Your Fingernails and Your Health

8 Things Your Fingernails Can Tell You About Your Health

fingernail health
We spend a lot of time dressing up our fingernails and making them look good. But, did you know that clues about your health are literally at your fingertips? In the same way that dry skin can be a sign of dehydration or under-eye circles can be signs of restless sleep, the subtle abnormalities in your fingernails can be a clue that it’s time to check in with your doctor. Here are some of the secrets your fingernails are sharing about your health:

Yellow Fingernails

If you paint your nails a lot, it is not unusual for there to be a slight yellowish tint when you remove the polish. However, if this color stays around it could be a warning sign for diabetes.

Horizontal Lines

These are indentations that run from side to side, usually in the middle of the fingernail. They are also referred to as Beau’s lines. In its mildest form Beau’s lines can be a sign of malnutrition or specifically, a zinc deficiency. Zinc can be found in seafood, pumpkin seeds and cocoa powder.

Nail Moon

The white half moon at the base of your nail is a key indicator of thyroid health. Bright, prominent nail moons are associated with good thyroid health. Each finger that is lacking this nail moon can mean a weaker thyroid.

Nail Clubbing

This is when the tip of your finger gets enlarged and your nail widens and bends over the tip. Nail clubbing is a warning sign for lung disease.

Pale/White Fingernails

Typically, the part of your nail that is connected to your skin will match your skin color. If this portion of your nail starts to turn very pale or white it could be a sign of anemia.

Dark Lines

If you notice a dark line underneath the nail and have not had any injury be sure to notify your doctor right away. This can be one of the first signs of acral lentiginous melanoma, the type of cancer that killed Bob Marley. It is also a great idea to remove any nail polish from your fingers and toes prior to your annual skin cancer exam so your doctor can pick up on any clues!

Soft & Weak Fingernails

If your nails bend and peel easily, it could be a deficiency in biotin. Biotin can be found in foods such as Swiss chard, carrots and almonds or you can add a B-50 complex to your supplement program to ensure you are getting enough in your day.

Jagged Bitten Nails

If you find yourself gnawing on your nails or cuticles it could be a sign of stress or anxiety. Although it can seem even more stressful at first, it is important to schedule time in your day for stress relieving activities such as exercise or meditation.

As you can see, your fingernails can tell a lot about what’s happening inside. Next time you have a few minutes, give your fingernails a good look and see if you see anything different or unusual. It could be your body sending you a signal to consult your doctor!

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Tara Coleman

Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist with a private practice in San Diego, CA. She speaks nationally on the topics of health and nutrition and has been cited as a nutrition expert by media such as NBC, FOX, SELF, Cosmopolitan and Dr. Oz The Good Life. Download her FREE 4 Step Nutrition Quick Start Guide and start feeling better today!

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  1. Thanks. Very informative. Total Gym is great. A LONG TIME USER.

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