Having white spots on your fingernails could mean one of many possible health concerns. In this article we will look at the possible causes of white fingernail spots and if you need to talk to your medical professional about your symptoms.
The fingernail acts like a protective shield over the tip of the fingernail and its sensitive nerve endings. You can get white spots on your fingernails anywhere along the nail. The nail root is the part near your cuticle curve where the new nail grows from. The nail plate is the part of the nail that you can see the most of; the curved length of the nail. The nail bed is the active part that has blood vessels underneath the nail plate. The nail bed gives the nail plate its usual pink color unless you get white spots on your nail plate.
Here’s What Those White Spots On Your Fingernails Reveal About Your Health
Dr. Mercola says ‘The shape, texture, and color of your natural nails act as a window into your body, and while some nail symptoms are harmless, others can be indicative of chronic diseases, including cancer. As noted by the American Academy of Dermatology.’
One possible cause of white spots on your nail is one that you usually know yourself. That is, damage to your fingernail bed from getting your finger pinched in a door, for example. These white spots often appear within 24-48 hours after the nail bed is damaged, but can last for up to three months while the damaged nail grows out.
Let’s look at the reasons, other than damage, for the white spots on your fingernails and what they reveal about your health.
What are those white spots on your fingernails?
Leukonychia is what the white spots on your nails are called by medical professionals. What you might call them is annoying because of how they look and because of how long they take to grow out. Damage, nutrient deficiencies, and a serious illness are all possible reasons for white spots. Read on to learn more about what those white spots on your fingernails mean for your overall health.
Possible nutrient deficiencies
A nutrient deficiency in zinc can cause the nail bed to become pitted. Sometimes these pits are deep enough to appear as white spots on or under the fingernail. Eat pumpkin or squash seeds, spinach, wheat germ, nuts and beans to get more zinc in your diet. This dietary change will help improve the health of the new nail growth from the nail bed.
Zinc doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Researchers at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Coimbatore Medical College in India say ‘Zinc is found in over 200 enzymes and hormones in mankind. It is a natural element found in all plants and animals, and is widely available in over-the-counter vitamin supplements. Zinc is essential to life. It is a natural element found in all plants and animals and plays a crucial part in the health of our skin, teeth, bones, hair, nails, muscles, nerves and brain function. Zinc is essential for growth. It is used to control the enzymes that operate and renew the cells in our bodies.’
Dr. Mercola also says about the importance of zinc for nail heath that ‘Healthy sources of protein, like whey protein, are important (zinc is necessary for making proteins like those found in your nails). Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in leafy greens, berries, and other whole foods will also benefit your nail health. Biotin, vitamin B7, is one example.’
Illnesses that are revealed by white spots on your fingernails
Selenium poisoning could result in brittle nails with white spots, although this is not common. There were numerous cases of selenium toxicity reported in China, however, and the livestock had been affected by high selenium in their food, which was then a health problem for those who ate the affected animals.
Toxic selenium poisoning can result in the total loss of the fingernail. Other symptoms include loss of hair, tooth decay, sores on hands and feet, numbness and tingling in extremities. If you are concerned about these symptoms, see a medical professional for testing.
Other serious illnesses can mark your fingernails with the whites spots and they act like the rings of the inside of a tree as they move along the nail bed with the passage of time. For example, scarlet fever or a serious case of pneumonia will have the effect of damaging the nail bed with a white ridge. Avoiding injuries to your fingertips and fingernails, maintaining proper dietary nutrition, and getting regular health checkups should help you prevent white spots on your nails.