Your Fingernails Tell a Story

For twelve years, my husband and I have had an “article of the day” that we’ve handed out to our patients.  You can imagine how many articles we have created over time!  Interestingly, one of the most popular articles (that people often ask to see again) discusses how the appearance of your nails can tell you what is going on inside your body.  What I love about that article is this point: Your body sometimes gives you symptoms to tell you it needs help.  Are you listening?

Unhealthy nails are associated with nutrient deficiencies, poor care or lifestyle choices.  I will summarize the article here.  For more information, a good reference book is Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James Balch M.D. and Phyllis Balch C.N.C.

Brittle nails (hard, lacking flexibility) are possibly caused by iron deficiency, poor circulation or thyroid imbalance.  Nails that chip, crack, peel or break easily may be a sign of general nutrient deficiencies, poor digestion, loss of moisture from aging and a sign of frequent hand washing or using harsh chemicals.  White spots on the nails may be a lack of zinc and white bands can signify lack of protein.

If your nails are unusually wide and square, there may be a hormonal imbalance and if the nails are unusually pale you may have anemia (iron deficiency.)  If you get frequent hangnails you may have a folic acid deficiency or lack of vitamin C or protein, while dark nails and/or thin, flat, spoon shaped nails may be a B12 deficiency or anemia.

Do you have ridges in your nails?  Vertical ridges can signify poor general health, poor nutrient absorption or low iron.  Horizontal ridges are an indication of severe physical or psychological stress.

The base of the nail has a white mooned shape area.  If yours turns red there may be a heart problem.  If blue that could mean heavy metal poisoning or a lung issue.  Bumps on the surface of the nail may be caused by rheumatoid arthritis and if the nail turns half white with dark spots at the tip that means a kidney problem.

If the nails are yellow it can signify a liver or lymphatic problem and downward curved ends may show a heart, liver or respiratory issue.  Nail Fungus got you?  It may mean there is trouble with your immune system or you have a lack of “friendly bacteria” or probiotics.

As chiropractors, we always strive to help you see your body as whole and connected.  In the medical field, there is a specialist for each body part and the paradigm is that each organ or system is mostly independent of the others.  The truth is that the body functions as a whole and when there is a deficiency or toxicity in one area, a symptom can be produced elsewhere.  For example, when you have spinal subluxation (or misalignment), the nerve supply associated with that spinal level affects whichever organ or tissue is at the other end of that nerve.  That neck subluxation of C5 may be causing heart damage, not just neck pain.  Your adjustments are helping your whole body.

To clarify, we don’t “treat” heart damage, or neck pain for that matter.  Chiropractors find  interference in your body’s natural healing, and by restoring the proper alignment and motion, allow your body to regain nerve supply.  When you get adjusted on a wellness basis, you are choosing to maximize nerve flow to allow full expression of your body’s intelligence.

When you observe your body’s health, be it posture, vitality or even nail health, watch for signs.  What is your body telling you?  What are you doing to help your body fully express its magnificence?

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