Your nails can give you a vitamin B12 deficiency warning!

Did you know that your body's way of telling you about a vitamin B12 deficiency can be through your nails? Read on!
manicured nails
Your nails will thank you after a good DIY manicure! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Radhika Bhirani Published: 19 May 2022, 18:19 pm IST
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Beautify your nails as much as you want, but keep an eye on them also for some important health signs that they can give. If white spots on nails are indicative of a vitamin or mineral deficiency, hyperpigmentation of nails can signify a vitamin B12 deficiency, says a study.

Yes, the nails can reflect a tell-tale sign of a deficiency of this essential vitamin, whch plays a key role in forming red blood cells, in regulating cell metabolism, for keeping the nervous system healthy, releasing energy from food and producing of DNA! Now that we know how important vitamin B12 is for our body, let’s get to know about the signs we must look out for in our nails.

vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 plays an important role for your well-being. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Link between vitamin B12 deficiency and nails

The nail sign was investigated after a 12-year-old boy presented with progressive darkening of nails of both hands and feet over three months, according to a study published in BMJ. The investigators deduced that nail changes in vitamin B12 deficiency present as hyperpigmentation of nails. So, one may see bluish discoloration of nails, blue-black pigmentation with dark longitudinal streaks, and longitudinal and reticulate darkened streaks.

This study also notes that nail pigmentation associated with B12 deficiency is more frequent in patients with dark skin. And the reason is likely to be decreased glutathione levels resulting in disinhibition of tyrosinase, an enzyme of melanogenesis leading to increased melanin synthesis.

How to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency

Well, according to Ayurveda health coach Dimple Jangda, Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that your body can’t make on its own. So, you must ensure getting it from your diet or from supplements.

Vegetarians, people who are pregnant or nursing, and others who are at risk of deficiency, should especially be vigilant about their vitamin B12 levels.

food for vitamin B12
Include some specific vegetables in your diet! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

In an Instagram post, the expert shares 12 foods you should consume to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency:

1. Vegetables: Pack your plate with vitamin B12 rich veggies such as spinach, beetroot, potatoes, mushrooms, alfalfa.

2. Ghee: This forever favourite Indian kitchen ingredient contains essential fatty acids like omega 3 fatty acid, butyric acid, fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, K and vitamin B12. The next time your mom gives you rotis with ghee, don’t make a face!

Check out Dimple Jangda’s Instagram post on vitamin B12!

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3. Fortified cereals: Go for fortified cereals, which are low in sugar and high on fiber for the best results.

4. Fortified nutritional yeast: This is a vegan food product, and is said to be a very rich source of vitamin B12.

5. Almond, almond milk, milk and dairy products

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About the Author

Radhika Bhirani is a journalist with close to 15 years of experience in the Indian media industry. After writing extensively on health, lifestyle and entertainment, she leads the English content team at Health Shots. She has a special interest in writing on mental health and wellness. ...Read More

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