What is Causing You to Bite Your Finger Nails Apart?
Do you have a nail biting problem that you can't seem to resolve? I've been biting my finger nails for as long as I can remember! My mother has been biting her finger nails for as long as I can remember as well! In fact, my mother's nails have always been ripped to shreds, right down to the nubs! Still to this very day my mother's nails look pretty bad, and sadly so do mine!
When I was a young adult I shelled out tons of money at nail salons getting fake nails professionally glued over my bitten up nails. I was embarrassed at how terrible my natural nails looked and I also wanted to find a way to stop biting them. But try as I might, I often ended up biting off my expensive fake nails and then destroying the real nails underneath.
Some experts believe that nail biting is a sign of anxiety and nervousness. I do admit I've suffered from a mood disorder my entire life. Could this be the reason for my incessant nail biting? Or perhaps it's just a nasty habit that I picked up from watching my mother tear her nails apart over and over again? After all, we are all simply products of our environments right? Or maybe this issue stems from my ongoing gastrointestinal problems?
Interestingly, I googled "nail biting and sibo" (sibo stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth- a gastrointestinal problem that I've personally suffered from) and I did find an article by the "Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine" titled "Nail-biting in the population and its relationship to irritable bowel syndrome." Interesting! I do think I'm onto something here! Especially since my mother has suffered from gastrointestinal problems as well!
I've noticed that there's been periods of times if my life when I didn't bite my nails at all. In fact, they've grown in to look beautiful on quite a few occasions. Then one day I would feel compelled to bite them all off again! I was never quite sure why this would happen.
More recently I started to take a closer look at my nail biting habit. I noticed something quite peculiar. I only seem to start biting my nails aggressively after ingesting certain foods that contain more sugar than I'm used to consuming or carbohydrates that convert to sugar. Again, this goes back to my gastrointestinal problems! Sibo (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is a condition whereby bacteria in the small intestines overgrows causing all types of gastrointestinal issues like excess gas, diarrhea and constipation. And guess what feeds this bacteria that makes it grow out of control? SUGAR!
Now, I typically don't eat sugar. At least not white refined processed sugar which is basically poison! When I was younger, however, I recall purchasing cookies and sugary snacks almost everyday at lunch time time in elementary school, junior high school and high school. In fact, I was a sugar junkie! I also ate tons of potato chips. I even started a bad sugary coffee habit during my high school years! Ofcourse this all contributed to my stomach problems. It's taken me many years to counteract the bad effects of my youthful dietary mistakes. But I did manage to change my diet and start healing my body.
So nowadays my sugar intake is very low. There are even some fruits that contain too much sugar for me which is why I tend to stick to berries which are low in sugar. There are also certain carbohydrate rich foods that I enjoy eating (especially because I try to eat a mainly vegan diet). Some of these carbohydrate meals convert into too much sugar for me if I consume too much of them. And that's when I'll notice that the nail biting begins! Usually right after eating these meals...or after drinking a drink that contains too much sugar (like this activated charcoal lemonade I like to drink that contains coconut sugar-apparently too much coconut sugar for me)!
So of course I went back onto google and searched "sugar causes nail biting." I had an Aha moment when I found a forum of individuals discussing how they all seem to uncontrollably bite their nails after drinking alcohol. Some even mention that they bite their nails after ingesting carbohydrates (that convert to sugar). All of the people in this forum were unable to stop themselves from biting their nails after drinking alcohol or eating carbs. FYI My mother is a beer and wine drinker. She has been for years! Could this be the reason for her terrible nail biting habit? And my mother also has gastrointestinal issues as I mentioned previously! Hmm!
Fascinating right? Now I don't drink alcohol and I haven't done so for many years. But as I mentioned earlier, there are certain foods that will get me biting. And perhaps even certain food combinations? So I decided to run some tests on myself this past week. I even ate extra sugary foods (some containing dairy and wheat) that I don't normally consume. And yes, the nail biting definitely seemed to occur after ingesting sugar or foods that converted to sugar. However, I did eat some sugary pastries in the afternoon one day that didn't appear to cause any nail biting until the evening time. In fact, most of my nail biting occurs at night after eating my last meal of the day if it is high in carbs or contains too much sugar.
Now the day that I ate the pastries in the afternoon, I had a salad at night. But the salad contained apple cider vinegar (which is a form of sugar) and some fermented radish that was soaking in apple cider vinegar and pear juice. I don't necessarily think that the salad itself caused the nail biting, but perhaps it was a cumulative effect of the pastries followed by the salad? Too much sugar overall in one day? I don't know for sure. But after I ate that salad I was really going at my nails uncontrollably for a long time!
I also started experimenting with grapefruit seed extract hoping that would counteract the sugar's bad nail biting effect on me. Unfortunately the grapefruit seed extract didn't seem to stop the nail biting, however, I inadvertently may have found a migraine cure. I ended up eating so much more sugar than I'm used to that I started to induce a headache. Then the grapefruit seed extract took it away. Then I started my asian herbs for sibo again and the headache began to resurface. I took the grapefruit seed extract again and no headache! I will have to run more tests of course! But this is very very good news as I suffer from at least 1 terrible migraine that lasts 2-3 days every month.
One thing in particular that I've noticed is that mixing two high carb foods at the same meal has been a deadly combination for me. I have a favorite black bean/ brown rice tempeh that I enjoy eating, but if I eat too much of it or add mung bean noodles to the mix, well, then I'm in for a night of uncontrollable nail biting. Now, I was taking the grapefruit seed extract but had stopped taking my asian herbs for sibo. I wasn't sure that the two would combine well. Anyway, I just started the asian herbs up again and I'm wondering if I take both the herbs and the grapefruit seed extract daily perhaps the combination will be able to conquer the sugar's effect on my nail biting? I am going to run more tests of course and see if this happens! If the combo works I will write an update. Perhaps in the end I should just cut down on my sugar and carb consumption? That might be my best bet! We shall see!
So overall, in summary, I believe that digestive stress (distress) has been the main cause of my lifelong nail biting habit. Do you think alcohol, sugar and/or carbohydrate rich foods may be causing your nail biting problem? Or perhaps even an underlying gastrointestinal disorder? Try monitoring your nail biting habits and see if you can pinpoint the actual problem! Til next time! Try to stop biting your nails and I'll do the same! :)
Quick warning: If you're going to try grapefruit seed extract (for nail biting, gastrointestinal problems, inflammation or migraines) please keep in mind that it's not safe to take with many pharmaceuticals! Do your research and talk to a doctor before experimenting! Be well!
Jennie H is a Reiki Master Energy Healer, Co-Founder of Self Saviorz Society California Non-Profit 501(c)(3), Poet, Author and Entertainer with goals to help raise the vibration and consciousness of humanity!