Nail Problems Print

Nails can indicate the state of your health. All parts of the body need nutrients, but the body prioritises the distribution thereof. Thus, deficiencies first manifest in high priorities, like the immune system and tissues, while the lower priority nails are an indicator of long-term health and dietary issues.

Healthy nails are strong, smooth and pink. They are made of keratin (a protein).
Thin, spoon shaped nails, especially on the thumb, are indictive of iron deficiency.

Such nails may become brittle and pale. Increased iron intake helps prevent iron deficiency anaemia and improves the general state of the nails.

Good sources of iron include red meat, breakfast cereals, poultry and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin C helps iron absorption from plants. Having citrus juices with meals is therefore advisable. Conversely, strong teas should be avoided during mealtime. The tannin in teas weakens iron absorption.

White spotted brittle nails are indicative of zinc deficiency. Zinc-rich foods include seafood, eggs, offal, meat, nuts, lentils and chickpeas.

Selenium deficiency may lead to wide bands on the nails known as Beau’s Lines. A selenium surplus can blacken the nails. Good sources of selenium include fish, brewer’s yeast, offal, grains and cereals. Shellfish is also a good source, but not approved according to the Hanafi school of jurisprudence.

The Calcium Myth
The nails contain only a tiny amount of calcium. The belief that calcium strengthens nails is incorrect. It plays little to no role in the process. White spots on the nails, formerly thought to be related to calcium deficiency is now linked to trauma to the nail (knocks and over manicuring) [UK National Health Service, Cleveland Clinic, et al.] However, some have observed a disappearance of white spots after an increased zinc intake.

Bacterial or fungal infections enter the skin through injuries, causing whitlows, a painful infection. Ointments help heal the infection. A balanced intake of vitamins and minerals also helps. Some people are more prone to whitlows. These include diabetics, people suffering from mineral deficiency, and hands which are frequently immersed in water, e.g. kitchen staff. They should wear rubber gloves when washing up.  

If water and soap cause brittle or split nails, apply hand cream regularly, especially after washing and drying your hands.

Hadith – Natural Disposition

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنَّهُ قَالَ ‏ "‏ الْفِطْرَةُ خَمْسٌ الاِخْتِتَانُ وَالاِسْتِحْدَادُ وَقَصُّ الشَّارِبِ وَتَقْلِيمُ الأَظْفَارِ وَنَتْفُ الإِبْطِ

Abū Hurayrah (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (Allah’s salutations and peace be upon him) said:

"Fiṭrah (natural disposition) includes these five – circumcision, removing the pubic hair, trimming the moustache, clipping the nails and plucking the armpit hair." [Muslim]

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