The eyes may be the mirror of the soul, but the nails are the mirror of your health. Whether it’s dietary deficiencies, psoriasis, or in some cases liver function, the condition of your nails can actually say a lot about your overall well-being and how your body functions. I don’t think there is any cause for concern – bumpy nails are quite common and rather benign. I just find it interesting that a white spot on the nail could be your body’s way of signaling that it would like a little more zinc.
While the streaks may develop slowly with age, sometimes “they can also indicate a possible deficiency of minerals and vitamins, such as zinc, calcium and vitamin A”.
Before we get into the details of your diet, let’s do a quick primer on nail health. Our nails are made up of living skin cells, so they need nutrients just like any other part of our body. Biotin (vitamin B7), folate (vitamin B9) and iron can play an important role in regular growth and repair, but if you are going through a time of stress you may find that even these are not enough. If you’ve been going through a very difficult time at work or in your personal life, this could very well show on your nails, just as you might notice hair loss or a rash in other circumstances.
But there are other factors as well, so for now let’s imagine it’s not stress. If you are on vacation or less stressed by nature, then this could be your diet. Deficiencies in protein, vitamin A, calcium, and zinc are the most likely to appear on the nails, so make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients. If you are sure you are getting your intakes, you can always consider supplementing , especially if you do not consume dairy products and that your diet does not contain a lot of calcium. Zinc is found in many seeds, nuts, whole grains, and eggs, and vitamin A in sweet potatoes, red peppers, carrots, and green leafy vegetables. A visit to your GP for a blood test will allow you to determine more precisely what you are missing, but a dietary supplement is not a bad idea, as it is not always possible to tick all the nutrients you need every day.
When it comes to supplements, Silica binds to many minerals in the body, helping to move nutrients to body peripherals, such as hair, skin and the nails, for better absorption.
When it comes to wear and tear, you don’t over-manicure yourself, but do you tear your cuticles out ? There is a theory that tackling it out of habit can damage the nail matrix, causing the nails to grow with streaks, especially near the nail bed. Look at the skin near your nail bed. Is it a little raised? If so, manicurists and dermatologists say it can be inflamed from constant tearing. Regular application of cuticle oil will help moisturize the skin, reducing dryness and making you less likely to tear off rough parts of the skin.
Overall, my advice is to watch your protein and iron intake, and consider taking a supplement: for example, one that contains folic acid, B vitamins, iron and zinc, as well as coenzyme Q10.
Good luck !
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