by Nils Osmar. Feb. 10, 2022
Epigenetic tests are great for those who can afford them. (I’m hoping to take some myself soon). But for those who want a test that measures how rapidly you’re aging which costs nothing, one approach – odd as it sounds – is to take a look at how fast your fingernails are growing.
From One Study:
“The linear nail growth rate is a simple, inexpensive, noninvasive technique for the measurement of aging.
“The rate of linear nail growth decreases 50% over the life spans of both dogs and humans. In the beagle, which has a life span 20% that of man, the rate of decrease is 5 times faster than in man…. There are circadian and multiple-year biorhythms of the rate of linear nail growth. There are approximately 7-yr periods of slow decline that alternate with 7-yr periods of more rapid decline.”
In a Nutshell
- Nail growth slows slightly over time.
- On the average, fingernails grow about 3 mm (0.1 inches) per month..
- By the time we reach the age of 25, the rate will begin slowing about 0.5% per year.
- By the time we’re 85, your fingernails may only be growing 2 mm in length per month.
- Of course other factors can also affect quality of, and rate of growth of, our fingernails.
- Taking sulfur (as MSM) has been found to speed nail growth. So has taking collagen.
- From a study about collagen: “Bioactive collagen peptides treatment promoted an increase of 12% nail growth rate and a decrease of 42% in the frequency of broken nails. Additionally, 64% of participants achieved a global clinical improvement in brittle nails, and 88% of participants experienced an improvement 4 weeks post-treatment. The majority of participants (80%) agreed that the use of BCP improved their nails’ appearance, and were completely satisfied with the performance of the treatment.”
- So the “nail test” isn’t perfect, as it can be influenced by changes to your diet.
- But if you notice yours are growing more rapidly (and looking better) after starting an anti-aging protocol, and you haven’t recently increased your collagen or sulfur intake, the studies suggest that it could (possibly) be an indication that what you’re doing may be working.
- I’ve been irritated lately that my fingernails have been growing so fast that I literally have to trim them every day. If I let them go for a week, they’ll be way too long. They never used to be that way.
- Also, the ridges I used to have in my nails have vanished; they’re smooth now, and very strong.
- This study suggests that instead of being bugged about, I could look at it as a (free) test of how I’m aging (particularly since I haven’t changed my intake of collagen and don’t take MSM).
- Other indications that my protocol is accomplishing what I’d like for it to are that my energy is amazing; my mood is great; I’m gaining muscle steadily at the age of 69; I haven’t needed a new glasses prescription in several years; and my mind is as sharp at clear as ever. Those are anecdotal of course, and not a substitute for epigenetic testing (which I will be embarking on soon).
- David Sinclair mentioned this phenomenon in a recent podcast. I’m not saying it’s as reliable as a test that would cost you a few hundred dollars, but it would be interesting to take one of those tests; take a look at your nail growth, and see if in your case there’s a correlation.
“Are You Serious?”
- Kind of – but with a lot of caveats.
- It’s generally accepted that the growth rate slows to a crawl as we age. So it could, in theory, actually turn out to be a useful (and totally free) test. As an adjunct way of testing, it has the advantages of being fast and free.
- But it’s obviously not a substitute for a blood test to measure your rate and degree of methylation.
- The Effect of Aging on the Rate of Linear Nail Growth
- Nail calcium content in relation to age and bone mineral density
- Growth rate of human fingernails and toenails in healthy American young adults
- Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails