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paula

Winter is Coming

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I saw the article in the Economist and originally I was curious about the muffins because I love muffins (made by others) and I regularly make and eat waffles that are closer in composition to what I think would be in a vegeburger.  Stumbling on all this I find the forums complicated (although it looks like key people are quite responsive) and this is why I am posting here.

My burning question is can anyone shed light on my problem.  My fingers redden at the cuticle and my fingernails die and fall off several times during and following each winter, this has happened the past three years.

My BMI is 18.5 and I lost 20 percent of my body weight over the past 10 years.  I am 63.  I had 39 blood tests including autoimmune and nutrition and I am in perfect health other than slightly elevated blood pressure (154/94) at times, usually early morning if ever.  I take 5mg amlodopene.  Endocrinologist, rheumatologist, neurologist, dermatologist (Kaiser) all scratch their heads. My hair is beautiful.

I dread winter because I feel powerless to stop the damage to my nails.  Does anyone have any experience with this?  I see some slight allusion to cold sensitivity in the forums but nothing about fingers.

Also wondering, do you have to pay $50 to become a member?  

 

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Welcome, Paula. By coincidence, it seems I'm both the person who lured you here with dreams of nutrition-packed MegaMuffins, and may possibly be able to give you a useful pointer about your finger and nail problems.
 
Have you considered Raynaud's phenomenon? The most obvious result is that some or all of your fingers or toes turn color (blue in most people, but red or white in others or at different times) and get very cold or numb, or in some people painful.
 

raynauds-phenomenon-s4-signs-symptoms.jp

(Image from MedicineNet article on Raynaud's by William C. Shiel Jr., MD).

 
It's caused by lack of circulation in your far extremities (fingers and/or toes), less frequently accompanied by abnormal bloodflow elsewhere, leading to migraines (neck/brain) or vasospastic angina. And, it's worsened by the cold (hence in winter; also, CR lowers your body temperature), and by stress — and while I'd not say that CR stresses you out as such, it does elevate AM cortisol, which might conceivably be a mediator.

 

It can bugger your nails in various ways due to lack of bloodflow to the nailbed.

 

Nail problems can also be caused by iron or zinc deficiencies, which are not too uncommon in CR people, particularly as even omnivores amongst us eat little meat and lots of plant foods (whose iron is less bioavailable, and that tend to be low in zinc and high in copper — the latter impairs zinc absorption and metabolism, leading to functioinal Zn deficiency if your Cu is very high and your Zn is not (hence the 10:1 ratio recommendation).

 

CR is also known to slow down nail growth. So all of this could be storming down on your manicure.

 

There's no definitive test, and the cause isn't really understood, so you should read up and then consult your doctor to see if your constellation of symptoms lines up; it sounds like you've already explored a variety of alternative explanations with them.

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I agree with what you are saying and I am pleased to receive the news from you personally Michael. I am grateful for your thorough approach. I am especially interested in the zinc and in widening my waistline. Poor circulation may be systemic with all the atherosclerosis in my family. I may try brewers yeast. I do have low pulse/body temperature, migraines and high am blood pressure. You nailed that one. I love the other parts of cr such as the mind blowing taste of whole foods, the slim shape of my belly, the clamping down feeling of my tummy emptying about 20 minutes after I eat. But not worth it to have my fingers like this all the time. Unless I could live stress free in the tropics....

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I had awful nails, especially my toe nails.  I only once shed a nail but they were yellowed, with thickened ridges, slow growing and prone to cracking.  I also had periodic trouble with slow healing sores of the cuticles and surrounding skin.  The problems were worse in winter but persisted year round.  I also have Raynaud's.

 

Over the past 4 months I have made a ton of lifestyle changes trying to address an unrelated condition, a genetic neuro muscular disease and a surprising side effect is my nails, cuticles and skin are looking great.  Even my Raynaud's symptoms have largely subsided.  But because of all the changes I can't pin down what is responsible.  And it still remains to be seen if the improvements will make for a trouble free winter.

 

One of my changes is a morning workout followed by a straight cold water bath (68F).  I don't think the cold bath is responsible for my improved nails but it is not something I could have tolerated when my Raynaud's symptoms were severe.  Each night after an evening walk I take a hot water bath (116F) to the point of mildly inducing heat shock.  This might have something to do with the skin and nail improvements as it promotes good blood flow to my extremeties in combination with the heavy doses of niacin I take throughout the day - supposedly good for atherosclerosis though I take it for hyperlipidemia and NAD depletion.   However, it might also just be a combination of all the other dietary, supplement and exercise changes I've made.

Edited by Todd Allen

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Also wondering, do you have to pay $50 to become a member? 

 

No payment is required to register and participate in the forums. Payment does help support the CR Society (a 501c3) and gives discounts on our conferences. The website is ad free too so if you see ads/popups, either the website server or your PC has something fishy.

 

Aside that, I was curious if biotin might - might - be involved:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biotin_deficiency

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biotin

 

Per the second wiki link, evidence for a role in nail growth is 'weak'.

 

Regarding winter, I'll run a humidifier in my bedroom for 6 months (~October to ~March/April) which prevents sore throats but I'm not sure what else it might help.

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I should try jumping in the pool when I come back from my jog in the morning.  While it is still available.  I did read cold baths cured some people's Reynaud's disease. http://www.raynauds.org/support/forums/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=3&threadid=2361

 

Hot baths are easier but ours only goes to 104. Also the nutritionist wants me to start winter supplements now.  I am willing to do Natural Vitality Calm, Solgar B Complex 50 (I hope that would do the biotin, I have heard good things about that too)  and CoQ10 100 (200 is too strong for me). Maybe add brewers yeast, or sub for B complex. I love the humidifier in my room and keeping the heater off at nite in winter.

I really appreciate all of you taking the time to help me.  I feel I am taking risks by eating a lot less, and seeing how you do it helps me to minimize the hot water (!) I might be getting into.  Paying the fee will be worth it to me already. The pictures of Beau's lines in Michael's post most closely resemble my symptoms.

I am the brunt of criticism and anger for my food choices at times from those I eat with and who prepare food for me, so it is refreshing to watch others choose nutritionally dense tasty things to eat.  They're out there.

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