Experts Answer: Does Milk Really Stop Your Nails From Cracking?

If you suffer from brittle, peeling or cracked nails, (cow’s) milk is often referred to as the remedy. But does drinking it really help to toughen nails and make them stronger? We ask three experts for their advice.  

by Sonia Haria

Low protein can cause ‘cracking’

“Nail cracking is a condition that is caused by lots of things,” says Raj Bhachu bio-energetic medicine consultant. “Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to brittle nails. Repeated exposure to water, harsh drying chemicals such as nail polish or dish washing detergents can exacerbate an existing condition and cause nails to become brittle and crack. A diet low in protein, and diseases such as hypothyroidism and psoriasis can also cause nail cracking. As such, milk on its own is unlikely to help this condition unless the condition is caused entirely by a calcium deficiency, in which case the symptoms will improve to some extent. This condition requires a total overview of one’s lifestyle – diet, exercise, chemical exposure, supplementation, stress and sleep.”

Think diet, health  and genetics

“Unfortunately there is no simple cure to soft or breaking nails,” says global lead educator for Essie, Rita Remark. “If you suffer from these common nail woes, the chances are you need to consider much more than your milk consumption. The structure of your nails relies on your diet, general health and even genetics. Though vitamin D, calcium and protein, found in milk, are all great for healthy nail development, you need so much more. If you’re looking to get your nails in shape, keep them nourished with cuticle oil, healthy with a diet containing plenty of vitamins, protein and omega fatty acids and in shape with regular manicures.”

Take omega 3  fatty acids for healthy nails 

“Nails can be a good diagnostic tool as they may indicate certain deficiencies or conditions in the body,” says nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik. “However, to say that milk stops your nails cracking isn’t really accurate as there could be any number of reasons why this would be happening. That’s not to say that milk doesn’t provide great nutrients for nail health, such as protein and calcium, but if you are lactose intolerant or have problems digesting dairy then this may in fact have the opposite effect. If you are going to try that hypothesis, though, then make sure you get the organic full fat stuff for a better uptake of the nutrients in the milk itself and take omega 3 fatty acids that also help to support overall nail health.”

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