Fingernail Diagnostics ~ What Your Nails Say About Your Health

Fingernails that chip, break, or peel easily are a sign of hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) AND a number of nutritional deficiencies associated with hypochlorhydria and pancreatic enzyme insufficiency: such as a need for protein, trace minerals and essential fatty acids.



White spots on the fingernails are associated with zinc deficiency.



Bright yellow nails are associated with fungal infections that eventually cause the nails to thicken and crumble.



Rippled nails are an indication of psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, both of which often occur together. Nails with vertical ridges are a non-specific sign of psoriasis. “Oil spot” lesions are also a non-specific sign of psoriasis.


If the skin around the base of the nail is red and puffy it is associated with autoimmune inflammation caused by lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.



Horizontal (transverse) depressions occur when recovering from severe infection, and with malnutrition and low calcium.


Multiple, narrow, white horizontal lines (not depressed or ridged, this refers to white coloration) indicates decreased protein synthesis or increased protein loss (when there is kidney dysfunction or during some types of chemotherapy).



Nails with one thick horizontal white line, without depression, that goes away when pressure is placed on the nail is associated with arsenic, thallium and heavy metal poisoning.



Very pale, white tinged nail beds can be a sign of anemia, congestive heart disease, liver dysfunction and malnutrition. When the nail bed is pale and surrounded by a darker pink rim around the tip of the nail, liver cirrhosis is indicated. 


If the distal rim is thicker and brown, and the nail bed is very pale, kidney disease is likely causing excess pigment deposition.




Blue nails indicate that the body isn’t getting enough oxygen and this can be associated with lung issues like emphysema or pneumonia, or heart disease.



Dark brown vertical striping in and under the nail is a type of melanoma and must be attended to immediately.

© RemPhys 2022