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These 3 Facts About Your Nails Will Leave You Amazed

There is also a lot that you don't know about your nails. Here are three extremely shocking facts about your nails.

These 3 Facts About Your Nails Will Leave You Amazed

Nails are one of the important differences in mammals and primates


  1. Nails are made of the same thing as your hair
  2. Our nails need blood to survive and grow
  3. White spots don't mean calcium deficiency
Surprisingly, most of the things that you believe about your nails aren't actually true. For example, nails aren't dead or artificial, they are a living tissue. There is also a lot that you don't know about your nails. Like the fact that women's nails grow faster than men's. Nails are one of the important differences in mammals and primates. Unlike the regular claws that mammals possess, humans developed fingers and nails to aid transportation and picking up of smaller things. And while you may not think about them until you want to color them or hurt them, there is good reason to do so now. Your nails actually have jobs to do. Here are 3 facts about your nails that will blow your mind.

Fact 1: Nails are made of the same thing as your hair

Not just this, the same substance also forms feathers, animal hooves, horns and claws. This substance is called Keratin and is a protein. While our hair are thin and can be easily broken, the difference in the organization of the protein in our nails makes them so hard tough to break. When the mass of cells that produce nails, called the matrix divides, new cells produce keratin. Older cells die and are pushed out. The toughness of the nails comes from the dead cells that are attached to the junctions of the living cells where they interlock like a jigsaw puzzle. A gel like keratin cross links the crystalline form of keratin into filaments and since these filaments are larger in number in nails than hair, our nails are stronger than the hair.

This also means that all foods that strengthen our hair are also effective in strengthening our nails.

Variations in the hardness of nails on an individual basis is determined mostly by genetic factors and some other interesting and often ignored factors like too much hand-washing getting frequent manicures and using a lot of chemical sanitizer.

Fact 2: Our nails need blood to survive and grow

Our nails look pink because there is a network of blood vessels under them which feeds the nail bed, the flat surface under our nails. When cells at the root of the nail grow, the new nail cells push out the old nail cells. These old cells flatten and harden, thanks to keratin. The newly formed nail then slides along the nail bed. This nail bed or plate needs blood flow, oxygenation, and nutrients to grow normally.

Actions that cause pain to our nails like hitting your toe to the bed or the door damage the delicate microscopic connections that provide this nutrition so much so that the already growing nail may not be able to recover well enough to keep growing. This may make the nail to fall off completely until the nail bed has recovered and is able to reattach itself to a healthy growing nail.

However, if the damage has occurred in the nail roots or the cuticle that hides the roots, you may always have a misshaped nail growing on your toe or finger.

Fact 3: White spots don't mean calcium deficiency

Despite what your mom has always told you, white spots on your nail don't mean a calcium deficiency. This is one of the most well preserved myths related to nails, with 1 in every 2 people believing that they must increase their calcium intake to remove the white spots on their nails. Formally called as Leukonychia, white spots on nails are very common and entirely harmless. They are generally caused due to an injury to your nail bed or the nail plate like hitting your nails against a counter or desk. It may also happen due to an allergic reaction from the nail polish or remover or sometimes, it the entire nail has turned white, due to a fungal infection. White superficial onychomycosis is the most common fungal infection found on toe-nails, which can make your nails look brittle and spotty. Oral medications can counter this infection.

Nails are more complicated than we think. Since they are living and protect our fingers and toes from injury, it is important that even we protect our nails just like we protect the rest of our body.

nail health care indicator

Nails are one of the important differences in mammals and primates
Photo Credit: iStock

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