Hello Moon(s): What your nails can tell you about B vitamins (and Celiac)

Some decades ago I read a book about a very proper woman, who maintained that each nail on a well-groomed hand should have a perfect half moon at the base. Not to have them indicated you were some sort of cultural slacker.

I thought ‘is this some crazy habit like having your purse match your shoes?’– or perhaps a genetic anomaly, like twinsets, duck boots, pearls and Lilly Pulitzer?

But then I thought I’d try to achieve those half moons.

Much as I worked at it, I couldn’t. Orange sticks, cuticle cream, professional manicures, daily pushing back of cuticles. All I got was sore cuticles.

Thumb good, forefinger, OK, middle finger, a tiny glimpse of white, ring and pinkie, nada.

So, the other day, I noticed the moons are back, at least visible on thumb and first three fingers, and just a sliver on the pinkie.


This is one of those tiny clues to health.

Do the last thirds of your eyebrows peter out as they get closer to your temples? – Check your thyroid levels.

Are your gums pale? Check your iron.

Fingernails are a virtual encyclopedia for health problems: dry and chalky, fragile and splitting, showing ridges and deformities, flecked with white spots . . . so what about the moons?

Disappearing moons can signify a deficiency in B vitamins, particularly B12.

If you, like me, have a MTHFR mutation in your genetic structure (easily found in a blood test) you can take certain B vitamins, including B12,  until the cows come home and see no benefit– UNLESS you buy them in a methylated form. Otherwise, your body can’t absorb them.

Sufferers of Celiac can be highly deficient in B vitamins, and years of undiagnosed Celiac, is what, I believe led to my eclipsed lunula, the proper name for the half moons on fingernails.

I take biotin by the wheelbarrow, which has led to much better looking nails, healthy color, strong and shiny, and also take a B complex. I hadn’t noticed, but my lunula, half moons, are much more pronounced than they ever have been during my adulthood. Methylated B vitamins are no more expensive than non-methylated: you simply need to read the label. Look for the prefix “methyl-” in the B12 and Folate/folic acid lines.


No more polish or chemicals on my nails. Just a light buffing, and they look properly groomed enough for me.

Maybe I’ll buy a twinset next.

I have my eyes on these beautiful Navajo pearls from IsaStone at Etsy:


I do draw the line at duck boots.


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