Stress could be a major cause of grey hair – BOL News

Posted: February 24, 2020 at 5:46 am

Stress may play a key role in just how quickly hair goes from colored to ashen.

Scientists have long understood some link is possible between stress and grey hair.

But this new research more deeply probes the exact mechanisms at play.

The researchers initial tests looked closely at cortisol, the stress hormone that surges in the body when a person experiences a fight or flight response.

Its an important bodily function, but the long-term presence of heightened cortisol links to a host of negative health outcomes.

But the culprit ended up being a different part of the bodys fight or flight response the sympathetic nervous system.

These nerves are all over the body, including making inroads to each hair follicle, the researchers reported.

Chemicals released during the stress response causes pigment producing stem cells to activate prematurely, depleting the hairs reserves of color.

The detrimental impact of stress that we discovered was beyond what I imagined, a lead study author said.

After just a few days, all of the pigment-regenerating stem cells were lost.

Once theyre gone, you cant regenerate pigments anymore. The damage is permanent.

But stress isnt the only reason that most people get grey hair.

In most cases, its simple genetics.

Gray hair caused by loss of melanocytes (pigment cells) in the hair follicle.

This happens as we age and, unfortunately, there is no treatment that can restore these cells and the pigment they produce, melanin, a dermatologist told.

Genetic factors determine when you go grey.

There is nothing that can be done medically to prevent this from happening when it is genetically predetermined to happen.

That doesnt mean environmental factors such as stress dont play a role.

Smoking, for instance, is a known risk factor for premature graying.

So kick the habit if you want to keep that color a little longer.

Other contributing factors to premature graying include deficiencies in protein, vitamin B-12, copper, and iron as well as aging due in part to an accumulation of oxidative stress.

That stress prompted by an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body that can damage tissue, proteins, and DNA.

And some degree of oxidative stress is a natural part of life.

Changes you can pursue to delay premature grays include eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids such as walnuts and fatty fish.

It doesnt spend too much time in the skin-damaging and hair-damaging ultraviolet light of the sun, and taking vitamin B-12 and vitamin B-6 supplements.

That said, if you are going gray prematurely, it wouldnt hurt to go have a checkup just in case natural genetic factors arent the sole culprit.

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Stress could be a major cause of grey hair - BOL News

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