Nails can tell you a lot about your health

Do you have weak, brittle nails or white spots? What is your body telling you?

Naturopathic doctors are always looking for all pieces of the puzzle when it comes to health. Detailed physical exams can tell you a lot about someone’s wellbeing.

Your health history combined with simple observation of your skin, teeth, tongue and nails can give clues about the inside of your body. However, please remember that this is just one piece of the puzzle and therefore be sure to consult your healthcare provider before you start taking supplements or treating any conditions.

Have a look down at your nails. Do you notice anything remarkable about them? Have they always looked this way or do you notice anything different? Explore their shape, colour, flexibility, strength and the condition of the nail bed. Here is a list of things that your nails may be telling you.

Shape:
•Clubbed nails – chronic respiratory or heart concerns.
•Spoon shaped nails – iron deficiency, thyroid imbalance or autoimmune disease.
•Longitudinal ridges – poor absorption of vitamins/minerals, thyroid concerns.
•Thickened nail – poor circulation, diabetes or fungal infection.
•Multiple horizontal ridging – stress, trauma, chemotherapy treatment.
•Pitting with shiny oil like stain – psoriasis or eczema.

Colour:
•White nails – consider liver, thyroid, diabetes, heart.
•Half white nails – kidney problems.
•Vertical black streak – benign mole/nevus, genetic, melanoma.
•Horizontal white line – Arsenic poisoning, systemic infection, chemotherapy.
•Black/brown/white – fungal or bacterial infection.
•Mid-nail hemorrhage (red splinter) – trauma, heart/stroke, birth control use.
•White marks – zinc or calcium deficiency, nail trauma.
•No white moons – under-active thyroid, genetics.
•Blue moons – excess of copper or silver poisoning.

Other:
•Inflamed nail folds – zinc deficiency, systemic lupus erythematosus.
•Brittle nails that split – dryness, irritating substance (detergent), mineral deficiency.
•Weak nails – nutritional deficiency, protein efficacy, thyroid, low stomach acid, fungal.

As you can see, your nails may be telling you something about your health. You know your body best and therefore it is important to always observe changes. The concept of prevention is important therefore remember to use all the tools and resources around you to help you improve your health.

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