Fingernails Are Truthful Records
Information from the nails can help point medical investigation into early health problems. This is possible because our fingernails grow from the same epidermal cells that give rise to our hair and skin and even though once it is grown the nail plate is “dead” in biological terms, while it is growing the nail is nurtured by active cells richly supplied with blood vessels and nerves. The nail “plate” is fed on the body’s nutrients and forms a permanent record of what went into us while the nail was forming.
For example, when a baby is born its fingernails are already 15 weeks old making them a perfect record of the child’s prenatal metabolism. Here in the baby’s fingernails is a condensed record of how well the baby has absorbed its in-the womb nutrients and so would be a valuable diagnostic tool if deficiencies were identified early.
Adults who work around heavy metals or toxic materials should have their lead, mercury and cadmium levels monitored carefully – fingernail mineral analysis can do this. Nail clippings can be tested few mineral absorption status by modern laboratory techniques.
Currently, hair clippings are frequently tested for this information but in many instances nail clippings can give a clearer picture of a person’s nutritional status and toxic chemical burden. Likewise, even a brief external examination of a person’s nails can tell much about their health, and reveal some surprising evidence.
Breaking Nails? It’s All in Your Stomach!
One of the most common causes of cracking, peeling, chipping fingernails is a malfunctioning stomach. When our stomachs don’t make enough acid and pepsin, a wide variety of nutrients are “lost” through lack of absorption from the foods we eat.
Amino acids (the building blocks of protein), minerals, Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid head the list of “lost” nutrients due to insufficient stomach acid. If you are thinking, well, that’s certainly not a common problem – drink again! Low, not high, stomach acid is the state of nearly 60% of the population over 30 years of age! And the symptoms of low stomach acidity are often very subtle and can show up very like the symptoms of low stomach acidity!
If presort, low stomach acid conditions can show up as upper abdominal bloating, wind (usually after meals), constipation, or sometimes diarrhea, and “heartburn” or gastric reflux. Yes, it’s more often the case that too low a stomach acid can result in “heartburn” so don’t be hasty with the antacid tablets or you may be contributing to your own discomfort!
Despite these warning symptoms of a low-acid stomach, all too frequently this condition exists with no apparent symptoms at all, even though the older we get the more frequent the upsets and malfunctions tend to occur.
This is particularly true in folks over the age of 30 with poor nails and falling hair. So, if your nails are chronically at the breaking point, look to your digestion first! Breaking, chipping, splitting nails that won’t grow no matter how much calcium or gelatin is eaten are nearly always associated with hypochlorhydria, low stomach acid.
What Fingernails Tell
Many mineral deficiencies and early warning health problems are telegraphed by the condition of our fingernails. These warning flags include:
Brittleness – the result of chronic iron deficiency, impaired circulation, overexposure to solvents, nail polish and polish removers, fungal disease of the nail bed and kidney problems. Brittleness accompanied by thin, ridged, flat-looking nails can signal Raynaud’s disorder and is characterised by a red blotchy appearance on backs of hands which are constantly cold (also indicates a magnesium deficiency).
“Spoon Nails” – Another iron deficiency symptom. Underlying anaemia must be treated to correct this (and the possibility of low stomach acid investigated).
Yellow Nails – Warns that the lymph system is sluggish and possibly also tire respiratory system. Shortage of Vitamin E likely. Yellow toenails accompanied by small red patches and braise-like marks on the feet can be a sign of diabetes, especially in the elderly.
White Nails – (white at the cuticle and dark at the nail tip) signals liver and or kidney problems as well as chronic anaemia.
White spots in the nails – Signals zinc deficiency. Especially noted in teenagers and menstruating women. Zinc also indicated if cracks appear in skin of fingertips and around nails.
Natalia Moore is a passionate lifestyle blogger from CA, best known as the author of How To Be Pretty And Attractive, DIY Beauty Products From Your Kitchen, and Beauty Secrets. She writes for local and international publications, including NBC Southern California, The Telegraph, and Sky News.