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Ever Wondered Why You Have Those White Spots on Your Nails? It Might Have to Do With Calcium Deficiency

When you look down at your fingernails you may notice little white marks, but in most cases, this is nothing to worry about, so you can breathe a sigh of relief. These marks are called leukonychia, and according to Healthline, many healthy adults will have these marks at some point during their lifetime—it can happen to anyone, regardless of age or ethnicity.

The marks can differ in appearance, some may appear as tiny dots, others as horizontal lines or white bands down the nail. There are several types of leukonychia, depending on the appearance, but some of the most common causes are nail injury (including hitting your nail hard, nail biting, or manicures), fungal infections, allergic reaction (to types of manicure products and the use of acrylic or gel nails), and also a mineral deficiency.

If the leukonychia is caused by a mineral deficiency, then it is likely to be a zinc or calcium deficiency, Healthline reports.

Of course, there are less common causes of white marks on the nails, and these could represent something more serious. Heavy metal poisoning (such as lead and arsenic) could be a cause of parallel white bands called Mees lines, but this was more common in earlier decades when the water was tainted, Reader’s Digest reports. Medical News Today notes that systemic diseases, such as heart failure, diabetes, kidney disease, and liver cirrhosis, can also result in the appearance of white marks on the fingernails, but it’s important to remember that these conditions are rarely the cause.

If you want to test whether you have “true leukonychia” defined by spots on the nail itself, or “apparent leukonychia” which is actually on the skin underneath the nail bed (and is more serious), then according to Reader’s Digest, all you need to do is press down on the fingernail. If the white spot remains, it’s true leukonychia, which is usually harmless, however, if the mark disappears or changes color, it could be apparent leukonychia, which could be an indication of a more serious health condition.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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