Vitamin B12 and Fingernails – Your Roadmap to Health

Vitamin B12 and Fingernails
Ridges on Thumbnail

This is a fingernail, Obviously.

The health issues it shows aren’t as obvious unless you know that vitamin B12 and fingernails are connected: Your fingernails show hidden health issues caused by low vitamin B12 levels.

Numbness, losing your balance or memory may be intermittent and seem trivial. They may, in fact, mean nothing serious. On the other hand, numbness can be a sign of low vitamin B12 levels and deficiency.

Being unable to find a word that used to come easily to mind is a more subtle sign of sinking B12 levels. Or, it could be a blip caused by increased stress.

What mental blips and physical problems like numbness have in common is that they increase worry and the very stress that worsens health. It’s so unfair!

But, you don’t have to be lost in stress and worry. Once you know about B12, there’s a sense of relief and things begin to look up. In that respect, vitamin B12 and your fingernails offer a kind of “roadmap” to health. If you see ridges on your fingernails, or that you’ve lost your moons, you can easily begin using Methylcobalamin lozenges.

Methylcobalamin and Hydroxycobalamin are forms of vitamin B12 our bodies use. Methylcobalamin is readily available in the US. Hydroxycobalamin is readily available in Australia, England and other places. Cyanacobalamin has to be changed to a usable form.

Using Methylcobalamin or Hydroxycobalamin turns your body in the direction of health, but it doesn’t instantly put you there. It’s like driving, once you learn you’ve been going in the wrong direction, you aren’t instantly where you meant to be. Though it is common among people beginning to use vitamin B12 to feel improvement within a day or two: mind fog lifts, numbness reduces. Just keep in mind that low vitamin B12 levels and deficiency affect your health from deep within your tissues. To actually turn your health around you need to give your body B12 over a period of time so that levels in deep tissue are replenished.

Within a month or two you will see the ridges on your nails growing out and moons beginning to reappear. You will experience less numbness, less confusion finding words, less tingling in your hands and feet, among other things. Check a comprehensive list of Symptoms of Low Vitamin B12.

The beauty of having a roadmap of your innermost health at your fingertips, or more accurately, on your fingernails, is that you can quickly turn your health around.

Innermost health

Aside from when you cut yourself, your nervous circulatory systems are tucked away so neatly inside your body that you don’t think about them. And, that’s great. Except, one of the most serious dangers your innermost health faces is that you make it compete for your attention.

It’s surprisingly easy to remove that danger by looking at at your fingernails, or feeling them for clues to your innermost health. Basically, low vitamin B12 levels harm nerves and/or blood. While you can’t see your nervous system or your circulatory system you can see how they are doing by looking at and feeling your fingernails.

Ridges and no moons on fingernails

Two decades ago when I began my site the connection between vitamin B12 and fingernails wasn’t well known. In fact, I wondered if it truly existed. At the time I had huge ridges and no moons on some of my fingernails. I didn’t get a good enough camera to photograph my fingernails until 2006, when I took this iconic picture on December 29:

ridges on thumbnail

My health suffered dramatically before I noticed the ridges. It suffered even more during the time it took to begin vitamin B12 injections. But as soon as I had B12 injections the ridges became less pronounced.

Jarrow Methyl B12, 5000mcg, 60 Lozenges   Jarrow Methyl B12 5000 mcg

I correlated changes in my fingernails from B12 replacement with undeniable improvement in my memory, ability to sleep, depression, pain level and other health problems. That’s how I became convinced that there’s a connection between vitamin B12 and fingernails. Pictures I took of my fingernails along the way show the improvement and confirm the fingernails/B12 connection.

Is diagnosing health from fingernails new?

No! In 400 B.C.E. Hippocrates, father of clinical medicine, said fingernails reveal health and inner condition. He was the first person we know of to identify clubbing, where a fingernail bends over, as a sign of lung and heart disease.

Normal vs Clubbed Fingernail
Normal vs Clubbed Fingernail – Advanced Disease

More common than lung and heart disease are issues related to the nervous and circulatory systems, two huge systems within our bodies.

As in many things the initial signs of serious problems can be small and easy to ignore. For instance, did it ever occur to you that losing your balance might coincide with a drop in your vitamin B12 level and that it might signal the beginning of life altering nerve issues?

