The main genus of fungi that cause nail infections is Candida, among which the species Candida albicans stands out, which produces a well-known infection called mycosis.
Nail infections are not only caused by fungi belonging to the genus Candida, they can also be caused by others, such as onychomycosis. This derives from the dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum, belonging to the genus Trichophyton.
Among the factors that have a greater incidence in the appearance of nail fungus are injuries, overexposure to humidity and poor hygiene. When these three factors are combined, the deterioration of the nails is even more noticeable and annoying.
How does nail fungus work?
When the fungi of the genus Candida proliferate on the nails, they cause various alterations in them. To begin with, they thicken and deform their layers, causing the person to experience pain even when barefoot. In its most advanced stages, fungi can cause nail loss.
In addition, fungi can cause changes in the color of the nails, which can range from yellow, through shades of green and blue, to black. Depending on the case, the nails will have one color or another.
Common causes of toenail fungus
Most cases of onychomycosis are caused by dermatophytes. Dermatophytes are fungi that can cause superficial infections of the skin, hair, and nails. These fungi cause an infection when they come into contact with infected items, such as shoes, socks, etc.
Yeasts and molds are also responsible for fungal infections. Yeast overgrowth, also known as a yeast infection, can cause toenail fungus.
These are the most common causes why someone suffers from toenail fungus:
Walking barefoot in public places
Sure, taking your shoes off can be a really nice feeling, but it can also cause toenail fungus. Onychomycosis begins when moisture is trapped under the nail.
This can easily happen when walking barefoot. It is also easy to pick mushrooms when walking in public places as the mushrooms can survive for up to 6 months in the places. The most common public places where you can pick up toenail fungus include swimming pools and public showers. Protect yourself by wearing sandals in public pool areas and public showers.
There are two types of injuries that can occur to the toenail. The first is an acute trauma in which the nail is affected over and over again, as in the case of a runner wearing ill-fitting shoes.
The other thing that can happen is a trauma where something falls on a toe, like a heavy object, and causes an injury. This injury makes the toenail more susceptible to fungi and the generation of onychomycosis (white or black). It is important in both cases to take care of the toenails to avoid infection.
A pedicure gone wrong
Nail salons are a dangerous place when it comes to nail fungus. If tools are not properly disinfected, fungi can flourish. If we are going to have a pedicure, we must make sure that the site is professional and sterilizes all the material, since the risk of contracting onychomycosis or any other disease is high if all the material is not sterilely cleaned.
Weak immune system
Sometimes onychomycosis starts from within if our immune system is compromised. Diet, medications, or certain health conditions can weaken the immune system. If our immune system is not strong, fungi can easily take over our nails and from there they can easily spread to other parts of the body.
Other people's shoes, towels, socks, etc.
As I already mentioned, these types of fungi are very contagious and we must avoid contact with the infected belongings of other people to remain free of fungi.
How to prevent foot fungus from appearing?
In general, this small problem appears due to an external environment that favors its proliferation. The humidity and high temperatures in the feet should be warm, but do not hesitate or the use of narrow shoes all day can be some causes, as well as spending hours in a pool. We will be attentive to every change in our feet in order to act as quickly as possible. Once a nail becomes infected it can easily contaminate the rest of the fingers, so speed in treating this problem is very important.
Generally wet feet, either due to the water or due to circulation problems caused by age or diabetes, are factors to take into account when seeing these fungi appear in our eyes. We will notice that the nails become thick and begin to turn yellow. They can be localized, although most likely they will invade the entire nail that will begin to have an ugly color, gray, green, brown and in the worst case black. We will notice considerable swelling and irritation that will make us take immediate action.
How to avoid toenail fungus?
If we are prone to the appearance of foot fungus and we have already seen how they reached our nails, we must take some measures to avoid them.
- Wear a suitable shoe. Avoid plastic shoes, the body and if possible with openings in the toes will avoid humidity. In winter, invest in shoes with breathable soles or wear suitable socks, there are feet that sweat a lot, therefore, it is better to use a thinner sock. Cotton is a good ally to absorb moisture from the feet.
- It is important not to walk barefoot in public places. Gyms, swimming pools, or showers in a school are hotbeds for fungi. Wash your feet well, wear flip flops, and dry your feet to avoid wet toes. Talcum powder is a good ally.
- Never share a nail clipper or use the same one to cut all your nails. If there is an infected nail, it can quickly spread to the rest of the nails or move from one foot to the other.
