What Your Fingernails Say About Your Health and Nutritional Well-Being

In many other cultures, a patient’s medical assessment includes much more than just asking the patient to describe their complaint and symptoms, and doing a brief physical exam. In other cultures, as well as in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Homeopathic and Naturopathic practices, a full patient assessment goes BEYOND the patient’s complaint of symptoms and brief physical exam. It includes an assessment of their diet, lifestyle habits, mental health, strength and tone of their voice, quality of their hair, and visual assessment of their eyes, tongue and yes even their fingernails.

Fingernails are wonderfully useful as an “warning system” to diagnose possible illness, and imbalances within the body. If the eyes are the “windows of the soul”, then the fingernails just might be called the “windows of the body”. One of the last body areas to receive nutrients carried by the blood, are the nails. Nails show signs of trouble before other better-nourished tissues do.

Healthy nails are pink, smooth and shiny. If your nails don’t reflect this, check the list below to find out possible health and/or nutritional deficiencies that may be reflected back to you through the exterior appearance of your fingernails and toenails.

Nail Colors and Textures and Possible Health Imbalances

 White Spots – Possible zinc deficiency, or thyroid deficiency

White Bands or Ridged Nails – Possible heart or liver disease, as well as possible zinc, iron or protein deficiency.

Black Bands – Low adrenal function.  Chemotherapy or radiation reaction.  Injury.

Discolored Nails – Kidney or liver problems.  Vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Yellow Nails – Vitamin-E deficiency.  Poor circulation, lymph congestion, too much polish, possible diabetes or lung disease.

Green Nails – Fungal infection

Too White Nails – Liver or thyroid malfunction, poor circulation, anemia.

Blue Nails – Lung or heart problems, drug reaction, silver or copper toxicity.

No Half Moons – Vitamin-A deficiency.  Kidney disorder.

Split-Peeling Nails – Vitamin A & D, iron, calcium, biotin or HCL deficiency.  Poor circulation, thyroid problems, drug reaction.

Hang Nails – Folic acid deficiency

Poor Shape – Iron-zinc deficiency.

Thick Nails – Poor circulation  (Look at your elders toenails and the nail’s thickness, as many people have growing circulation problems as they age.)

Spoon-Shaped Nails – Anemia, B-12 deficiency.

Pitted Nails – Alopecia, Vitamin-C or protein deficiency.

Raised Nails – Fungal infection, drug reaction, thyroid problems.

Hammered Looking Nails – Hair loss.

Down-Curving Nails – Heart or liver disorders.

White Nails With Pink Tips – Liver cirrhosis.

Pale Pink / Half White – Possible anemia or kidney failure.

Brown Nails – Psoriasis.

Red Nails – Vascular disease.

Slow Growing Nails – Diabetes, respiratory problems.

Never put off getting a medical evaluation from a trusted and open-minded medical practitioner, when your body is “telling” you something might be wrong.  That doesn’t mean running for an evaluation every time something itches, but it does mean that only you know your body best, and if something looks or feels off, it usually means it is.  Being aware of all the signs and symptoms your body gives you as an alert system, is just practicing good health and wellness consciousness.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews