Nails – the body’s notification system

Nails – the body’s notification system

Our bodies are constantly communicating with us.

From a growling stomach to itching skin, these are all outward bodily signals of what’s going on internally.

If we look down at our hands, our nails can be an indicator of nutrient status within our bodies.

Nutrient deficiencies can often present within the fingernails as:

White spots
Long, vertical ridges
Weak, brittle nails
Koilonychia (more simply known as, spoon-shaped nails)
White spots on the nail beds can be representative of a zinc deficiency.

Given that the cells of the nails are fast replicating, ample supply of zinc is required to facilitate these replication processes. When there is a short-supply, the cells aren’t able to reproduce as quickly, and it can present as a degeneration of the nail bed. Nuts, seeds, and legumes are all great sources of zinc.

Long, vertical ridges are usually representative of a magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium is required for just about all of our cellular processes, and as such, this precious material is used up rapidly. Magnesium can be found in a wealth of food sources like green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, and it is often most best absorbed and tolerated by the body in the form of magnesium bisglycinate. 

Weak and brittle nails can be attributed to a deficiency in vitamin C and B vitamins. 

Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers and tomatoes. B vitamins can be most commonly found in animal-sources such as organ meats, eggs, liver, turkey, and salmon. It's often suggested that vegans and vegetarians supplement with B vitamins to prevent a deficiency. 

Koilonychia, or spoon-shaped nails, is often associated with iron-deficiency anemia, however the exact mechanism behind this is still inconclusive.

It is suspected that since iron is responsible for carrying oxygen within the body, and thus providing oxygen to tissues, the lack of oxygenation to the nail bed tissue is what is at fault for the spooning structure of the nail bed. It's been found that people who do not consume enough protein, vitamin C, retinol and copper rich foods can also develop an iron deficiency in the blood.

In addition to incorporating these food sources, we can also work to support our nail health by increasing our daily hydration, buffing the nail to increase circulation to the nailbed, and applying a moisturizing balm to the nail bed topically. 

It is important to note that not all bodies are the same, and it is always best to work alongside a healthcare professional to determine accurate nutrient statuses prior to beginning any vitamin or mineral supplements.

Our bodies are always communicating with us. It's up to us to become more aware of its signals.

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