– Researchers say they currently think they know how stress causes gray hair.
– The hair color change might be connected to nerves in the “fight or flight” reaction system.
– Specialists state stress is just one factor that can cause gray hair. Hereditary qualities likewise assumes a significant job.
Sorry Mom and Dad: It turns out you probably won’t have been exaggerating when you revealed to us your kids made your hair turn gray.
Stress may assume a key role in exactly how rapidly hair goes from colored to ashen, a study published this past week in the journal Nature suggests.
Researchers have long understood some connection is conceivable between stress and gray hair, yet this new research from Harvard University in Massachusetts more deeply probes the specific mechanism at play.
The specialists’ initial tests took a gander at cortisol, the “stress hormone” that floods in the body when an individual encounters a “fight or flight” reaction.
It’s a significant bodily function, however the long term presence of increased cortisol is connected to a host of negative wellbeing outcomes.
Yet, the culprit ended up being a different part of the body’s fight or flight reaction — the sympathetic nervous system.
These nerves are everywhere throughout the body, including making advances to every hair follicle, the specialists reported.
Chemical released during the stress response — explicitly norepinephrine — causes pigmen producing stem cells to activate prematurely, depleting the hair’s “reserves ” of color.
“The negative effect of stress that we found was beyond what I envisioned,” Ya-Chieh Hsu, PhD, a lead study author and an associate professor of stem cell and regenerative biology at Harvard, said in a press release.”After only a couple of days, all of the pigment-regenerating stem cells were lost. When they’re gone, you can’t recover pigments any longer. The harm is permanent.”
Why we go gray
Yet, stress isn’t the main — or even the primary — reason that most people get gray hair.
As a rule, it’s basic hereditary qualities.
“Gray hair is caused by loss of melanocytes (pigment cells) in the hair follicle. This occurs as we age and, tragically, there is no treatment that can restore these cells and the pigment they produce, melanin,” Dr. Lindsey A. Bordone, a dermatologist at Columbia Doctors and an assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, told Healthline. “Genetic factors decide when you go gray. There is nothing that should be possible medically to keep this from happening when it is genetically predetermined to occur.”
That doesn’t mean environtmental factors —, for example, stress — don’t play a role.
Smoking, for example, is a known risk factor for premature turning gray, as per a 2013 study. So kick the habit if you need to keep that color a little longer.
Other contributing factors to premature turning gray include deficiencies in protein, vitamin B-12, copper, and iron just as aging due in part to an accumulation of oxidative stress.
That stress is prompted by an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body that can damage tissue, proteins, and DNA, Kasey Nichols, NMD, an Arizona physician and a wellbeing expert at Rave Reviews, told Healthline.
Also, some degree of oxidative stress is a natural part of life.
“We would expect increasing gray hair as we advance in age, and we see around a 10 percent expansion in the possibility of creating gray hair for every decade after age 30,” Nichols said.
Changes you can seek after to delay premature grays remember eating a diet high for omega-3 fatty acids, for example, walnuts and fatty fish, not spending 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.
All things considered, on the off chance that you are going gray prematurely, it wouldn’t hurt to go have a test just in case natural genetic factors aren’t the sole culprit.
The new Harvard research is just a mouse study, so reproducing similar results in a human study would be important to strengthen the findings.
In any case, the Harvard research has implications far beyond graying hair, with the hair color change just one clear indication of other internal changes because of prolonged pressure.
“By seeing absolutely how stress influences stem cells that regenerate pigment, we’ve laid the preparation for seeing how stress influences other tissues and organs in the body,” said Hsu. “Seeing how our tissues change under stress is the critical step towards possible treatment that can stop or revert the detrimental effect of stress.”
Might that also mean someday halting and reverting the march of premature gray hair? It’s too early to tell.
“We still have a lot to learn in this field,” Hsu said.
Source : www.healthline.com