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

By Robyn Openshaw | Jan 09, 2013

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 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.

Posted in: Research

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

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  1. Marsha Buscher says:

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

  2. maryann says:

    according to our doc white spots on nails are a zinc deficiency…

  3. You don’t show or mention ridges in this article. My nails have vertical ridges- mostly my thumbs, but slightly on my other fingernails as well. Do you know what that means?

  4. Elizabeth T. says:

    What do vertical ridges on the nail indicate? My grandmother had them, too!

  5. Chrystina says:

    I was very happy to see that my finger nails don’t look like any of these pics. Must be doing something right. 😛

  6. Selma says:

    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?

  7. Soorya says:

    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).

  8. Nancy A. says:

    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.

    1. Robyn says:

      Nancy, let me know if my Ultimate Minerals help, write us at support123@greensmoothiegirl.com after you use them for 3 months! Good luck!

  9. What about toenails? Are they the same?

    Linda Garner

  10. Ebonie says:

    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. Robyn says:

      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.

  11. Teresa says:

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

  12. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nails/AN00591 I looked up vertical ridges on google, and got this. I don’t always trust the medical Docs, but if this is true, it is comforting.

    1. Soorya says:

      Thanks Maellen. I had looked it up long time ago and read something similar. Good to know there are other sources.

  13. Shirley says:

    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?

    1. Robyn says:

      Shirley, just ONE nail? IDK but could that just be a nail bed injury?

  14. Sherrie says:

    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.

  15. Nancy Alemany says:

    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???

    1. Robyn says:

      Nancy, cool! My nails and hair made a believer out of me, which is why I wanted to make and share Ultimate Minerals!

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