What is the best home remedy to eliminate toenail fungus?
Toenail fungus is a common infection. It is contagious, so it can start on one nail and spread to the others.
Medical treatment generally involves the use of prescription antifungal medications. Although it is effective, some people have unpleasant side effects, ranging from an upset stomach to other skin problems.
This is why some people prefer home remedies to treat toenail fungus. Here we explain some of the most popular home methods for treating toenail fungus.
What are the natural supplements for nails?
Although they look like a decorative element, nails have a lot of functions. They are a part of the body that grows on the end of the fingers and are made of dead cells hardened with keratin. However, nails also give indications of the state of health and require specific care that can be specified with natural supplements.
A change in the texture, shape and appearance of the nails can be a sign of disease or a deficit in nutrition, so it is imperative to know the origin of these anomalies. If this is the second case, it is necessary to consume natural supplements that improve the health of the nails and other areas of the body. Find out what they are.
Iron is essential for red blood cells, responsible for transporting oxygen to the body's tissues. Since nails require oxygen for healthy growth and appearance, a deficiency in this mineral and iron deficiency anemia are responsible for vertical lines and a concave or spoon shape.
Although the doses of the mineral vary according to age and sex, it is recommended that men consume 8 milligrams a day, while women (19 to 50 years) should ingest 18 milligrams daily. After menopause (after age 50), the recommended dose for women is the same as that for men.
There are many natural sources of iron; These include beef, chicken, fish, eggs, green leafy vegetables, seeds, and beans. If a food rich in vitamin C is consumed with one that is a source of iron, the absorption of the mineral is improved.
According to research published in Nutrients, vitamin C increases levels of collagen, a protein molecule that makes up and strengthens important tissues, including hair, teeth, and nails.
Likewise, there is scientific evidence that the lack of the nutrient causes the nails to become brittle and slows down their growth, which is why it is urged to consume sources of vitamin C of natural origin, such as oranges, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers and tomatoes.
Biotin or vitamin B7 is known to stimulate cell development and improve the metabolism of amino acids that are related to nail growth. According to a study published in Cutis, foods and supplements that contain it strengthen brittle nails.
A study with 35 people who had brittle nails also confirmed its effectiveness. Taking 2.5 milligrams of biotin for 6 weeks for 7 months was found to improve the condition by 63%.
Although the recommended daily allowance for biotin has not yet been established, the adequate intake in adults has been set at 30 micrograms per day. Also, it can be obtained from foods such as liver, egg yolks, salmon, dairy products, avocado, sweet potatoes, walnuts, and seeds.
Vitamin B12 favors the absorption of iron and, therefore, the function of red blood cells. According to research published in the American Family Physician, a deficiency in this vitamin can give nails a blue tint with dark brown lines.
To prevent this, an adult needs 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily, which can be ingested through meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy.
Foods that benefit nail health
One of the causes of poor nail condition is poor nutrition. Therefore, certain products rich in those vitamins that are linked to the health of the apricots should be added to the diet. In addition to those already mentioned, we add this list:
- Red fruits: they are known for being a variety of fruits whose skin or interior has this color. They are rich in vitamin C and have antioxidant properties capable of promoting iron absorption and, in turn, strengthening and maintaining the health of the nails. Berries include strawberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, and blackberries.
- Brewer's yeast: Brewer's yeast or Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used as a nutritional supplement. It is a source of protein and vitamin B, which improves the health of bones, hair and nails.
- Almonds: almonds are rich in biotin, a nutrient that contributes to the strengthening of brittle nails.
- Eggs: Since they are a source of biotin, eggs are considered an essential food to combat brittle nails, so that they remain healthy and strong.
Nail fungus remedies have no immediate effect
If the doctor authorizes the use of a home remedy, it is essential to follow their instructions. On the other hand, it is extremely important to bear in mind that, in general, home remedies do not provide immediate results, so it is recommended to be patient when resorting to them.
Proper treatment coupled with good hygiene can help heal the area and obtain good results, hence the importance of being rigorous in complying with the doctor's recommendations.
Home remedies for toenail fungus can be a safe alternative to traditional medications. In most cases, the remedies are considered safe and easy to apply.
When purchasing alternative remedies and supplements, it is essential to buy from a reputable seller. These treatment options are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the same way as drugs, so you need to be more careful when buying them.
A person should speak with their doctor if they have questions about treatment, if their infection is not improving, or if they have underlying conditions, such as diabetes.