What your fingernails say about your health, part 2 of 2

Today , let’s talk about what your nails can tell you about your health, according to several sources I studied. (They include American Academy of Dermatology; the Arthritis Foundation; Mayo Clinic; Fawcett, Linford, and Stulberg’s “Nail Abnormalities: Clues to Systemic Disease,” Dr. Andrew Weil; and Web MD.)


Cracked or split nails: thyroid disease (or, with yellow nails, a fungal infection)


Nail separates itself from the nail bed (“Plummer’s Nail): can lead to bacterial and yeast infection, often indicative of low thyroid


Spoon nails, look concave and look scooped away from the finger: another sign of hypothyroidism


Red, puffy skin around the nail: lupus or connective tissue disorders, or it could be an infection


Dark lines beneath the nail: be seen immediately, can be a sign of melanoma skin cancer



Splinter hemorrhages: thin red or reddish brown lines under the nails: can be a sign of heart valve infection or vasculitis


Very pale color: nutritional deficiency, heart disease, anemia


White nails: liver problems, jaundice, possibly even hepatitis (not always!)


Yellow nails: fungal infection (nail bed may retract, and nails may thicken/crumble), thyroid disease, lung disease, diabetes or psoriasis are also possibilities. Of course, if you paint your nails for a long period of time, they will yellow as well. Dip your nails in lemon juice to overcome that. And if discoloration continues, diabetes is a condition to evaluate, especially if you also have symptoms like increased thirst and urination.


Bluish nails: oxygen deprivation, asthma, low hemoglobin, lung infection, possible pneumonia, some cardiac issues

rippled nails

Rippled or pitted nails: autoimmune conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis, sometimes skin under the nail is reddish/brown


White spots on your nails: I was told many years ago that this is a calcium deficiency, but research uncovered that this isn’t true. It’s a sign of past injury to the base of your nail, and doesn’t show up for many weeks. They can also indicate a reaction to nail polish or hardeners or can be a symptom of a mild infection, according to Dr. Weil.

20 thoughts on “What your fingernails say about your health, part 2 of 2

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  1. Great article! What about Vertical ridges on your fingernails? Looking forward to meeting you in Nashville soon! Marsha

  2. I I thought the horizontal white lines under my nail were zinc defciency? I was told this by my naturopath. My blood serum zinc tested good though. Anyone else heard this?

  3. Hi Robyn,

    I’ve looked up nails myself. I’m just wondering if you came across this fact: Vertical ridges seem to alright as far as one’s health is concerned. It is horizontal ridges that need attention and I suspect good nutrition.
    Still wondering about vertical ridges (something I have) though. And I have it in my left hand nails and thumb of my right hand. I too eat raw. I just learned that iron in leafy greens is best assimilated in the presence of vitamin C (citrus, berries).

  4. Hi, Robyn, I didn’t quite see the picture of my nails in your line up. I have soft, easily peeled nails. I purchased some of the minerals you talked about and am looking forward to seeing if this does the trick. I sure hope so, I’ve had nails like this for way too long. I dream of being able to have decent nails that don’t tear easily.

  5. I have read from a few sources that white spots on the nails are a sign of a zinc deficiency. I did notice reduction of the white spots on my nails after started a zinc supplement.

    1. Ebonie, I have read that, and that white spots are related to calcium deposits. I haven’t seen any actual sources or evidence quoted, though. LMK if you find any. Dr. Weil says it isn’t true, and white spots are just injuries to the nail bed, which show up later, not at the time of the actual bump/bruise.

  6. Wonderful, thank you! I have been looking for this information for some time. Can you tell me anything about ridges that run vertical?

  7. I would like to know about a left thumbnail that has a large raised area looks like a bubble right in the middle of the nail going from side to side?

  8. I’ve found that my alkaline water consumption affects vertical nail splitting, but it takes about three months for this to manifest itself in my nail tips. I usually have nice nails between mid summer and early winter, but mid winter to early summer I have constant vertical splits and have to keep my nails short.

  9. Hi, Robyn, I just wanted to return and report on how my ultra soft, easily torn finger nails are doing after almost a month of using the Ultimate Minerals. I can really notice a difference. I can’t tear them with my fingers anymore. They still need to harden up some more but I can hardly wait for the 3 month mark to see how strong they will have become. Who knew that, at least in my case, soft nails was an indication of lack of minerals???

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