advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Worried about White Spots on Fingernails?

I sometimes get white spots on my fingernails. I've been told that they're a sign of a calcium deficiency, but I get plenty of calcium from my diet, and I do take a supplement every day. What causes the spots?

A
Answer (Published 2/11/2005)

The spots you notice are not caused by a calcium deficiency. They're called "leukonychia" and are very common. Most of the time the white spots simply are a sign of some past injury to the matrix (base) of your nails. By the time the white spot shows up (about six weeks after the injury) you've probably forgotten all about banging or knocking your fingers. Sometimes, the injury can stem from a manicure that put excessive pressure on the base of the nails. The spots also can be a sign of an allergic reaction to nail polish or nail hardeners and, sometimes, are a symptom of a mild infection.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet! - Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here - including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! Start your 14-day free trial now - and start eating anti-inflammatory today!

Whatever the cause, the spots are temporary and will grow out as your nails grow. However, it can take more than eight months for nails to grow out completely so the spots may be around for a while.

Sometimes, a change in the appearance of your nails does indicate an underlying disease, but these changes would be more dramatic than just the occasional white spot. Nails that turn completely white, for example, can indicate liver disease, but by the time this happens, you probably would have other symptoms.

Incidentally, in addition to the myth that white spots on the nails are a sign of calcium deficiency, you may also have heard that they indicate a zinc deficiency. That isn't true either. Neither is the well known but bizarre notion that the spots are due to eating too much Hellmann's mayonnaise (I'm not making this up).

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here