5

votes

Why have my finger nails developed ridges?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 27, 2011 at 9:23 AM

I noticed a short while after starting to eat "paleo" that my nails were great - shiny and flat as flat.

Yesterday I noticed that they have developed ridges, along the length of the nail from nail bed to finger end. So in 20 months something has changed....

Some finger nails are more ridged than others, but does it indicate a deficiency of something? Or is it of no importance?? They aren't BIG ridges - more like the grain in wood.

6f4425e3c7dc0efe60da531c5d991487

(373)

on September 28, 2013
at 07:00 PM

Thanks for this answer. Wish I could double up-vote you!

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 23, 2013
at 04:01 AM

I pick at my cuticles, but have no ridges except small ones on my thumbs.

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 23, 2013
at 04:00 AM

I had big ridges in my thumb nails before being diagnosed with celiac disease. Cutting out gluten, improved my nail health. I now have small ridges in my thumb nails, but nothing compared with before.

74d3afd30ebc0d604d56c6de897bb9a8

(100)

on September 20, 2012
at 02:00 PM

Interesting, thanks for all the information! i do think nails can be an indicator of health - potassium or other mineral deficiencies or imbalances can manifest in nails.

2e841984c55e1f346f6e38f60c1620a6

(540)

on June 28, 2011
at 05:14 PM

I have them and I am hypothyroid as well. In general as I understand it it is a response to auto-immune diseases. I have psoratic arthritis as well and that can cause it as well.

E3267155f6962f293583fc6a0b98793e

(1085)

on June 27, 2011
at 09:43 PM

I pick at my cuticles too.

696079a860ef54810406ae25e4650863

(1623)

on June 27, 2011
at 06:36 PM

Also, higher carb diets take a lot of B vitamins to process in the body- might be related...

C3edabc6267abec9b5f8178e5d73552c

(725)

on June 27, 2011
at 03:55 PM

maybe biotin deficiency..

32123f4f25bdf6a7b70c9c2a719386ed

(396)

on June 27, 2011
at 02:33 PM

It was the same for me.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:13 PM

TORSO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on June 27, 2011
at 11:36 AM

I'm sure it is not that - and sure it is a deficiency, or possibly an excess, of something. I used to have ridges but they went away when I began paleo. But they have come back. It isn't swrious - I'd just like to figure out what I am doing differently to when I first was really strict .

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8 Answers

5
696079a860ef54810406ae25e4650863

on June 27, 2011
at 06:34 PM

From my research nail issues can commonly show up with increased stress (emotional or physical- crossfit anyone? ;), sickness or malabsorption of nutrients. While Paleo is awesome, we are all different and have different digestive 'situations', lives and relative nutrient needs. You may need to change up your diet a bit to include a few of the key components your body is currently in need of.

I've had increasing vertical ridges in my nails for years- it wasn't until after I was diagnosed Celiac that I did the research that indicated that mine were most likely due to nutrient malabsorption, particularly the B vitamins ( especially B12) and potentially iron.

In the last 6 months I've done several things (in addition to going Paleo) that I credit with helping greatly reduce the ridges...

  • B vitamin shots 1- 2x per month. I get the B12, B1, B6 and folate combo... Often these will be offered at a local community health store.
  • sublingual B vitamins for better absorption- Sprouts has one with B12, B6 and folate.
  • digestive enzymes and HCL with each meal to increase nutrient/mineral absorption
  • probiotics- both transient ones like lacto and bifidio strains and some of the the longer term colonizers (Prescript-assist or Bio-Kult have some). Note: most supplements only have the transient species which are great helpers, but only stick with you for about a week before heading out. These bacteria help us by producing a constant stream of vitamin k and b vitamins. Nice lil guys...
  • prebiotic & probiotic 'living' foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir...
  • reduced physical and emotional stress- including cutting back on my excessive workout schedule.

From what I've read it can take a while to get back to smooth nails- anywhere from months to years depending on the severity of your case. Mine are already greatly improved, especially after the regular B vitamin shots. Hope this helps.

NOTE: I have seen multiple doctors that assured me that the ridges were common and 'no big deal' (they said that about my initial celiac symptoms as well) , but their resolution after going gluten free and adding some key nutrients makes it seem likely to me that they are indicative of some low to moderate level of malabsorption. Probably not a HUGE worry, but something to pay attention to.