The fact is, fingernail ridges and faint moons often coincide with health problems involving balance, numbness, depression, memory decline, or in other words, low vitamin B12 signs.

Your fingernails can keep you current with your health, or impending lack thereof: Every six months you have a new fingernail. The rate of growth from cuticle to tip is about an eighth inch a month. As a result, your fingernails are constantly giving you an updated view of your otherwise hidden nerve and blood health.

Good vitamin B12 levels produce white moons at the base of each fingernail. When levels are low, the thumb’s moon is last to go. (Tessa Jupp, R.N., active in the Post-Polio Network, Dec. 2001).

Reading vitamin B12 research isn’t for everyone. Some research is dense with medical terminology. But, research can give you information and perspectives to help you choose what’s especially good for you with your body’s specific health characteristics.

Other Signs of Deficiency & Malabsorption

  • tingling hands and feet
  • numbness
  • memory problems
  • feeling exhausted
  • depression
  • sensitivity to noise
  • lots of brown spots
  • bleeding gums
  • burning sensation (possibly on thighs)
  • legs hurt and “jump” at night
  • pain, including bone pain in legs
  • balance and gait problems
  • heavy menstrual bleeding or nose bleeds
  • diarrhea
  • comprehensive list of low vitamin B12 signs

Just to be clear, with or without moons, you may have ridges on your fingernails. These can be faint, to very visible, even ridges on top of ridges that look like hogback hills. To see them clearly use a magnifying glass or reading glasses.

If you have faint, hardly noticeable ridges that look more like lines, you most likely have  few symptoms of low vitamin B12 levels. If you ignore early vitamin B12 and fingernails warnings, other symptoms will follow. But, if you take action you can reverse early damage to your nervous and circulatory systems.

Blue skin under your fingernails indicates a shortness of red blood cells and by extension the oxygen they carry. For me, from the time I was a child until I had vitamin B12 replacement I had blue coloring to my nail beds. Doctors invariably diagnosed iron deficiency. Taking the prescribed iron brought pink to my nail beds and stopped the dizziness I otherwise experienced when I stood up, especially if I’d been squatting to pull weeds. The trouble was, the improvement never lasted.

B12 replacement changed that. From the time I began having B12 shots and later using methylcobalamin lozenges I have had pink nail beds and I don’t get dizzy when I stand up. Doctors no longer tell me I’m iron deficient.

Low vitamin B12 levels often account for health issues. I don’t say, “vitamin B12 deficiency” because B12 tests accept a range of low B12 levels as normal, without labeling them as a deficiency. It’s more useful to think in terms of what constitutes healthy vitamin B12 levels.

Low Vitamin B12 levels affect blood or nerves, or both. It’s not the same for everyone. What is the same is that red blood cells are supposed to divide. For many people a stomach disorder causes B12 malabsorption. If you can’t absorb vitamin B12 your red blood cells are affected and become large instead of dividing. When red blood cells no longer fit into tiny blood vessels you begin to experience numbness.

Methylcobalamin relieves symptoms

The form of B12 your body uses is Methylcobalamin. If you give your body cyanocobalamin, it will make methylcobalamin, but some potency is lost. If you use a 1,000 mcg methylcobalamin lozenge a day, for a month, that equals a B12 shot.

jarrow-1000mcg-methylcobalamin-lozenges-50  Methylcobalamin Lozenges 1000 mcg

Vitamin B12 is safe because your body excretes what it doesn’t use. You needn’t worry that Methylcobalamin will hurt you. As a point of reference, I used five to ten 5 mg. Methylcobalamin lozenges each day for over 5 years before the cobalamin built up enough to cause muscle spasms/cramping.

Then, as soon as I began taking Cilantro capsules to bind B12’s cobalt, the spasms diminished in frequency till they went away. B12’s name, cobalamin, derives from cobalt, the essential trace element it contains. B12 is the only vitamin containing a metal.

Before using Methylcobalamin I used Cyanocobalamin which has some cyanide in it. The Cyanocobalamin caused a brown spot in my field of vision. I say it caused it because the brown spot went away when I switched to Methylcobalamin.

Be aware that genuine healing may result in painful muscle spasms if your potassium levels are low. Your blood cells need more potassium once they begin properly dividing. There are many potassium rich foods like potatoes and tomatoes. Eating Potassium Foods is the easiest way to end muscle spasms while blood cells are healing.

