not related to collagen.
In general, your nails do need some special care to help them grow longer and stronger but there are no quick schemes to keep them that way.
If you have concerns about your nails' appearance, go see a dermatologist and let him determine if there are any other health problems going on that would affect their growth.
Can You Make Your Nails Grow Faster? WebMD. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
Fingernails: Do's and don'ts for healthy nails. Mayoclinic.com. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
A Handful of Fingernail Myths. MSN Heathy Living. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele are at www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles
Edited by Jody Smith