Here are a few quick links for general overview, unfortunately I don't have time to look up any pubmed goodies' so these will have to do ;)

http://www.askanaturopath.com.au/faqs/ridges-on-nails/p/403

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-causes-ridges-on-fingernails.htm

http://www.pamelaegan.com/articles/fingernails.htm

Note: I've also seen vertical ridges mentioned in rare cases as a result of kidney issues- probably not the case for you, but always good to know.

74d3afd30ebc0d604d56c6de897bb9a8

(100)

on September 20, 2012
at 02:00 PM

Interesting, thanks for all the information! i do think nails can be an indicator of health - potassium or other mineral deficiencies or imbalances can manifest in nails.

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 23, 2013
at 04:00 AM

I had big ridges in my thumb nails before being diagnosed with celiac disease. Cutting out gluten, improved my nail health. I now have small ridges in my thumb nails, but nothing compared with before.

6f4425e3c7dc0efe60da531c5d991487

(373)

on September 28, 2013
at 07:00 PM

Thanks for this answer. Wish I could double up-vote you!

0
313531e0b4125cb08f61d36b7efdadd8

(0)

on March 23, 2013
at 02:38 AM

I don't think it's age. I think it's from a bad diet. The age thing has to due with having a bad diet for long periods of time that it ruins the digestive system and begins to show up on your nails. I began to get ridges and indentations on my nails when I was 7. My family noticed it before me. I wasn't concerned. We saw a specialist of some kind who told my parents I needed to take vitamins, but I was never good at that. I always suffered from some mild digestive issue until I turned 21 and then all hell broke loose. For the past 5 years I've struggled to regain a normal existence. I'd suggest taking these little hints from our bodies seriously. You don't want to increase your deficiencies and gain even more health problems.

0
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 27, 2011
at 03:11 PM

I have them, and because it gets worse when I pick at my cuticles more I have always assumed it was because I abuse my cuticles.

E3267155f6962f293583fc6a0b98793e

(1085)

on June 27, 2011
at 09:43 PM

I pick at my cuticles too.

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 23, 2013
at 04:01 AM

I pick at my cuticles, but have no ridges except small ones on my thumbs.

0
E3267155f6962f293583fc6a0b98793e

(1085)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:29 PM

I have them too. I first noticed them at about age 52 or so. Had nothing to do with paleo as I wasn't eating paleo at that time. Nobody mentioned age when they first noticed them but I have read that it is more an age related condition. I seems most age related conditions are related to high refined carbohydrate consumption during an individuals lifetime.

I also use a buffing block to smooth my nails.

696079a860ef54810406ae25e4650863

(1623)

on June 27, 2011
at 06:36 PM

Also, higher carb diets take a lot of B vitamins to process in the body- might be related...

0
0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:13 PM

I have it too. Deep ridging may indicate problems, but superficial ones are pretty common. Hypothyroid keeps coming up as a potential link. I dunno, I guess if it wasn't so common the manicure section of the store wouldn't sell so many of those buffer thingys (clearly I do my nails a lot - I have no idea what that thing is called).

2e841984c55e1f346f6e38f60c1620a6

(540)

on June 28, 2011
at 05:14 PM

I have them and I am hypothyroid as well. In general as I understand it it is a response to auto-immune diseases. I have psoratic arthritis as well and that can cause it as well.

0
8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

on June 27, 2011
at 01:06 PM

I have the same thing. I've had it for a long time -- years and years -- and found no difference on Paleo. I looked it up a couple of months ago and everything I read basically said it's nothing. Or it didn't fit any of the illnesses, deficiencies listed for nails.

32123f4f25bdf6a7b70c9c2a719386ed

(396)

on June 27, 2011
at 02:33 PM

It was the same for me.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:13 PM

TORSO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

0
57cba22e17ff365965311299b1acbf10

on June 27, 2011
at 11:03 AM

Sounds like lichen planus. Nothing to do with Paleo

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on June 27, 2011
at 11:36 AM

I'm sure it is not that - and sure it is a deficiency, or possibly an excess, of something. I used to have ridges but they went away when I began paleo. But they have come back. It isn't swrious - I'd just like to figure out what I am doing differently to when I first was really strict .

0
Bf64da3ab3d78843378f6a8d48f6dd66

on June 27, 2011
at 10:45 AM

I have that too, well before I started eating whole foods. My nail will split at the ridge, so I tend to keep them very short. For a long time I only had one ridge on one nail, but I am starting to get them on other nails. It would be great if anyone knew what they were; calcium deficiency?

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