Mother Nature is wonderful and kind. There is nothing which goes on inside our bodies that is not mirrored, one way or the other, by some organs outside the body. The nails of the hands and the toes do this every day without many of us, including many of our doctors, knowing it.

But in Asia, the nails are about the first parts of the body that a doctors examines when a patient sits before him or her in the consulting room. The tongue, eyes, hair and skin are also evaluated. Until recently in the Western World when hair and nail analyses became popular, for detecting nutritional deficiencies or elevations, which may be the root causes of ailments, eye, skin and tongue examinations were carried out in orthodox medical Clinic for a limited range of ailments.

Being aware of the mirror that the nail is, I became naturally concerned for my health recently when I noticed changes in some of my otherwise healthy nails. Thank goodness, there were no white spots on any of the nails. As children, we stupidly believed that white spots on the nails were decorations by the cattle egret which flow in flocks, sometimes seasonally, sometimes around a flock of itinerant or grazing cattle. We sang, beseeching the white birds to lift us into themselves in the sky.

Whoever found white spots on his or her fingers considered himself or herself favoured and blessed. Alas, white spots on the nails mean Zinc deficiency in the system. And Zinc deficiency implies that something may go wrong in the more than 250 processes in which the body required zinc.

One of these processes is the absorption by the eye of Vitamin A for good vision. Some people may, therefore, consume an excess of Vitamin A in the search for healthy vision, especially at night, without the effort paying off because there is not enough Zinc in the body. The same goes for smooth, supple skin. When the hair is matted at birth or later on in life, Zinc deficiency is suspected.

When the immune system is weak, when sores do not heal normally and quickly, Zinc deficiency may be at work. When the growth of a child is stunted, check the Zinc level. When the breaths and the penis do not grow well, the outcome of an Egyptians study shows that supplementation of zinc in the diet may help.

For people of my age, and perhaps younger people, the fear of prostate gland problems is the beginning of wisdom. While a leaking colon dispatching fecal poison on the nearby prostate gland may be a root cause of prostate enlargement or prostate cancer, Zinc deficiency, too, cannot be ruled out. It is in the prostate that about 80 percent of the zinc in the body of a man is stored. This high store inhibits activities of an enzyme called 5 –Alpha Reductase.This enzyme may overstimulate the cells of the prostate to overgrow when zinc deficiency occurs in the prostate gland, because and adequate zinc storage in these organ prevents these enzymes from malfunctioning.

These days, when men, young and old, cannot easily take their eyes off women, frequent ejaculations drain or deplete zinc reserves in the prostate gland, exposing it to the havoc’s of an uninhibited 5-Alpha Reductase. To worsen matters, many sexually active men ignorantly fail to add zinc supplements to their diet. Being a fertility mineral as well, supplementation of the diet with Zinc has helped many couples to become parents. As a matter of routine, I take 15mg of Zinc with my meals every day. That is the minimum daily allowance or requirements in many countries.

THE CHANGES
Recently, i noticed on my nails vertical ridges on some fingers in both hands. There are no abnormalities in toe nails. An orthodox doctor friend of mine who incorporates nutritional medicine in his practice, suggests a new study links vertical ridging of the nails to an onset of the formation of stones in the liver, or more precisely in the gall bladder, and says the study also links these development to low blood pressure.
The liver?Respect for this organ may also be considered the beginning of health wisdom. For the liver is the central clearing house for all biochemical processes in the body.
As you would soon read, a nail “mirror”view would need to be corroborated by other checks the doctor may consider necessary to do. Often, these conventional checks corroborate what the mirror” of the nail is telling us. In the search for an authority to lead us on an excursion into the language our bodies speak to us through our nails, I could not find some well treasured books in my library. But in ANNE PIETRANGELO I find interesting and simple explanations. Her work on this subject was reviewed by GEORGE KRUCIK, M.D., in www.healthline.com. Anne Pietrangelo says:

“What are nail abnormalities? Normally, healthy nails appear smooth and have consistent colouring. As you age, you may develop vertical ridges or your nails may be a bit more brittle. This is harmless. Spots due to injury should grow out with the nail. “Abnormalities such as spots, discolouration and nail separation can result from injury to the hands and fingers, viral warts (periunguan warts), infections (onyechomycosis) and some medications, such as those used for chemotherapy. “Certain medical conditions can also change the appearance of your finger nails. However, these changes can be difficult to interpret, and your finger nails appearance alone is not enough to diagnose a specific illness. A physician will use this
Information along with other symptoms and a physical exam to make a diagnosis. You should always consult your doctor if you have any questions about your nail problems.

