Your nails are the mirrors of your health. They tell you whether you are suffering from deficiency of certain nutrients. Your nail bed is comprised of a number of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. When you are suffering from deficiency of any of these essential nutrients, the concentration of these nutrients in your nail bed also declines. As a result your nails lose their natural appearance. Hence, changes in the appearance of the nails should be taken seriously. They indicate serious nutritional deficiencies that need immediate treatment.
Nutrient Deficiencies Affect The Appearance Of Your Nails In The Following Ways
Appearance of white opaque horizontal bands on the nails is a common sign of calcium deficiency. Usually the white bands develop on almost the same positions on multiple nails. Moreover, calcium deficiency weakens the nails. It makes the nails soft and brittle.
Iron deficiency reduces the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood. The nails lose their healthy pink hue and becomes pale and in the worst case almost white. In addition, the nail bed attains a concave shape, a condition known as koilonychias or spoon nails.
When the concentration of zinc in your nail bed falls, you will see depressions on the nails, known as Beau’s lines. Transverse white lines or spots may also appear on multiple fingernails. Zinc deficiency also makes your nails brittle.
Appearance of white transverse bands on all the nails is a sign of severe niacin or vitamin B3 deficiency. It may also cause horizontal grooves on all the nails.
Vitamin B6 Deficiency
When you are suffering from severe vitamin B6 deficiency, the top of your nails will become soft and fragile. This condition is known as egg-shell nail or hapalonychia. The soft nails break and bend easily.
Nail dystrophy is a common sign of biotin or vitamin B7 deficiency. The brittle nails crack and split easily. It also causes discoloration of the nails.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Hyperpigmentation of the nail is a common symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is involved in synthesis of glutathione an antioxidant that prevents abnormal activities of the enzyme tyrosinase, which stimulates melanin production. Depletion of glutathione because of vitamin B12 deficiency increases tyrosinase activity, which cause abnormal increase in melanin production, and the nails become bluish-black in color or longitudinal brown or black streaks appear on the nail plates.
Vitamin C Deficiency
Appearance of thin longitudinal lines, red to black in color, under the nail plates, known as splincter haemorrhage, is a symptom of severe vitamin C deficiency. They are tiny blood clots that develop under the nail plates following leakage of red blood cells from the tiny longitudinal blood vessels present under the nails.