Listening to Our Nails

It wasn't until we left our home that I noticed the numerous white spots or white lines on our fingernails. When I say numerous, I mean 4 or 5 spots per nail. Multiply this by 11 people and we had an epidemic! Kaitlyn mentioned it several times while we were in the house, but I thought nothing of it. We had more urgent health concerns. The condition is known as leukonychia, a term derived from the Greek words leuko ("white") and onyx ("nail"). Leukonychia can arise when the nail bed is damaged. More commonly it is linked to a zinc deficiency or other underlying immune system issue. Since toxic mold wreaks havoc with the immune system, it's no surprise our nails were covered in white spots.

Rather than focus on a zinc supplement, we focused on the malabsorption of minerals that can lead to a zinc deficiency. This is one of many reasons I learned to soak grains before cooking them. Grains contain phytic acid, which interferes with the absorption of minerals. According to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions:

Phosphorus in the bran of whole grains is tied up in a substance called phytic acid. Phytic acid combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, blocking their absorption. Whole grains also contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion. Traditional societies usually soak or ferment their grains before eating them, processes that neutralize phytates and enzyme inhibitors and in effect, predigest grains so that all their nutrients are more available. Sprouting, overnight soaking, and old-fashioned sour leavening can accomplish this important predigestive process in our own kitchens. Many people who are allergic to grains will tolerate them well when they are prepared according to these procedures.

Since more than half of all the immune cells in our body are in the gut, it made sense to focus on the digestive tract to restore some of our mineral deficiencies, including zinc. Some of us have eliminated grains completely from our diet.The good news is the spots have virtually disappeared. We do have a few remaining spots, including these three:

Nail picking and nail biting were also an issue in the house. It didn't occur to me that this was anything but a nervous habit. Until we treated the nails with an antifungal and the nails healed. As we continue to detox the habit sometimes returns, only to abate when we add the nail treatment. We have found success with JASON's Tea Tree Oil Nail Saver. I'm also partial to Healin' Hollers Anti-Fungal Salve.

I continue to marvel at the ways our bodies let us know when something is wrong.

And the reward that comes from listening.