Changes in Nail Beds & Magnesium

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The appearance of your nails can often point to specific problems with your health. While low levels of magnesium can lead to changes in your nails, this mineral isn't the only reason for a change in nail appearance. Because nail changes and abnormalities can be caused by a wide variety of conditions, it's important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

About Magnesium

Your heart, kidneys, muscles and other important body organs depend on magnesium. This essential mineral also aids in energy production, activates enzymes and helps regulate calcium and other vital nutrients in your body. To ensure you have adequate levels of magnesium in your body, eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods, including leafy green vegetables, nuts and whole grains. While the University of Maryland Medical Center notes that magnesium deficiencies are fairly rare, most people still don't get quite enough of this essential mineral through their diet.

Magnesium and Nail Changes

A magnesium deficiency can cause poor nail growth, in addition to more serious symptoms such as high blood pressure, anxiety, muscle spasms and vomiting. Additionally, a condition called "hypoparathyroidism" can cause brittle nails, as well as other symptoms such as dry, scaly skin, dry hair, cataracts and tingling fingers, toes and lips. While injury to the parathyroid glands commonly causes hypoparathyroidism, this condition can also caused by low levels of magnesium in the blood.


Changes in nail beds may be caused by a wide variety of conditions. A nail bed with red streaks, for example, may point to an infection of the heart valve, while certain antibiotics can cause your nails to lift from your nail beds. Changes in the appearance of your nails may also be caused by diseases, tumors, infections, trauma to the nail, fungus, yeast or other vitamin deficiencies.


If you're concerned about your magnesium intake, see a doctor for an evaluation of your magnesium levels. Also, because some nail disorders may be a sign of a more serious and possibly life-threatening condition, don't ignore the signals that your nails send. See a doctor if you notice changes in your nails such as horizontal ridges, white lines, clubbed nails, distorted nails, splinter hemorrhages or changes in the color of your nails.