I didn’t used to think much about my nails––that is, until I noticed they didn’t grow straight and had several indentations on them. I instantly thought, well, what’s up with that? Literally, my nails curved at the tips and grew downwards. For some reason, my doctors didn’t think much of it. I showed my PCP and gastroenterologist, yet neither of them became concerned.

However, my mom knew something was wrong. No normal nails should have indentations from the tip to the cuticle. Plus, nail abnormalities usually indicate some sort of significant health or nutritional problem. Given my lack of eating from gastritis, my mom became very concerned that I had some sort of deficiency. As a result, we researched nail abnormalities. Guess what? My nails matched some of the pictures!

Turns out I have Beau’s lines––a condition marked by horizontal depressions along the fingernails. Here’s an example on the left and my nail on the right (it’s hard to see, but if you look closely, you’ll notice the similarities.

Beau’s lines usually indicate interruption of growth from severe illness or injury, but it’s also associated with zinc deficiency. In addition, this condition can result from internal or external traumatic circumstances.

What I found interesting is how this article from NailsMag says lines usually appear only on one nail from local trauma (e.g. a hammer hitting a nail), yet only my thumbnails have Beau’s lines and I never injured them.  I guess each body responds differently.

On this note, nail ridges can also indicate Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C, zinc, and calcium deficiencies. I’m definitely Vitamin B-12 deficient because my dad is and I’m often fatigued. I may also have a calcium deficiency because I don’t eat many high-calcium foods. Because of this, I take supplements for both.

Contact your doctor if you notice any nail abnormalities––your nails may help you discover a possible illness or nutritional problem!




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