Poor Circulation, Immune Deficiencies and Toenail Fungus

There are many people who suffer from toenail fungus, the cause of discolored and thickened toenails that often become misshapen or end up falling off only to grow back with fungus intact. The numbers are probably much higher than the medical profession assesses because many people, due to embarrassment, don't see a professional about the condition. Instead, they go on either hoping it will just go away, or treating it with anecdotal remedies.

Typically the fungi, called dermatophytes, are the cause of toenail fungus. However, mold and yeast overgrowths can also be a cause. Since both mold and yeast thrive in dark, moist environments, it stands to reason that toenail fungus would flourish in the environment of dark, moist, enclosed socks and shoes - which is the way most people dress most of the time.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that put some people more at stake for contracting toenail fungus than others. Athletes, people who go to gyms or pools for exercise, and people who perspire heavily are all prime candidates. However, there are other people who are also more at risk - people with decreased blood circulation and immune deficiencies.

Poor circulation affects the extremities first, so the hands and feet are the first to be affected. The body's immune system becomes less effective in infection fighting when the blood flow is diminished. This puts the elderly at high risk for toenail fungus and infections since circulation naturally slows with age. Then, there are those who suffer with diabetes and autoimmune deficiencies that are also compromised. Diabetics have serious issues with circulation and any illness that compromises the immune system will make a person more susceptible to toenail fungus and infections. It is possible to increase circulation to the toenails by massaging them. This also helps to bring natural oils to the surface as well.

The immune system relies on healthy and proper blood flow. If the blood flow is poor, then the operation of the immune system is also poor, making the person more susceptible to toenail fungus and setting the stage for the fungus to set in and flourish. Poor circulation means the nails are not getting proper nutrition, which means the nail can be easily damaged. Nail trauma can lead to fungus.

Circulation and Diet

A person can enhance circulation with exercise, appropriate apparel for the conditions, and even long warm showers help. A sauna or steam bath will enhance circulation as well. It is important to wear proper footwear and ensure the feet remain dry to keep toenail fungus at bay.

One very important component of healthy nails is diet. In order for the immune system to do its job properly, good nutrition is essential and good nutrition is also essential to combat toenail fungus. A "toenail fungus diet" would include the following components: drinking copious amounts of water to flush out toxins; eliminating sugars because sugar feeds fungus; eating foods that are rich in sulfur, biotin and silicon (broccoli, onion, soy); ensuring the level of vitamin C intake is high; eating foods that are rich in protein and folic acid; taking vitamin B12 supplements and eating probiotics to keep intestinal flora healthy. Find probiotics in yogurt and dietary supplements.

Probably the most difficult aspect of creating a diet that eliminates toenail fungus is dealing with sugar. Simple carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, pasta) are converted to sugar in the blood system. Fungus thrives on sugar. One of the first steps in creating a diet that eliminates toenail fungus is to get rid of the sugar in your diet - and this is a very difficult thing to accomplish. Sugar is in so many foods and substances, from white bread to fruits, but if it isn't controlled closely it will exacerbate the fungus problem. Because of this, a diet designed to address fungus will take a long time to show results. That's why it is important to couple the dietary changes with topical treatments for toenail fungus.

By using a multi-layered approach, dealing with the internal factors through diet and the external organisms with a topical treatment you will likely find significant improvement in a shorter period of time.