Gelatin For Long, Strong Nails: Fact or Fiction?


Family Savvy asked a dermatologist if the claim that gelatin used for long, strong nails was fact or fiction; here is her response.


gelatin for long strong nails fact or fiction?


Dr. Jo Herzog  discusses whether gelatin makes nails grow stronger and longer in response to the following question from a Family Savvy reader.


Gelatin for Long, Strong Nails: Fact or Fiction?

QUESTION: Dr. Jo, my friend insists that her long, strong nails are due to the gelatin supplement that she drinks every day. Is this fact or ficition? Her nails are lovely, but is it gelatin or good genes?

gelatin for long strong nails fact or fiction?
Dr. Jo Herzog

Hi, this is a question that I get asked often by my patients who have heard this claim for years.

Gelatin for long, strong nails? I doubt it. I think that eating or drinking gelatin for long, hard nails is more fiction than fact.

Many years ago, the Knox family developed and promoted the use of granulated gelatin. When they promoted the use of their gelatin, they advertised it almost like  a nutritional supplement to strengthen nails.

Gelatin was made from animal by-products, and many believed that these would help make those that ingested them have strong nails, like animals had strong hoofs. I don’t think that there was ever any scientific evidence to prove this, and it is not believed to be true today.

Our nails are made of keratin, and ingesting animal collagen will not strengthen them. However, there are things that we can do to have stronger nails.

Most damage to nails comes from outside sources, not actually from our diet. If we have a reasonably healthy diet, it should be enough to support our nails. How we care for our nails throughout the day is the most important factor in how long and strong they will be.

Having our hands in chemicals and water for long periods of time will make nails dry, brittle, and prone to splitting and cracking. We need to treat our nails like we treat our skin and trap in the moisture with good moisturizers. Those with lanolin and alpha hydroxy acids usually do well with the nails. Apply gloves if you will be in water or chemicals for a long period of time. After bathing or washing dishes, try to remember to moisturize your nails like you do your hands.

As for jello…if you like it, eat it anyway. Sugar free jello is a great dessert with very few calories. I would love some right now, with whipped cream, of course (so much for the calories).

Hope this helps. If you have more questions, send them my way.

Dr. Jo


Hi, it’s Jamie again! I am so thankful to Dr. Herzog for setting the record straight on gelatin and nails. I especially love her tips for the REAL way to keep nails strong.

I follow Dr. Jo’s advice on moisturizer (I slather it on after every hand washing) and gloves (I keep two kinds for kitchen use). Below are the products that I have used/still use and recommend.

I hope this helps! If you want to hear of a savvy way that I use gelatin (for my hair), you can read about it in this post.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!!

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  1. For me gelatin definitely makes my nails grow faster. I take can 600mg of Gelatin supplement for 3 days and notice faster growth. As for making them stronger, it does not. They actually break just as quickly as they grow.

  2. I think gelatin does strengthen nails. I have proof. My nails are thin and weak and I never could grow them past the tips of my fingers because they would split or break off easily. Well several years ago I decided to eat sf jello for dessert to curb my sweet tooth. I would eat it every day and sometimes twice a day. After a year of this I decided to grow my nails again because my cousin always had such pretty nails. I bought pretty nail polish and gave myself a manicure. As the days and weeks went by I noticed my nails were not breaking or peeling. They were getting longer and longer. My nails were at least an lunch long from base to tip. Other women noticed and would say they liked my nails. First time in my life I had long nails. The only thing is when I stopped eating gelatin they slowly reverted back to what they were. I hadn’t started out to eat gelatin to grow nails. It was to curb my sweet tooth.

  3. The only two times I’ve had strong nails was when I was eating yogurt every day, and now, when I’m taking a ton of supplements (encapsulated in gelatin caps) daily (no biotin or B-7 supplements) for the past 5 months. So, either the supplements are containing something else that is making them strong, or it’s the gelatin, because I’m actually eating LESS yogurt in the past few months, not more.

    Gelatin comes from horse hooves. Human fingernails are sort of our version of hooves. I’ll stick to my ‘wives tales’ until I get a different result. There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet these days designed to steer people away from natural products and towards chemical or pharmaceutical solutions. Gelatin is harmless; try it to see if it works for you (need many months to see any solid result as your nails need to make fresh nail and then grow to the tips to really be noticeable.) If gelatin is actually helping grow strong nails, it might even be an argument for the non-vegan capsules, then you just get your gelatin when you’re taking your supplements, no jello required.

  4. Hi I’m just wondering, it be ok to boil a cup of water put a pack of Knox gelatin in it and then drink it straight is that acceptable or prohibited?

  5. Gelatin most certainly does strengthens nails. I am living proof of it. I highly recommend gelatin if you want strong nails.

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