Is There a Cure For Gray Hair?
While most everyone expects they will get gray hair in their later years, some individuals see their first gray hairs well before middle age – in their 20s and 30s. Some have even found gray hairs while still in high school. The question is what does research tell us about what causes gray hair, what is the connection between dietary issues and gray hair, and is there a cure for it?
Naturally, family genetics and (mental/emotional) stress can and do play a role in premature gray hair, however, there is another contributing factor this being nutritional deficiencies. The good news is that these deficiencies are completely avoidable and can delay and even help to reverse gray hair.
The connection between gray hair, oxidative stress and melanin production
Melanin is what gives our skin, hair, eyes and organs their color. It is also a known antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory, radioprotective and immunomodulatory qualities. It also assists in lowering blood sugar and protecting the gastrointestinal system and the liver.
Gray, silver or white hair results when melanin production slows down. This normally occurs gradually over several decades in the middle to later years of life.
With premature gray hair, high levels of oxidative stress from reactive oxygen and hydroxyl radicals adversely impact melanin-producing cells called melanocytes, resulting in the accumulation of hydrogen peroxide and the loss of melanocyte (cells that produce color) activity. Simply put, premature gray hair is essentially evidence of an accelerated aging process.
Melanin is derived from the amino acids tyrosine, methionine and cysteine as well as the nutrients vitamin B12, copper and zinc. A lack of even one key nutritional component can result in impaired melanin production.
The question that remains is whether damage done to hair follicles can be reversed. If melanocytes are destroyed, then the damage probably cannot be reversed, since this would involve growing new melanocytes, presumably from stem cells.
If the melanocytes are merely overwhelmed by hydrogen peroxide and temporarily out of commission, then reversal may be possible.
If you’re interested in supplementing to fill dietary gaps to delay and possibly reverse some of those gray hairs, we’d recommend Pure Encapsulation Nutrient 950 w/NAC or Pure Encapsulations Polyphenol Nutrients, Pure Encapsulations Nrf2 Detox and Bulletproof Whey Protein Powder.
Taking steps to reduce oxidative stress and improve mitochondrial density and functioning have also proven beneficial, including: eating a healthy low glycemic diet rich in vitamins and minerals, exercising, getting plenty of rest, reducing exposure to toxins, taking steps to balance your hormone, as well as Red Light Therapy are all effective strategies to reduce inflammation and retard the aging process which includes the onset of gray hair.
A recent study of Indian persons age 25 and younger found a connection between premature gray hair and low levels of vitamin B12, HDL (‘good’) cholesterol and serum ferritin. A study of young people, 20-years-old and younger who had premature gray hair showed low levels of iron, copper and zinc.
Researchers have also found certain variables that increase the risk of premature gray hair. Smoking increases the risk of premature gray hair by 2.5 times. In addition, other factors that accelerate the graying process include, family health history, metabolic disorders, chronic exposure to environmental toxins and emotional trauma.
According to the research, premature gray hair can indicate impending heart disease, osteoporosis or autoimmune disorders. Thyroid issues, skin pigmentation disorders, anemia, hypogonadism, adrenal insufficiency, Addison’s disease and Werner’s Syndrome have all been linked with the early onset of gray hair.
Premature gray hair represents a higher risk for heart disease and osteoporosis
A study published in the journal Internal Medicine evaluated over 200 patients with premature gray hair but no history of cardiovascular disease. Premature gray hair was found to be associated with increased Carotid Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT), one of the markers of a higher risk of heart disease.
Oxidative stress is one of the precursors to osteoperosis. Other research has determined that taking PPIs (proton-pump inhibitors) can further impair melanin production and increase the risk of heart disease and other issues.
No doubt, ensuring ideal nutrition (especially early in life) is the best way to reduce the risk of premature gray hair. Be sure to get adequate amounts of B12, iron, copper, zinc and clean (non-toxic) protein into your diet.
If you have serious concerns, check with a trusted, healthcare provider – that appreciates the value of good nutrition. And, avoid cigarette smoke, alcohol and unwanted (emotional/mental) stress.
The top gray hair causes: 4 habits to avoid
Gray hair can be naturally reversed, in some cases, while avoiding these common stressors can keep hair colorful for longer:
1. Eating too much meat.
High hydrogen peroxide levels, a.k.a. the internal hair-whitening agent, are common when eating excess meat. In 2017, gray hair was also linked to a higher heart disease risk in men. Meat can still be a healthy part of diet, as long as it is unprocessed, properly combined, and makes up only 20 percent of a meal.
2. Eating too much sugar.
Many times, loss of hair volume, color, and quality can be caused by a systemic infection, like underlying candida overgrowth in the gut. Many have found that by eliminating all sources of refined sugar to control candida, while nourishing the thyroid and balancing hormones, hair becomes longer, thicker, and more vibrant.
3. Skipping the (fermented) vegetables.
Supporting the thyroid and the adrenals by eating daily fermented vegetables can help to offset some of the most damaging effects of our go-go-go culture. Reducing stress to reduce signs of aging in the body is paramount; good gut bacteria have an effect on our central nervous system and can lower stress levels and anxiety.
4. Not getting enough sleep.
Stress, sleep, and signs of aging all go hand-in-hand.
I personally live by the rule of going to bed at 10:30 p.m., taking care to dim the lights and turn off my computer to prevent stimulation at least two hours before bed. Getting this deep and restorative sleep may be enough to work as the “fountain of youth” as we grow older, University of California, Berkeley, researchers said in 2017. When examining restless sleep habits in the elderly, UC Berkeley scientists stated that almost every age-related disease has a causal link to our sleep. If sleeping for a full 7 to 9 hours proves difficult, napping during the day can fill the gap, protecting the brain and the body from the internal damage caused by lack of sleep.
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