What do your nails say about your health?

What do your nails say about your health?



Index of Diseases / Health Conditions ... Medicinal Foods, Herbs, Spices & Household Items

The below provides a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. Any treatment protocol should be discussed with a qualified healthcare practitioner ... Please refer to: Medical & Legal Disclaimer.


Supplements for Healthy Nails



What do your nails say about your health (the following is excerpted from - and added to - Bate's, a medical text book):

  • Black streaks:
    • Can be a sign of heart trouble.
  • Blue nails:
    • Bluish nail beds can be a sign of respiratory problems, such as emphysema or even asthma.
    • A dark blue line in the nail can be a sign of skin cancer.
  • Brittle nails:
    • Anemia
    • Menopause / hormonal imbalance
    • Thyroid problems
    • Impaired kidney function or Liver Disease
    • Circulation problems
    • Infection
    • Dietary Deficiencies: Vitamin C, calcium, folic acid, protein, iron and fat are needed to build strong healthy nails
    • Stress and anxiety can also slow nail growth and lead to weak or brittle nails
    • Treatment for Brittle Nails:
      • A balanced diet rich in the nutrients needed for healthy nails (please refer to above "dietary deficiencies" will help grow strong nails.
      • Almonds contain fatty acids that are shown to improve nail growth. Eating as few as 6 almonds a day can produce visible results
      • If stress is the cause, stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation can help
      • Menopause: Techniques for stress reduction, such as yoga or meditation, combined with regular exercise and an improved diet, can be a great natural menopause treatment. Diet is also important. Studies have shown that diets rich in foods that promote estrogen levels (such as soy, apples, alfalfa, cherries, potatoes, rice, wheat and yams) are great menopause treatments.
  • Chipping, peeling, cracking or breaking Nails:
    • Indicator of nutritional deficiency and insufficient hydrochloric acid and protein.
    • Minerals are also needed.
  • Darkening of nails:
    • May be a sign of insufficient vitamin B12.
  • Dark lines under the nail:
    • May indicate melanoma.


  • Depression in the nails:
    • Possible sign of psoriasis.
  • Downward curved nail ends:
    • Possible heart, liver, or respiratory problems. Possible iron deficiency.

  • Dry and brittle nails:
    • May indicate a lack of vitamin A, calcium or iron.

  • Fragile Nails with Horizontal and Vertical Ridges:
    • Vitamin B deficiency

  • Excessive dryness, rounded and curved nail ends and darkened nails:
    • Insufficient intake of vitamin B12

  • White Half Moons / Disappearing:
    • If you have had half moons on your nails and then they disappear, this signals a cancer risk. People who have this sign may also feel cold.

  • Half white, half pink nails:
    • Can indicate kidney problems.

  • Hang nails:
    • Can be a sign of a lack of protein, folic acid, or vitamin C.

  • Horizontal ridges (sometimes referred to Beau’s lines):
    • Can indicate circulatory problems, such as Raynaud’s disease, or diabetes.
    • Can also be caused by a severe illness, like a high fever or pneumonia
    • Can indicate physical or mental stress.

  • Inversion of the nail:
    • Can indicate lung problems.

  • Nails separated from the nail bed:
    • A nail coming off the nail bed can be an indication of thyroid disorder, psoriasis, or an allergic reaction to nail products

  • Nails raised at the base ("clubbing") with small white ends:
    • show a respiratory disorder such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. ("Clubbing" with lung disorders is one condition of the nails that is recognized by Standard Medicine.)

  • Pale, white nail beds:
    • Can be an indicator of anemia or liver problems.

  • Pits in the nails:
    • Possible sign of psoriasis.

  • Red beds:
    • a possible indicator of heart disease

  • Reddish-brown spots:
    • Can indicate a deficiency of folic acid, protein or vitamin.

  • Red lines at the base of the nail fold:
    • Can be a possible sign of lupus or connective tissue disease.

  • Ridges:
    • Possible infection.
    • Vertical ridges can be caused by iron deficiency, poor absorption of vitamins and nutrients. They can be an indicator of overall poor health or they could be a sign of kidney trouble.
    • Vertical ridges, as well as bumpy nails, can also indicate a tendency to develop arthritis.
    • Ridges running horizontally across the nail can indicate physical or mental stress.
    • Can indicate circulatory problems, such as Raynaud’s disease, or diabetes.
    • Can also be caused by a severe illness, like a high fever or pneumonia.

  • Rippling of the nail surface:
    • May indicate psoriasis or arthritis.

  • Splitting nails:
    • may indicate hydrochloric acid deficiency.

  • Vertical ridges:
    • Not usually a cause for concern; however these ridges could be a sign of iron deficiency.

  • White, pale nail beds:
    • Can be an indicator of anemia or liver problems.

  • White lines across the nail:
    • May indicate a liver disease, possible heart disease, high fever, or arsenic poisoning.

  • White bands:
    • Can indicate protein deficiency.

  • White spots:
    • White spots or white lines could be symptoms of a serious disorder - but in most cases are caused by iron or zinc deficiency. To rule out a serious disease, it's best to see a doctor who should also test your levels of iron and zinc. Zinc supplements are found in any drugstore. Iron intake should be monitored by your physician.

  • Yellow nails:
    • Can indicate internal disorders long before other symptoms appear. Some of these are problems with the lymphatic system and liver disorders.
    • Yellow, thick, slow-growing nails are a possible indicator of respiratory problems.
    • Yellow-tinted nails with blue color at the base may be a sign of diabetes.

Supplements for Healthy Nails:

Of all the nutritional supplements touted for treating nails that split, break, and peel, only one has gotten a universal thumbs-up from science: biotin.

Biotin, a B-complex vitamin, has long been used to treat damaged hooves on horses. Since our nails are made of the same stuff (keratin), it turns out the vitamin works for us, too.

  • When dermatologists first put biotin to the test in humans nearly 20 years ago, they found that extra biotin intake could increase nail thickness up to 25 percent in women who had soft or brittle nails.
  • One study used 2.5 milligrams of biotin daily to help strengthen nails, which is quite a bit -- more than most diets and multivitamins contain.

So if you have soft nails, first ask your doctor how best to increase your biotin intake safely. Mehmet Oz, MD and Michael Roizen, MD, recommend getting 300 micrograms of biotin each day.

However, your diet is always your best and safest source of vitamins and minerals, so if you want to strengthen your nails naturally, try eating more biotin-rich nuts (peanuts, filberts, cashews, and almonds), eggs, soybeans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, fish (haddock and salmon), or vegetables like chard or carrots. But if your nails are still brittle, investigate a supplement with your doctor.




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