Problems in the appearance of fingernails can indicate health issues. Nail abnormalities mostly involve colour, shape, thickness and texture of the nails. Depression lines or ridges on the finger nails can result from malnutrition or a nail injury. Health conditions like nutrient deficiency, liver diseases, and kidney disorders can cause nail abnormalities like fingernail ridges. Vertical fingernail ridges are bumps that extend from the base of the fingernail to the tip in an orderly and aligned positioning. These fingernail ridges are normal, become prominent with age, and are not always a sign of a health issue. Horizontal fingernail ridges are bumps, which run across the nail from one side to another in the width. Although not always, but horizontal fingernail ridges can indicate a medical condition. While nail ridges which include white lines can signal towards arsenic poisoning, horizontal dents on the nails are a sign of beau lines. Horizontal ridges on the fingernails form due to malnutrition, circulatory diseases or uncontrolled diabetes. If horizontal ridges on the fingernails persist, the fingernails appear clubbed or blue, or discoloration of fingernails occurs, the doctor should be consulted without delay.
Can Vitamin Deficiency Cause Ridges On Fingernails?
Wondering, can Vitamin Deficiency Cause Ridges on Fingernails? Well, the answer is YES and certain vitamins, the deficiency of which causes ridges on fingernails are:
Vitamin-A Deficiency Causes Ridges on Fingernails
Vitamin A is a group of fat-soluble vitamins, which are essential for the formation and maintenance of the cells and organs, including the nails. Two kinds of vitamin A, namely beta-carotene and retinol, are present in the diet. Beta carotene is the most vital form of vitamin A and is present in loads in foods like squash, carrots, kale, sweet potato, and spinach. Animal foods like meat, dairy, and fish are rich in retinol. But most people fail to consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, and thus end up suffering from a deficiency of beta-carotene. For adults, the recommended intake of vitamin A is 700 to 900 micrograms per day. Vitamin A deficiency does cause ridges on fingernails.
Ridges on Fingernails Caused by Vitamin-B Deficiency
The B group of vitamins play a very important role in many bodily functions, such as cell growth. Vitamin B12 is responsible for strengthening the nails and promoting their healthy growth. So, a deficiency in vitamin B can also lead to the formation of fingernail ridges.
Vitamin-C Deficiency Causing Ridges on Fingernails
Along with the deficiency of vitamin A and B, the lack of vitamin C also causes nail abnormalities. The nails become brittle, curved and also cause ridges on fingernails because of the lack of vitamin-C. The deficiency of vitamin C is mainly caused by an unhealthy diet or poor absorption of vitamins in the body.
Certain other nutrients whose deficiency can also lead to the development of ridges on fingernails are:
Nail Ridges Caused by Calcium Deficiency:
Like vitamin A, calcium also plays an important role in the formation of skin, hair and nails. Menopausal women face a greater risk for osteoporosis because of low intake of calcium. Optimal amount of calcium is required to maintain the health of the nails and other tissues which rely on calcium. The richest dietary source of calcium is dairy foods. Tofu and Sardines are the best non-dairy calcium-rich foods. Some other foods which contain calcium in smaller amounts are almonds, sweet potatoes, sesame seeds, and white beans. Apart from these, it is difficult to get enough calcium from other dietary sources. The recommended daily calcium intake is 1000 mg. Women aged over 50 year require slightly more, i.e. around 1200 mg, of calcium to help prevent bone loss.
Nail Ridges Caused by Zinc Deficiency:
The body depends on dietary zinc for properly carrying out different functions involving memory, learning and regulating of the immune system. Zinc is also responsible for maintaining the skin and nail health. The best dietary sources of zinc are animal foods, like pork and lean beef. Even beans, nuts and whole grains are great sources of dietary zinc. Adults are recommended to consume about 8 mg to 11 mg of zinc every day to prevent the formation of nail ridges.
Iron Deficiency Resulting in Nail Ridges:
Iron deficiency leads to the formation of ridges in the fingernails which are generally accompanied by white spots. Iron deficiency is also associated with a condition called Koilonychia.
Prevention of Ridges on Fingernails
A balanced diet packed with vitamins, protein and minerals can help prevent fingernail ridges. Consuming wholegrain foods, fruits, and green vegetables regularly helps to achieve the recommended intake levels for nutrients. If the diet lacks certain vitamins and nutrients, supplement of the same can be consumed to make up for the deficiency. Picking or biting the nails should be avoided to prevent nail abnormalities such as nail ridges. To keep the finger nails healthy, they should be clipped, kept short and should not be painted with harsh nail polish.
Prognosis of Ridges on Fingernails
Not all raised lines or ridges on fingernails are a cause of concern. Although vertical nail ridges can at times result from nutritional deficiencies, they commonly occur as a normal sign of aging. Like bones, skin, and hair, the nails also undergo changes as one grows older. The cell turnover within the nail decreases, leading to alterations linked with the aging process. Contrary to vertical nail ridges, horizontal nail ridges are often more of a health concern. People who eat a diverse healthy diet loaded with fruits and vegetables do not need to worry about nutrient deficiency. They can; however, face a risk for deficiency if they have a condition which decreases their ability to absorb nutrients from food like inflammatory bowel disease. Seniors face an increased risk of vitamin deficiency because of a lower nutrient absorption rate and decreased food intake. People who are at a risk of nutrient deficiency should consult the doctor regarding the same in time.