Ever since I was a kid I had learned that the small white marks (dots) on your fingernails indicated a calcium deficiency. In my quest to find answers to some of the symptoms I was having I thought I would look it up to see if it was true or just a myth. After all, the internet does provide us a wealth of knowledge, even if not all of it is a 100% accurate. Thirty years later I still get those small white marks (dots). Based on what I found the white marks on your finger nails are NOT calcium or zinc deficiency! However, I did find some arguments to the contrary, but more interestingly I found many more arguments that it is a myth! The majority indicate the white marks (dots) are common and harmless and don’t indicate any specific vitamin deficiency at all, those little white marks are indications of a minor injury (that probably happened 6 weeks prior to them actually appearing, so it is unlikely that I would even remember injuring them) and they should grow out with the nail. If they don’t,it may be a sign of a more serious condition developing. I snapped a picture and I will check back in a few weeks to make sure they are growing out with the nail. I never really pay much attention to them until I decided to learn more about nail deficiencies. During my research, I found some other valuable information I did not know previously and thought it would be great to summarize and share in a blog. If I had no idea, then more than likely others might not know they can look at their hands to reveal clues about their health. Your fingernails are actually a window into your entire body. If you are like me, I never actually looked through my own window before, that has sense changed!
Below is a list of nail deficiencies that can reveal clues about your overall health and help you identify the actual problem to some of the symptoms you might be having.
Nail pitting – Ice pick-like depressions (Could be a sign of psoriasis or connective tissue disorders)
Rippled Nails -Nail surface is rippled, Discoloration of the nail is common; the skin under the nail can seem reddish-brown. (This may be an early sign of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis)
Nail clubbing – nail tends to be raised and circular and instead of the nail coming straight out it curves down. (Could be a sign of low oxygen in the blood or lung disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, liver disease or AIDS)
Spoon nails – nails curve up on the sides or have a significant dip in the middle of your nail (Could be a sign of iron deficiency, anemia, heart disease or hypothyroidism, or a liver condition known as hemochromatosis, in which your body absorbs too much iron from the food you eat.)
Pale Nails – very pale nails (can sometimes be a sign of a serious illness, such as: Malnutrition, Congestive heart failure, Liver Disease or Anemia.)
White Nails -If the nails are mostly white with darker rims (can indicate liver problems, such as hepatitis)
Terry’s nails, most of the nails appear white except for a narrow pink band at the tip. (Could just be contributed by aging; or could be a more serious condition such as liver disease, congestive heart failure, kidney failure or diabetes.)
Beau’s lines – horizontal lines run cross the nail. (The indentations can appear when growth at the area under the cuticle is interrupted by injury or severe illness such as uncontrolled diabetes, vascular disease, illnesses associated with high fever (ex. scarlet fever), mumps, measles or pneumonia, could also be a sign of zinc or protein deficiency.)
Loose nails – the fingernails become loose and can separate from the nail bed. The separated part of the nail becomes opaque with a white, yellow or green tinge. (Sometimes detached nails are associated with injury or infection. In other cases nail separation is a reaction to a particular drug or consumer product, such as nail hardeners or adhesives, thyroid disease or psoriasis.)
Yellow nails – yellow in color, maybe thick, new growth is slow, might lack cuticle or detail from nail bed in places. (Could be a sign of respiratory or lung disease, such as chronic bronchitis or a fungal infection, thyroid disease, diabetes or psoriasis)
Bluish Nails – Nails with a bluish tint can mean the body isn’t getting enough oxygen. (Could indicate a lung problem, such as emphysema or some heart problems are associated with bluish nails)
Cracked or Split Nails – Dry, brittle nails that frequently crack or split. (Have been linked to thyroid disease) Cracking or splitting combined with a yellowish hue is more likely due to a fungal infection.
Puffy Nail Fold – If the skin around the nail appears red and puffy, this is known as inflammation of the nail fold. It may be the result of lupus or another connective tissue disorder. Infection can also cause redness and inflammation of the nail fold.
Dark Lines Beneath the Nail – Dark lines beneath the nail should be investigated as soon as possible. They are sometimes caused by melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
Gnawed Nails – Biting your nails may be nothing more than an old habit, but in some cases it’s a sign of persistent anxiety that could benefit from treatment. Nail biting or picking has also been linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you can’t stop, it’s worth discussing with your doctor.
Green nails are a sign of bacterial infection
Red streaks in your nail bed are a warning of a heart valve infection
Blueish nails signal low oxygen levels in your blood or poor circulation
Dull nails could mean a vitamin deficiency
And in case you are wondering what healthy nails look like. They are PINK (with none of the above deficiencies)! I don’t know about you but the next time I check out someone’s wedding ring, I will probably be more focused on their nails than the actual ring.
The below website has a picture summary of nail deficiencies, for your reference.
If you are interested in learning more about one, Google it, you will find a vast amount of information for each deficiency listed above. Here is to learning more about your health!
“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”