Nail Layering Phenomenon and Its Neutraceutic Therapy

Case Report

Ann Nutr Disord & Ther. 2018; 5(1): 1052.

Nail Layering Phenomenon and Its Neutraceutic Therapy

Lee BY*

Department of Pediatrics/Biochemical Genetics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, USA

*Corresponding author: Judith Kimiywe, Kenyatta University, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics, Nairobi, Kenya

Received: February 15, 2018; Accepted: March 07, 2018; Published: March 14, 2018


Nail layering phenomenon was common among the slavery laborers. The nail plate separated into two layers due to destruction of the sealing parts, hyponychium and the onychodermal band. The upper layer became very thin, brittle, flat, or even spoon-like, while the lower layer was soft, thick and flattened like a dirty rubber lump inseparable with the finger tissue underneath. The junction of the two separated layers was about 2-4 mm from the finger tip. In advanced cases, it might be about 7mm or more. The upper layer was very vulnerable to daily practice. Once it was accidentally removed, the lower layer revealed as grayish-yellow colored multiple, longitudinal, parallel ridges and grooves.

It was very rare in civil cases. However, an 85-year female was found to have severe nail layering in 10 fingers over 64 years. Her upper layer became very hard and thick, while the lower layer was absent and replaced with an empty cavity in each finger. After parenteral thiamin and VB complex for 7 weeks, the lower soft layer regenerated gradually to fulfill the empty space in all fingers. After 15 weeks of therapy, the finger nail became normal except for the thumbs.

Keywords: Concentration camp syndromes; Intra-nail hemorrhage Malnutrition; Nail-layering; Nationwide Hunger; Thiamin deficiency

Case Presentation

A great variety of nail abnormalities were observed in a labor camp 1958-1962 before and during Nationwide Hunger in China [1,2]. One of them was nail layering, about 75% in occurrence. Under severe malnutrition, nail plate was observed to have layering after the destruction of its normal tiny parts, hyponychium and onychodermal band underneath [3]. The hyponychium is a strip of epithelium beneath the nail plate. It seals the subungual space and allows the nail plate to detach from the nail bed. The onychodermal band seals the nail plate and the hyponychium. These two parts seal the extended free edge of the nail plate and protecting the nail bed. When they were destroyed, the sealed portion of the finger tip and the lower surface of the free edge of nail plate exposed to the environment and lost protection. Then the nail separated into two layers with their junction about 2-4 mm away from the very end of the finger tip as seen in (Figure 1).