might reveal more about you
than you realized,
such as how healthy you are currently!
When I was a practicing dentist I was well aware that the state of the oral tissues was a good indicator of my client’s general health. As a naturopath I realize that other physical clues, like the condition of the fingernails or hair, can tell me a lot about an individual’s overall health status.
Glance down at your own fingernails — yes, right now: in this moment! — and really look at them:
- ▸ in what condition are they?
- ▸ what is their color?
- ▸ are they solid, or brittle?
(this guest article is by Jim Harris ~ Jim Harris is a Naturopath and Nutritional Consultant and a graduate from the American Naturopathic Medical Institute; Jim recognizes that our bodies have the innate capability for self-healing — especially when the correct information and energy is supplied in combination with the correct food, supplements and herbs.)
Look at Your Fingernails for Health Clues
Have you ever seen fingernails that were splitting, cracking, chipping, peeling or layering?
White spots on nails are very common also.
Most nutritionists will say white spots can be remedied if a proper amount of zinc is added to the daily diet via supplementation; however, this only works if digestion is optimal for zinc absorption!
Sadly, digestion issues are amongst the most common symptoms I see with my clients. Without absorbing ionized zinc into the blood stream the symptom of white spots in the fingernails remains, no matter how much zinc is ingested.
You’re Ingesting Nutrients,
but Is Your Body Absorbing Them?
The appearance, texture, and strength of your fingernails can offer you valuable clues about the state of your body’s systems, and whether the vitamins and minerals that you’re swallowing are getting to where they need to go.
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The Zinc in Your Body
An acid medium in the stomach is required to cleave the zinc from the material that it’s chemically bound to. Zinc comes in many forms; zinc oxide, gluconate, asparate and so on. It doesn’t matter what the form is, if the conditions in the stomach aren’t correct, the zinc will stay bound to the molecule and not be a free ion for active use within the body. This is true for all minerals, not just zinc.
How Much Vitamin D Are You Getting Each Day?
I’ve talked about vitamin D in the past and its role in bone health (and reducing inflammation and pain, as well as the risk of colorectal cancer). Vitamin D plays a similar role for nail health! For most adults, 4000IU is a safe dose.
“…vitamin D is so crucial to thyroid function
that its status has now been elevated by researchers to co-hormone.
We now know that the variability of thyroid to work or not work in your body
is dependent upon the presence of Vitamin D,
making it not just of benefit, but absolutely essential”
~ Richard Shames, MD
Make Friends with Your Thyroid Gland
An often-overlooked factor when it comes to nail health is the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland (through the production of hormones) affects our basal metabolic rate. The thyroid’s effect on the rate of protein synthesis affects fingernails.
If metabolic rate is slowed down due to an under-active thyroid gland, this is reflected in the nails as the body prioritizes where the protein will go (fingernails would be low on the priority list for overall health and takes a back seat to the heart muscle, as an example). A healthy thyroid gland extrapolates to healthy protein synthesis and potentially healthy hair and fingernails.
The take-home message here is, that when the nails lack a healthy appearance, look beyond the nails to find what the underlying cause is!