As you probably know, a person’s external physical appearance can often indicate imbalances in their health. For example, thinning hair can indicate hypothyroidism, and wrinkles can indicate excessive oxidative stress (too many free radicals/not enough antioxidants). One more potentially important indicator of health problems, really nutrient deficiencies that can lead to health problems, is the appearance and texture of your nails.

The following information has been quoted and obtained from the “Clinical Reference Guide” and the “International National Foundation for Nutrition and Health“.

“Note: Using finger nails and hands for diagnosis has been a major part of Oriental medicine for centuries.

PROTEIN: Soft, tear or peel easily, opaque white lines

CALCIUM: Dry, brittle, break easily, horizontal or vertical ridges (hypothyroidism may be a contributing factor)

IRON: Thin, flat, spoon-shaped, white or yellow nail beds (white nail beds or white coloration near the cuticle with dark coloration near the tip can also indicate chronic liver/kidney disease)

ZINC: White spots or bands on nails or nail bed (can also indicate liver/kidney disease or appear consequent on fasting or menstruation)

VITAMIN E: Yellow nail bed, poor or no growth (also indicates possible lymphatic or respiratory congestion)

VITAMIN B 12: Darkened nail beds

Note: Impaired circulation to the extremities, as in Raynaud’s phenomenon, phlebitis, etc., can cause any of the above symptoms. Dry, brittle nails can also be caused by excessive exposure to solvents, detergents, nail polish and nail polish remover. Always rule out digestive insufficiency first.”

Keep in mind that a lack of these signs does not necessarily rule out a nutritional imbalance. Additionally, you can click here for information on other signs of nail abnormalities that may indicate a pathology that deserves medical attention.

PS: Many sources say that white spots indicate an injury to the nail bed. This may be true, but I would DEFINITELY look into zinc deficiency as a possible reason.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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