The Nails

The fingernails and toenails are skin appendages and originate from the epidermis and dermis. Although they are directly connected to the skin, they look different from each other and have special functions. The nail plate is formed by differentiated keratinocytes of the nail matrix. While a fingernail takes about six months to be completely renewed, a toenail takes 12 to 18 months. The specific growth rate depends on the length of the finger or toe. It slows down with age or existing vascular diseases, and can even be interrupted due to an injury, a disease or certain medications.

Source of figure: Frank Geisler (MediDesign)

Fragile fingernails, characterized by frequent breaking, tearing at the side edges, or peeling of the surface are common particularly among women. A disturbed moisture-binding (hygroscopic) capacity of the nail plate due to a lack of keratin, keratin-associated proteins, or lipids may be the reason behind fragile fingernails [van de Kerkhof et al. 2005]. This is further promoted by dehydrating conditions, e.g., dishwashing, cleaning, or exposure to chemicals such as nail polish remover. Notably, nail problems may also indicate an underlying disease.

Clinical Studies

As several reports had suggested that Bioactive Collagen Peptides could improve nail health, Hexsel and colleagues initiated a study with 25 healthy women aged 18 to 50 [Hexsel et al. 2017]. The volunteers received 2.6 g Bioactive Collagen Peptides daily for 24 weeks. Nail quality, nail growth, and the frequency of torn or broken nails were recorded four weeks before the start of the intervention, 12 and 14 weeks after its start, and four weeks after the end of the intervention. For most of the participants, a considerable improvement in all parameters could be observed even four weeks after the end of the intervention, and 80% were either satisfied or very satisfied with the results.

Last update: May 2022