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nail signs can indicate health problems

Nails as Signs of Health Problems

Nails can be very useful in diagnosing illness and evaluating health. Here are some nail signs and the problems possibly causing them. These are only possibilities, and these are not all inclusive. Some people have never had moons on their nails, but you should check for a problem when you have had them and they have disappeared.

  • No half moons or ridged nails: Vitamin A deficiency, kidney disorder, protein deficiency
  • Splitting, brittle or peeling nails: Vitamin A and D deficiency, poor circulation, thyroid problems, hydrochloric acid deficiency, iron deficiency, calcium deficiency, protein deficiency
  • Nails curve up: iron or zinc deficiency, throid problems
  • Nails curve down past fingertips: heart and liver disorders, respiratory problems, Vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • Dark, spoon shaped nails: anemia, Vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • Flat nails: iron or protein deficiency, Vitamin B-12 deficiency, Psoriasis, Diabetes
  • Wide, square nails: hormonal imbalance
  • Thick nails: poor circulation, thyroid disease
  • Pitted, fraying, split nails: Vitamin C and protein deficiency
  • Poor nail growth: zinc
  • Frequent hangnails: Vitamin C deficiency

Nail Colors

  • White spots: zinc, thyroid or hydrochloric acid deficiency
  • White bands on nails: zinc or protein deficiency, heart disease, liver problems, kidney problems
  • White nails with pink tips: cirrhosis of the liver
  • Too pale nails: liver malfunction, poor circulation, kidney problems, anemia, mineral deficiency, excess copper
  • Discolored nails: Vitamin B-12 deficiency, kidney or liver problems
  • Yellow nails: Vitamin E deficiency, poor circulation, lymph congestion, liver problems, respiratory problems, diabetes, fungal infection, too much polish
  • Green nails: bacterial nail infection
  • Blue nails: lung and heart problems, circulatory problems, drug reactions, blood toxicity from too much silver or copper
  • Blue moons: rheumatoid arthritis
  • Black bands on nails: low adrenal function, chemotherapy or radiation reaction
  • Brown nails: renal failure
  • Half brown and half white nails: renal failure
  • Brown or black streak from the base of the nail to the tip: Melanoma
  • Dark nail tips: Vitamin B-12 deficiency

The American Academy of Family Physicians site offers a page with much more detail.

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