What Do Yellow Toenails Mean?

Did you know your toenails can give you a clue to underlying health conditions you have, that you might not even be aware of? While fungus or nail polish are the usual suspects when your toenails turn yellow, your nails also may change colors because you have respiratory problems or swelling in your legs, according to MedicalNewsToday. Other medical conditions that can turn the nails yellow include psoriasis, tuberculosis, diabetes and sinusitis. If you don’t wear nail polish and your toe nails are yellowing, chipping, bleeding or changing in other ways, it may be time to see your doctor.

Your nails, on your feet and hands both, can reveal lots of things about your overall health. For example, if you’re a smoker, that can turn your tails yellow. If you have dry, cracked, split or brittle nails, it could be due to a fungal infection or thyroid disease, as well as a sign that you’re deficient in vitamins A and C or the B vitamin biotin.

Clubbed nails, on your feet or hands, can be an indicator of liver or kidney disease, heart disease, or even AIDS. While vertical ridges are usually a sign of aging, they also can indicate certain nutrient deficiencies, such as B12 or magnesium. Dark discolorations may indicate a deadly form of skin cancer; white nails with a strip of pink may be a sign of congestive heart failure or other serious conditions.

Even the growth rate of your nails may give clues about what’s happening inside you. (Healthy nails grow, on average, 3.5 millimeters a month, but this is influenced by your nutritional status, medications, trauma, chronic disease, and the aging process itself.)

One way to ensure good nail health is to take care of your body from the inside, out. If you eat a balanced, whole-food diet like the one described in my nutrition plan, you're probably giving your body more than adequate amounts of the vitamins and minerals it needs to function, which will then extend to the health of your nails as well as your hair and skin.

Improving your collagen intake can help, too, as collagen affects your skin, nails, hair, tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones, as well as your teeth, gums, eyes and blood vessels. You can get collagen from a good bone broth — something that is now considered a “superfood.” It’s easy to make bone broth at home; just make sure to use only the best chicken or beef from organically-raised, pastured or grass fed animals.

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