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:
http://www.modernhandreadingforum.com/t201p15-white-spots-on-nails-leukonychia


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!


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White spots are probably the most common ‘abnormality’ that can be observed in fingernails. Many people associate them with calcium deficiency, but the truth is that usually they do not relate to any health problem at all!

In medical science white spots in fingernails are also known as ‘leukonychia punctata’ – which related to the presence of nucleated keratinocytes (contrary: narrow white lines in the nails are known as ‘transverse leukonychia’). Usually white spots are caused by random minor trauma – which also explains why they are relatively common in the hands of children!

Zinc deficiency? – Yep!

Sometimes white spots can indicate a zinc deficiency!

White spots can sometimes be associated with a zinc deficiency – this was e.g. pointed out in a 1974 study, titled: ‘Fingernail white spots: possible zinc deficiency‘.

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!

Calcium deficiency? – Nope!

White spots do NOT indicate a calcium deficiency!

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.”

 

NOTICE: Thin, brittle nails can be caused by calcium deficiency!

 

 

 

Iron deficiency? – Nope!

White spots do NOT indicate an iron deficiency!

NOTICE: Spoon-shaped nails (see photo below) may be a clue to a thyroid deficiency or iron deficiency anemia!

So, despite the many assocations – most of the stories about ‘white spots’ in fingernails are myths that are proably based on false anecdotal evidence!

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Fingernail measurement.

In 1941 Dr. William Bennett Bean started his study on nail growth. His investigation began back in 1941 when he filed a horizontal line just above the cuticle and then measured its stately progress up the fingernail.

The American physician subsequently published his findings – once (incorrectly) described as the most boring scientific study ever undertaken – as “Nail growth: 35 years of investigation”.

The actual rate of growth one may (or may not) be interested to learn is 0.123mm a day. But what is remarkable is its staggering constancy over many years – almost as if the nails were aware of the higher purpose they are intended to serve.

The growth slowed remarkably when Dr Bean was laid low by mumps, but compensated by doubling its speed for the following six months. Disease and trauma might be expected to have an adverse effect, but not so: the nails accelerate as if to “grow out” the damage – a fifth as fast again in regular nail-biters.

The only other body part (besides the hair) that shows a similar constancy of growth in adulthood are the ears. They increase in size by the same amount in a year as the nail does in a day.

A milestone in William Bean’s nail growth research concerns his 1963 paper:

‘A Discourse on Nail Growth and Unusual Fingernails’

William Bennett Bean (1909-1989)

William Bennett Bean
(8 Nov 1909 – 1 Mar 1989)

American physician and author. His research in nutrition included induced vitamin deficiencies in humans. He contributed more than 500 articles to professional journals, served on editorial boards, and wrote several books.

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FINGERNAIL
DISORDERS:

Onycholysis is the detachment of the fingernail from the nail bed.

Onycholysis usually starts at the distal part and is featured with a discoloration of the nail plate.

Onycholysis

 

What is onycholysis?

Onycholysis concerns the (painless) loosening of the nail plate from the nail bed. This nail condition is usually featured with a changing color in the distal part of fingernail – often turning whitish (white nails) or yellowish (yellow nails), reflecting the presence of air under the fingernail plate.

What causes onycholysis?

Onycholysis is often a harmless nail condition caused by a nail trauma/injury – in general you can reduce the risk for having this nail condition by keeping your nails short (and dry)!

Less common causes of onycholysis are:

Skin conditions, such as psoriasis or lichen planus;
Medical conditions, such as thyroid dysfunction;
Fungal infections;
Side-effects of medication;
Adverse effects of chemicals, such as nail polish remover;
Prolonged immersion in water.

What is the treatment for onycholysis?

The treatment for onlycholysis is simple when caused by a nail trauma/injury: trim the nail short, do not clean under the nail, and be patient. It generally takes 2 to 3 months to clear up.

In other cases you must try to ‘tackle’ the cause.

THE TREATMENT OF THIS FINGERNAIL DISORDER:
Onycholysis – also known as a ‘loosening nail plate’

PHOTO – An example of ‘onycholysis’ featured with various colors:

Onycholysis - loosening of fingernails.

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Leukonychia – having ‘white spots’ on your fingernails (white nails)


FINGERNAIL
DISORDERS:

Koilonychia is better known as a 'spoon nail'.

Koilonychia is a fingernail disorder.

Koilonychia

 

What is koilonychia?

Koilonychia (a.k.a. ‘spoon nails’) occurs when the free edge of the nail is turned inside out (everted), resulting in a concave fingernail.

What causes koilonychia?

Two common causes of koilonychia are:

• thyroid abnormalities;
iron deficiency anemia.

But koilonychia can also be caused by direct trauma, excessive use of oils and soaps, or other more rare medical problems such as:

• impaired peripheral circulation;
• musculoskeletal conditions;
• systemic lupus erythematosus;
• hemochromatosis;
• renal disease;
• Nail Patella Syndrome;
• Raynaud’s Disease;
• Hypoplastic Patella.

One must also be aware that in the hands of children a ‘spoon nail’ may occur as a normal condition of the nail (not caused by a disease).

MORE ABOUT THIS FINGERNAIL DISORDER:
Koilonychia – also knows as a ‘spoon nail’

PHOTO – An example of ‘spoon nails’ (koilonychia):

Spoon nails (koilonychia)

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Koilonychia is a common nail disorder in the hands of children