Flexi Says: Nail abnormalities such as deep grooves, brittleness, discoloration, or unusually thin or thick nails may indicate various illnesses, nutrient deficiencies, drug reactions, or other health problems. The color of the nail bed can be used to quickly assess oxygen and blood flow in a patient. How the nail plate grows out can reflect recent health problems, such as illness or nutrient deficiency. Nails and especially toenails are prone to fungus infections. Nails are more permeable than skin and can absorb several harmful substances, such as herbicides.