What Are Your Fingernails Trying to Tell You About Your Health?

Thumbnail1Did you know your nails can give you clues to your overall health? Ridges, bumps, discolorations, shapes, can all be feedback from the organs in the body telling you how they are doing. Problems in the liver, lungs, and heart can show up in your nails. Both the ancient science of Ayurveda and the modern science of nutrition and functional medicine recognize the important clues your fingernails reveal.

In Ayurvedic medicine your fingernails are considered “excrement”, just like your feces, sweat, tears, urine, breath, and hair. It’s interesting that we spend time and money grooming them in the way we do isn’t it?

Look at your half-moons first. This is the white area close to the base of your nails. If you don’t have good healthy half-moons it can mean low stomach acid. We have an easy way to test for that at Fern Life Center.

Next look at the overall color of your nails. Are they pink or are they pale? Very pale nails can sometimes be a sign of serious illness, such as:

  • Anemia
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Liver disease
  • Malnutrition

If your nails are mostly white with darker outer rims, this can indicate liver problems, such as hepatitis.

Are your nails yellow? Fungal infections are the most common reason for yellow finger or toe nails. If it’s a chronic fungal infection the nail can become thick and crumbly and the nail bed will retract. Sometimes thyroid disease, diabetes, psoriasis, or lung disease are responsible for yellow nails.

A fungal infection in the nail means a fungal infection in the gut. Do not take liver harming medications to kill fungus in your nails. You actually need a comprehensive stool analysis to see who is living in your intestines. When that is dealt with the nails will clear.

What about blue nails? That can mean a lack of cardiovascular circulation. A more advanced stage of this problem will be clubbed nails.

If the nail surface is rippled or pitted, this may be an early sign of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis. Discoloration of the nail is common; the skin under the nail can seem reddish-brown.

Dry, brittle nails that frequently crack or split have been linked to thyroid disease. Cracking or splitting combined with a yellowish hue is more likely due to a fungal infection.

Red and puffy skin around the bed of the nail means there is inflammation present. This can be an indicator of autoimmune disease such as lupus or a connective tissue disorder. Inflammation is more commonly a result of infection though.

Dark lines under the nail can be a warning sign from the body of cancer such as melanoma. Having this checked out by a dermatologist is essential.

Ridges that run vertically along the nail can be an indicator that you are not absorbing your nutrients well.

White spots can mean you are deficient in zinc.

Horizontal ridges might show illness in the body due to high stress. The nails will stop growing under intense stress and when they start again it can leave a horizontal line.

Keep an eye on those nails! They are a feedback mechanism for the body to let you know how it’s doing.

Here’s to your health!

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