“Some changes in your nails are due to medical conditions that need attentions.
“ONE Discolouration (dark streaks, while streaks or changes in nail colour).
“TWO: Changes in nail shape (curling, or clubbing)
“THREE: Changes in nail thickness (thickening or thinning)
“FOUR: Nails that become brittle
“FIVE: Nails that are pitted
“SIX: Bleeding around nails
“SEVEN: Swelling or redness around nails.
“EIGTH: Pain around nails
“NINE: Nail separating from skin.”
Anne Pietrangelo explains what these symptoms may indicate.in her words:
BEAU’S LINES
Depressions that run across your finger nails are called beau’s lines. They are also known as transverse linear lesions. This can be a sign of malnourishment. Other conditions that becausebeau’s lines are (1) measles (2) Mumps (3) Peripherals Vascular diseases (4) pneumonia (5) Scarlet fever (6) uncontrolled diabetes (7) Zinc deficiency
“CLUBBING is when your nails thicken and curve around your fingertips, a process that generally takes years. This can be the result of low oxygen in the blood and is associated with……
(1) AIDS
(2) Cardiovascular diseases (3) inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) (4) Liver diseases(5) Pnemonary diseases.
“KOILON YCHIA” is when your finger nails have raised ridges and scoop outwards, like spoons. It is also called “spooning”, sometimes, the nail is curved enough to hold a drop of liquid. Spooning can be a sign that you have (1) heart diseases (2) hemochromatosis (a liver disorder that courses too much iron to be absorbed from food). (3) iron deficiency anaemia (4) lupus erythematosus (an auto immune disorder that causes inflammation) (5) Hypothyrodism (6) Reyriaudi’s diseases(a condition that limits blood circulation)
“LEUICON YCHIA
Non uniform white sports or lines on the nails are called leukonychia. They are usually the result of a minor trauma and are harmless“.
MEES LINES
Mees lines are transverse white lines. This can be a sign of arsenic poisoning. If you have this condition, your doctor will take hair or tissue samples to check for arsenic in your body.

“ONYCHOLYSIS
When the nail plate separates from the nail bed, it causes a white discoloration, this is called Onycholysis. This can be due to infection, trauma, or product used on the nails. Other causes for Onycholysis includes Psoriasis and thyroid disease.

“PITTING”.
Pitting refers to small depressions, or little pits in the nail. It is common in people who have psoriasis, or a skin condition that causes the skin to be dry, red, and irritated. Some systemic diseases can also cause pitting.

“TERRY’S NAILS”
When the tip of each nail has a dark band, it is called Terry’s Nails. This is often due to aging, but it can be caused by congestive heart failure, diabetes, or liver diseases.

“YELLOW NAIL SYNDROME is when the nail grows thicker and does not grow as fast as normal. Sometimes, the nail lacks a cuticle and may even pull away from the nail bed. This can be the result of (1) Internal malignancies (2) Lymphedema (Swelling of the hands) (3) Pleural Effusions (fluid build-up between the lungs and Chest County) (4) respiratory illnesses such as chronic bronchitis or sinusitis (5) rheumatoid arthritis “These are just some of the signs of abnormal finger nails.

HERBS FOR NAIL HEALTH
When we have problems with nail health, we naturally seek a solution to them. Women in particular do not joke with finger and toe nails that is why pedicure and manicure are worldwide big business, slow growing nails may be evidence of some nutritional deficiencies. Traditionally, Horsetail and stinging Nettle have been used for improving nail health. This is because they are high in Silica, which is immensely beneficial to the health of the hair, nail and skin and connective tissue. Today Diatom has joined the league, being between 92 and 96 percent Silica.

