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Diet and Nutrition

Healthy fingernails? - longitudinal lines

07/24/1998

Question:

Are ridged fingernails related to a nutrition problem? The ridges I have in mind are vertical, extending from the bottom of the nail to the top.

Answer:

Lines extending along the length of the nail are referred to as longitudinal lines. These lines are common changes, most of caused by normal aging.

Iron, Vitamin B-12, and zinc deficiencies and severe malnutrition can also cause nail changes. The changes you have described, however, are not suggestive of a significant nutritional disease.

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Response by:

Jill Foster, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati