Holistic practitioners can get a good indication of a patient’s nutritional status by the appearance of their fingernails. Healthy nails have a transparent pink color with a smooth and even arch shape. There should be white half moons, called lunulas, at the base of at least 8 of the 10 fingernails. It takes 6 months to grow your nails out from root to tip, so fingernails are a picture of the patient’s health over the last 6 months.
White Spots- are typically an indication of a zinc deficiency. However, they may also be caused by excess consumption of refined sugar.
Ridges- a sign of a deficiency of essential fatty acids. Good sources are unrefined fish liver oil, egg yolks, butter, fish eggs, fat-soluble chlorophyll, and fats from pasture raised animals fed fresh green grass. Also good sources are walnuts, flaxseeds, and avocados.
Clubbing-associated with pulmonary heart disease or liver disease, celiac disease or IBS. For all patients with clubbing, they should be first checked for anemia.
Spoon nails-for nails that have lost their natural arch and turned concave it can indicate either anemia (low iron) or hemochromatosis (too much iron).
Fungal infection - is indicative of a systemic fungal infection that needs to be addressed with nutrition.
Lack of half moons (lunulas)- indication of poor circulation.
Pitting, or small dents on the nail surface- associated with alopecia, psoriasis, eczema, or arthritic conditions and connective tissue disorders.