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10 Reasons Why Your Nails Reflect Your Overall Health

Healthy nails

Women often view their nails as canvasses for art expression, and men may never give them a second glance except to trim them. However, the health of your nails mirrors the health of your entire body. Your deteriorating nails may be the first warning sign of impending danger.


1. Terry’s nails

In the case of Terry’s nails, the nail is mostly white with a thin strip of pink down the top. While this can be due to aging, it can also indicate liver disease, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, or diabetes.

2. Yellowed nails

If your nails are tinged yellow, there may be a variety of factors involved. Nails have been known to yellow due to smoking, fungus, and nail polish. On a less common scale, yellowed nails may be attributed to heart disease, diabetes, psoriasis, or respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis.

3. Pale or White nails

Nails should be pinkish in hue to reflect the ample flow of blood to each fingertip. If nails are pale or whitish in color, this may be an early warning sign of anemia, liver disease, or diabetes.

4. Bluish nails

Bluish nails are always indicative of an oxygen deficiency. Cyanosis occurs when there is a low amount of oxygen circulating in the red blood cells. This can be related to a wide variety of health disorders including emphysema, asthma, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and Raynaud’s.

5. Ridged nails

Vertical ridges on the nails may be a sign of selenium deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, and/or magnesium deficiency. Another culprit of ridged nails can be dehydration.

Horizontal lines, called Muehrcke’s lines, can indicate other more severe problems such as kidney disease, liver abnormalities, or a lack of protein.

6. Brittle/Splitting nails

Nails that are so dry they split and crack are indicative of hypothyroidism and faulty calcium metabolism. A condition known as paronychia causes the cuticles to become ragged and jagged. This is another classic sign of hypothyroidism. Brittle and splitting nails may also be attributed to deficiencies in vitamin A, vitamin C, and biotin in the vitamin B complex. The thyroid plays a role in many vitamin deficiencies as well.

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7. Clubbed nails

When a nail is clubbed, the nail curves downward like a predator’s claw. This can be a red flag indicating low oxygen which can be attributed to lung disease. Other conditions may also play a part such as liver or kidney disease, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and AIDS.

8. Spoon nails

Just the opposite of clubbed nails, spoon nails curve upwards. This may point to iron-deficiency anemia, hemochromatosis (excess iron absorption), heart disease, or hypothyroidism.

9. White spots

A white spot on the nail may be due to injury inflicted on the nail bed or it may be related to deeper, underlying causes according to certain researchers. Some link white spots on the nails to mineral deficiencies such as calcium and zinc. An allergy to popular nail products may also cause white spots. A good method to rule out injury would be to observe whether the white spots are occurring on just one nail or multiple nails.

10. Moons

The lunula or moon is the white crescent at the base of your nail. The lunulas at the base of each nail can tell us a lot about our health, and it can get very specific depending on which finger the lunula differs in appearance from the rest.

• The thumb lunula reflects the health of your lungs and spleen.
• The index lunula reflects the health of your intestines.
• The middle lunula reflects the health of your brain.
• The ring lunula reflects the health of your reproductive system.
• The pinkie lunula reflects the health of your kidneys and heart.

Here are some of the clues our lunulas provide about our health. A healthy lunula should be white, and discoloration indicates a host of problems depending on the color. Grayish lunulas indicate faulty digestion. Pink or red lunulas are red flags showing lung issues. Purple lunulas reflect improper blood circulation and insufficient oxygen.

The size of lunula is also important. Small lunulas are a warning sign of circulatory problems and low blood pressure. Large lunulas (covering 25% of the nail) indicate cardiovascular issues and heartbeat irregularities. If your lunulas are non-existent, this is a sign of thyroid trouble, iron deficiency, and B12 deficiency according to scientific research.

In other words, match the faulty lunula with the finger’s mirrored system to be proactive about your health. These little moons may help us to avoid bigger health problems down the road by detecting them in the early stages.


In light of the considerable insight that our nails give us about our health, perhaps we should devote more attention to them on a daily basis. Our nails deserve more consideration and tlc especially when they hold many keys to our overall health and well-being.

Check out these other great articles by EMaxHealth: 7 Surprising Things Your Nails Say About Your Health, Nail Update: Keeping Your Nails Healthy, and 5 Recipes with Foods That Improve Skin Health.