Pitted Nails

Nails are comprised of Keratin (protein) a tough substance that protects the end of each finger and toe. Pitting of the nails appears as small depressions on the nail surface. The nail may also become weakened enough to crumble and fall off. It is advisable to see a health care professional about this symptom as it often indicates underlying health problems.

The condition of the nails are a helpful tool for Naturopath’s when compiling information about their patient, an interesting saying goes the story of his illness is written somewhere on the man. Naturopathy takes into account many different diagnosis signs and symptoms (plus lifestyle, diet, family history, medical history, living environment etc.) in order to devise a holistic treatment plan. Signs on the nails may assist in indicating possible ailments, deficiencies and weakness but should not be considered a definitive diagnosis without also looking at many other aspects of an individuals health in order to get the most informed view.


  • Psoriasis – pitting of the nails appears in 10% – 15% of patients with the disorder
  • Lichen Planus (skin rash)
  • Alopecia areata (hair loss)
  • Chronic dermatitis
  • Reiter’s syndrome (and other connective tissue disorders)
  • Sarcoidosis (inflammatory nodule formations)
  • Pemphigus (blistering autoimmune disease)
  • Incontinentia pigmenti (a genetic disorder that affects the skin, hair, teeth, and nails)


  • Silica rich foods – onions, celery, cucumbers, barley, oats, root vegetables, slippery elm powder, green leafy vegetables and cereals
  • Essential fatty acids – fish oil, flaxseed oil, nuts and seeds, fish, avocados, evening primrose oil, walnuts, sunflowers, seaweed, wheatgerm oil and tofu
  • Consume more digestive and enzymatic foods to ensure better mineral absorption such as Apple cider vinger, lemon juice, bitter lettuces (rocket, endive, raddichio, kale)
  • Eat plenty of green leafy vegeatables (spinach, bok choy, broccoli, kale, slippery elm powder) as these contain B Vitamins, Silica and folic acid
  • Ensure that you eat quality proteins (organic chicken, eggs, tempeh, tofu, red meat, fish, nuts and seeds)


  • Address any underlying digestive troubles which may cause malnutrition (leaky gut, low absorption, inflammatory bowel diseases, hyperacidity)
  • Improve nutrient deficiencies
  • Address immune weaknesses


  • Slippery elm powder before meals helps improve mineral absorption in the small intestines
  • Herbs which may assist in improving the appearance of the nails are: Gotu Kola, Horestail and Oats
  • B Vitamins, Choline, Inositol and Biotin are all essential nutrients to improve the quality and appearance of the hair, skin and nails
  • The minerals Zinc, Calcium, Silica and Iron form the building blocks for hair skin and nails
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Amino acids (proteins) – Cysteine, Methionine and Taurine