Silica is a hardener and needed by the connective tissue. For people who suffer from brittle nails, Biotin may be all they need. Veterinary (animal) doctors give Biotin to horses to make their hoofs stronger. Nature makes these hoofs from Keratin from which the human nail is also made; Biotin is a vitamin, Silica, a mineral, both underscoring the importance of vitamins and mineral to nail health.
If human health discomfitures reflects on the nail “mirror” and these discomfitures can be resolved through a resolution of these deficiencies, resolving them will naturally impacts positively on the unhealthy nail. Thus, resolving nail problems through the diet may resolve the internal problems this nail problems mirror.
Brittle and flaking nail may also be indicators of essential fatty acid (EFAs) deficiency. This can be connected by eating fatty dish such as Titus or by supplementing the diet with flax seed oil. There are many other useful cals rich in EFAs. These include Coconut oil, Olive oil, wheat germ oil (rich in Vitamins A, D and E, Vitamins B, B2 B3 B6, F and EFAs, protein and minerals), Amla Oil, Vitamin E, Jojoba cal Almond oil and pumpkin seed oil. In growing nails can be a nightmare. Naturally, nails grow from the back of the nailbed outwards. But, sometimes, they may reverse this direction, culling through tissue and coursing inflammation, redness pain and infection. Podists (foot care experts) advise against tight and pointed shoes.

According to the official consumer website of American foot and ankle surgeons: “when a toenail ingrown curved and grows into the skin usually at the nail borders (the sides of the nails),this digging in of the nail irritates the skin, often creating pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the toe.

“If an ingrown nail causes a break in the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area, which is often marked by drainage and a foul odour. However, even if the toe isn’t painful, red, swollen, or warm, a nail that curves downwards into the skin can progress to an infection. Causes of ingrown toe nail include heredity. In many people, the tendency for ingrown toe nails is inherited. Sometimes, an ingrown toe nail is the result of trauma such as stubbing your toe, having an object fall on your toe or engaging in activities that involve repeated pressure on the toes such as kicking or running. The most common cause of ingrown toe nail is cutting your nail too short. This encourages the skin to fold over the nail.Ingrown toe nails can result from wearing socks that are tight or short. They can also be caused by nail problems such as nail infections or losing a nail due to trauma”.

“The college discourages home treatment where infections have occurred in such medical conditions as “diabetes, nerve damage in the foot that put the foot at risk”.
“Where these conditions do not apply, the foot may be soaked in room temperature water (adding Epsom’s salt) may be recommended by your (doctors), and gently massage the side of the nail filed to help reduce the inflammation”.

“Avoid attempting surgery’ repeated culling of the nail can cause the condition to worsen over time. If your symptoms fail to improve, it’s time to see a foot and ankle surgeon”.
“To prevent ingrown toe nail, it is suggested that the nail be cut not too short but in a fairly straight line”.

“According to the website, every day roofs Nail fungus, be it on your toe nails or finger nails is an unpleasant business to leave to deal with, officially known as onychomycosis, it is most often caused by moisture trapped in warm dark place (because of shoes, that is why it so commonly affects toe nails which is the environment fungus thrives in. in some cases it can be caused by mold or yeast but is still collectively called nail fungus-nail mold or nail yeast. Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant possessing fungicidal and antibacterial properties that make it popular in treating toe nail fungus”.

“Orange oil has also shown promising result when it comes to getting rid of fungus and can be added to the mixture as well. Always remember to dilute the essential oil before applying to the nail. You will need one teaspoon of tea tree oil half teaspoon of orange oil (optional), half teaspoon of grape seed oil or Olive oil, cotton baits”.

“As soon as you notice the tell-tales, signs of nail fungus, mix together, sock a cotton ball in the mixture and apply to affected nail, pressing it on gently but firmly so the liquid comes quit. Let this dry naturally, then, alternatively, you can place four to five drops of tea tree oil in enough water to soak your feet in and do that for 15 to 20 minutes. Both treatments should be done faithfully morning and evening”.

Also recommended is vinegar and Baking soda soak. Coconut oil gets a good mention also. It has medium chain fatty acids which destroy the cell membrane of the fungi or mold. Thus destroys the fungus. This is why coconut oil has been used to destroy parasites in the intestine, especially in HIV patients who are prone to opportunistic diseases. Let us thank the Creator for the Wisdom which makes our nails and other parts of our bodies mirror to us what is going on in this bodies, and for the gifts of foods and herbs which helps us to solve this problems.

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