Nails are one of the last parts of our body to receive blood and nutrients during times of illness. Therefore, nail appearance is a signal of vitamin or mineral deficiency or body changes. But thatâ??s not the whole story. How you take care of your nails is also important. Our nails are colorless and transparent..
Nails are one of the last parts of our body to receive blood and nutrients during times of illness. Therefore, nail appearance is a signal of vitamin or mineral deficiency or body changes. But that’s not the whole story. How you take care of your nails is also important.
Our nails are colorless and transparent. Healthy nails appear pink because of the abundance of blood vessels under the skin. The nail’s tissue is called the matrix and the white moon-like lunula is at the top of the matrix. Below that is the nail bed, where the nail attaches to the body. The cuticle grows down over the nail bed and forms a watertight seal that protects the matrix against infection or foreign objects. Watch out for manicures or pedicures that cut away the cuticle–the chance of getting a nail infection is too great.
Natural estheticians do not use chemical nail hardeners or conditioners as part of their repertoire. These products do not stimulate growth or strength. They contain clear nail polish, which must be removed with damaging solvents. The solvents strip away the nail’s natural moisture. Before you know it, the nail’s keratin, or protein, is damaged and your nails peel and chip. Natural treatments include using aloe vera for its healing properties, in combination with oils such as primrose, camellia or almond as emollients. Fruit acids are added to soften the cuticles, allowing them to be pushed back.
You can give yourself your own nail treatment by massaging with rose hip oil. This oil contains prostaglandins, which strengthen your nail cells, increase circulation and stimulate growth. Its fatty acids replenish moisture and its vitamin C helps ward off bacteria. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to wear waterproof gloves when washing dishes. Water causes your nails to swell and then shrink as they dry. The result is fragile nails.
The Shape Of Your Nails
Look at your hands. Are your nails brittle, misshapen, discolored or lined? It may be a sign of a nutritional or metabolic change.
Brittle nails may be a symptom of thyroid, kidney or circulatory problems or may be related to low amounts of vitamin A, calcium or omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
Vertical lines may be due to reduced protein metabolism or iron shortage, while horizontal lines suggest emotional or physical stress. Both symptoms may also indicate improper nutrient absorption. White spots are tell-tale signs of fasting or inappropriate dieting. They usually disappear once zinc is restored to a normal level. As well, nails that chip, crack or peel may be caused by poor mineral absorption. Supplementing with digestive enzymes may help.
We all want the perfectly shaped nail. Genetics and health are major factors. Spoon-shaped nails suggest a scarcity of iron, while square, wide nails may be a warning of hormonal imbalances. Overly thick nails indicate the beginning of vascular degeneration or thyroid conditions. A lack of vitamin B12 can account for nails whose ends are curved down and whose nail bed is darkened.
A diet made up of 50 percent fruits and vegetables to ensure vitamin and mineral absorption is beneficial. It should also incorporate whole grains, nuts and foods that are high in iron and protein. Drinking fresh-squeezed carrot juice daily will provide a first-rate source of calcium and phosphorus needed to strengthen your nails. Silica is necessary for the formation of strong healthy nails. It can be obtained by brewing up a cup of herbal horsetail and oat straw tea, or from a colloidal silicea supplement. Horsetail also is high in the amino acid L-cysteine. This amino acid is additionally found in the herb coltsfoot and contains sulfur, which is required in skin and nail growth.
Homeopathy also assists in the treatment of nail problems. Anitonium crudum can be taken for individuals with brittle nails, while thuja is for those with fragile nails that are red at their base. The remedy graphites is taken for thick and deformed nails. Belladona is for the first stages of a nail infection and silicea treats nails that have white spots.