Nail Problems

Nail problems refer to changes in the appearance of the finger- and/or toenails, such as thickening or curving, as well as fungus or bacterial overgrowth in and around the nails(often associated with acrylic nails for cosmetic purposes), or bacteria (tinea and candidiasis), Such changes are usually indications of an underlying metabolic or nutritional dysfunction within the body, or a sign of skin disease or general illness.

What To Consider

Thickened and curved nails most often affect the big toes of older people and are often due to poor circulation, cardiovascular problems, and/or thyroid disease. Pitting in the nails can be a sign of anemia. Pitting and thickening together can be a sign of psoriasis. Brittle, ridged, and curved nails can signify anemia and iron deficiency, while brittle nails alone can indicate thyroid problems, iron deficiency, kidney disorders, poor circulation, and/or omega-3 fatty acid deficiency. Vertical lines in nails usually signify poor nutrient absorption, iron deficiency, decreased overall health, or poor protein metabolism, while horizontal lines can indicate severe stress caused by unresolved emotional issues or from disease and/or infection. Flat nails can be due to poor circulation from Raynaud's disease, while nail beading (bumps) may suggest arthritis. Nails that easily chip, crack, peel, and break are usually due to food allergies, mineral deficiencies and/or and need for digestive enzymes.

Fungal or bacterial overgrowth around the nails suggests a yeast infection (candidiasis) and in women can also be due to the use of acrylic nail polish.

Red skin around the cuticles can be a sign of poor essential fatty acid metabolism, while darkening of the overall nail bed may be due to vitamin B12 deficiency, and white spots can signify zinc deficiency.

Note
Despite the above indications, medical diagnosis should never be based on a person's nail condition alone.

Self-Care Tips

Diet
Drinking fresh carrot juice on a daily basis is an excellent way to strengthen nails because the juice provides calcium and phosphorus. In addition, eat foods that are high in iron, include quality sources of protein at each meal, and add whole grains, seeds, and nuts to your overall diet.

Nutritional Supplementation
The following nutrients are important for healthy nails
silicon (silica), calcium, iron, vitamin B complex, biotin, free form amino acids, and zinc. Nail problems can also be due to a lack of stomach acid. This problem can be rectified by taking hydrochloric acid (HCl) and digestive enzymes with each meal.

Aromatherapy
To improve the appearance of nails and to reverse fungal or bacterial over growth, topically apply tea tree oil. Lemon essential oil is also very useful in this regard.

Herbs
Drink an infusion made from equal parts of nettle and horsetail three times a day. For fungal infections, apply a mixture of aloe vera gel and tumeric to the affected area.

Homeopathy
Useful homeopathic remedies include Calc phos., Graphites, Sulfur, Nat mur., and Ferrum phos.

Juice Therapy
Carrot, beet, and celery is an excellent juice for nail health.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

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