If you need B12 and use Methylcobalamin, your health will improve within two months. Significantly. I know from experience. If you keep notes, you will more easily be able to see what has changed. But, without doubt B12 will help. (This is like Stravinsky who said, “Inspiration is never wrong. If it turns out to be wrong, it wasn’t an inspiration.” And, though true, I put the quote here to amuse you.

Jarrow Methyl B12, 5000mcg, 60 Lozenges

  Jarrow Methyl B12 5000 mcg

B12/Methylcobalamin lozenges work even if you have B12 malabsorption illness, which is increasingly common in people who are under stress and/or take antacids or some other medications. Lozenges work because the B12 is absorbed directly through the membrane under your tongue.

Photos show vitamin B12 and fingernails health issues

Thumbnail with moon despite ridges showing low Vitamin B12 levelsFingernail lines/ridges and moons

To illustrate vitamin B12 and fingernails I photographed my fingernails during vitamin B12 replacement. The photos show fingernail lines in the texture of the nail. They also show moons in various stages of return and, when there was a lot of stress, retreat.


White spots on fingernail

Fingernail white spots

White spots can appear suddenly on fingernails. They often appear in relation to extreme stress and may be accompanied by a “sick” feeling, to include feverishness, that lasts for days or even weeks.


Yellow spots under fingernail
My camera makes yellow spots look white. In real life they look like pimples under my nail

Yellow spots under fingernail

In real life they look like pimples under the fingernail and different from white spots.


Redness under fingernailRedness under fingernails

This is often associated with an infection somewhere in the body.

B12 and Fingernails
Article Name
B12 and Fingernails
Fortunately vitamin B12 and fingernails are connected. Fingernails show hidden health issues from low B12 levels.
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Health Boundaries
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3 Replies to “Vitamin B12 and Fingernails – Your Roadmap to Health

  1. This is very informative. My b12 was 41 and I’ve now brought it up to 331 and even though my doctor says this is normal now I still have ridged nails and no moons. Also hair loss by the hand fulls. I thought by bringing my b12 to 331 my nails would look great again and my hair loss would stop by now. I am hypothyroid and on thyroid meds but my thyroid levels are now normal so I don’t think it’s my thyroid causing the hair loss. Should b12 be at a certain level to stop hair loss?

  2. Hi Ruth,

    Thank you for your comment.

    41 is a VERY low B12 level. If that level was determined by a blood test, which is most likely, then the B12 in your deep tissue, where it is vital, was even lower.

    The information on what B12 level is considered “normal” in other countries is interesting:

    It’s interesting to me that you mentioned your hair falling out. I’ve only recently noticed that very little of mine is falling out at this point, even though I let my B12 levels slip last winter.

    My experience with hair loss showed that it was worst when I had an active infection around a dental implant. Vitamin C curbed the infection efficiently, stopping the pain and the swelling. But, the infection remained. I have to keep using C.

    Then I learned about Astaxanthin. I now use that every day because it helps significantly with joint pain. It actually stopped a grinding noise that came from my hips when I moved. Here’s the page I did on Astaxanthin Health Benefits:

    I was lucky to have gone at one point to a holistic M.D. with a background from Sweden, I think it was. I forget exactly which country. Anyway, the use of B12 injections there was far more common than here in the U.S. She said she liked to keep her patients’ levels at 1200.

    She gave me a prescription for a shot a day, which I was sure was a mistake. It was for 12 bottles of injectable cyanocobalamin, each containing 30 shots worth. So I didn’t use it for a long time. But then when I had tetanus and she wouldn’t see me b/c I didn’t have any money, I got the prescription filled and began using a shot a day.

    To my surprise the extremely painful peripheral neuropathy which other doctors had all told me was Permanent Nerve Damage, went away.

    At this point I used Methylcobalamin lozenges. I have to use 5 or 6 of the 5mg ones a day to equal a B12 shot a day. And they have to be some time apart b/c our bodies can only use 8 mg a hour. Any more and it’s excreted.

    I hope this helps.

    Karen Kline

  3. Hi Karen, This is Sara from Twitter. I was washing my hands and noticed my fingernails have ridges. Don’t remember having them before. SO I went to WedMD to see if this is significant. What a surprise when I was directed to your site. And no wonder, such great information. Will be upping my B12. You should be proud, you really are helping so many people

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