What Your Nails Are Trying To Tell You
Ever wondered why experts advise against wearing nail polish to a doctor’s appointment? The reason is that nails can reveal crucial details about a person’s overall health. Consider these nail problems that point to possible nutrient deficiencies.
Soft, weak nails
Do nails bend before snapping? Sometimes, soft nails are the result of overexposure to certain chemicals, such as specific nail treatments or nail polish remover. In other cases, softness could point to a vitamin B or calcium deficiency. Try incorporating a daily multivitamin that contains both calcium and B vitamins and see if nail strength improves.
Lines on the nails that appear like horizontal or vertical waves can point to a few issues. Typically, if color changes don’t accompany vertical ridges, the lines are not a cause for concern. But horizontal lines could point to severe underlying conditions like kidney disease. To be safe, ask a healthcare provider about any ridges on the nails.
Nails that start to turn yellow are usually a reaction to the overuse of nail polish remover or other nail products. Usually, nails will start to grow in normally, and the yellow will grow out. Just in case, try applying tea tree oil or topical vitamin E to the area to treat infection. One of the most common nutrient deficiencies to show up in nails is a zinc deficiency. More prevalent in school-age children, this deficiency can present as scattered white spots. Usually, people can take a zinc supplement for a short amount of time to clear up these white marks.
The little half-circles at the bottom of the nail near the cuticle are called fingernail half-moons. If a person doesn’t have these half-moons, is there cause for concern? Often, a lack of these circles means nothing, but sometimes the symptom can point to anemia or a deficiency of iron. See a healthcare provider if a lack of half-moons is accompanied by dizziness, anxiety, weight changes, or lightheadedness.
Peeling or brittleness
Nails that peel easily or are cracked and brittle are also symptoms of iron deficiency. Other symptoms of low iron include fatigue, weight loss, and heart palpitations. Consult a healthcare provider for guidance on whether or not to start an iron supplement.
Improve your nail health
Improving the appearance of nails starts by improving overall health. Eat a well-balanced diet full of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. Take supplements as necessary. Some supplements, such as biotin, can be particularly helpful for nail health and strength. For more information, speak with a healthcare provider.