Does Drinking Knox Gelatin Help With Peeling Nails?

Hispanic businesswoman painting fingernails at desk
Woman gives herself a manicure while on the phone at her home at a desk wearing pajamas. (Image: Terry Vine/Blend Images/Getty Images)

One of the more enduring beauty myths is that gelatin gives you stronger, healthier nails. This claim may help the manufacturers of Knox gelatin successfully market their product to female consumers; however, drinking Knox gelatin or making any other changes to your diet won't help with peeling nails. Medical experts state that the best way to tackle brittle, peeling nails is to keep them dry and go easy on the manicures.

Knox History

Although drinking Knox gelatin won't help with peeling nails, you may wonder how this particular beauty myth gained such longstanding popularity. In 1890, Charles Knox and his wife, Rose, developed granulated gelatine with an eye toward changing how American women cooked. Charles Knox was a savvy marketer and knew that attaching a specific health benefit to his product would make it more successful with women. Knox Gelatin was derived from the hooves and hides of animals such as cows and pigs. The Knox couple insinuated that by consuming Knox products, women would have nails as strong as a cow's hoof. In the late 1950s, Charles Knox's grandson, John, focused on expanding the Knox line to more health-oriented consumer goods, including a special drink for nails.

Nails and Food

Gelatin does contain some protein. However, if protein were responsible for improving brittle, peeling nails, gelatin would be a poor choice, given the fact that other foods are much higher in protein. Eating or drinking gelatin won't strengthen weak nails, nor will soaking your hands in gelatin. Peeling nails are rarely caused by nutritional deficiencies. As long as you eat a healthy, varied diet abundant in essential nutrients, your diet won't affect nail quality. Peeling nails are more frequently caused by external factors.

Nail Tips

Peeling nails are usually the result of repeatedly getting them wet and letting them dry again. Washing your hands and doing certain household chores — washing dishes, scrubbing the bathtub and watering the lawn — make nails brittle and dry. A better investment than gelatin is a good moisturizer that contains lanolin or alpha-hydroxy acids. Protect your nails by wearing cotton-lined rubber gloves when doing housework. Limit the number of times you change your nail polish and use acetone-free polish remover when you do.

Biotin

Unless you really enjoy eating it, keep Knox Gelatin on the shelf. Vitamin H, or biotin, may be a better bet for peeling, brittle nails. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin and part of B complex; these vitamins encourage healthy skin, eyes and nails. Biotin does result in success for approximately a third of people who take it. However, it may be six months before you notice healthier nails. Your doctor may suggest taking 1 mg of biotin two to three times a day. Although no evidence suggests that biotin interacts with any medications, talk to your treating physician before you use dietary supplements to address your health concerns.

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