White spots on the fingernails belong to the most common ‘nail abnormalities’. Many people associate these whith spots with a calcium deficiency. However, the truth is that usually they do not relate to any’ health’ problem at all! A white spot is usually caused by a minor finger-related trauma!

In medical sciences a white spot on a fingernail is known as ‘leukonychia punctata’ – this name relates to the availability of nucleated keratinocytes.

NOTICE: A narrow white line in the nail – a.k.a. ‘transverse leukonychia’ – is another type of nail disorder.

White spots are typically caused by random minor trauma – including: pushing nail cuticles, or ‘nervous’ cuticle picking! This explains why white spots in nails are often seen in the hands of children!

White spots & zinc deficiency?

Despite that white spots are usually the result of a minor physical trauma, studies have shown that sometimes white spots can be the result of a zinc deficiency – so that should not be confused with the unfounded folklore tail that white spots in a fingernail might indicate a calcium deficiency! (See for example: Fingernail white spots: possible zinc deficiency)

Interestingly, in this perspective there even appears to be a connection between zinc definciency & trauma: stress! And in the field of palm reading professional palm readers have observed that white spots typically manifest in the fingernails when people experience a higher amount of stress than they usually do.

But in general, one should not expect to find a zinc deficiency when a person has only a few white spots. Because actually, a number of conditions can arise from a lack of zinc. One of the most important, which also lead to its discovery, was the stunting of growth and the lack of sexual development in adolescent boys; adding zinc to the diet brought about a rapid improvement. Skin complaints such as dermatitis and a condition called acrodermatitis in babies may result from deficiency, and there may be slow healing of burns and wounds. So zinc deficiency may show up as white spots or bands on fingernails, but probably only when other conditions manifest as well!

More details are discussed in the following topic at the Modern Hand Reading Forum:

White spots & calcium deficiency?

This part of the ‘folklore’ is not true. The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports:

“There is no evidence to support a relationship between the white flecks and calcium or any other nutritional deficiency. Of course it is possible that people who have white flecks in their fingernails may coincidentally be deficient in calcium. White spots in fingernails may result from minor damage caused by bumping the nails into hard surfaces like bench tops or machinery. These white flecks are different from the white bands that are observed in nails of some undernourished children in developing countries, and in people who have low blood protein levels for various reasons.”

Conclusion: white spots do NOT indicate a calcium deficiency!


What are the most common nail disorders?
Fingernail disorders & medical hand analysis!