No matter the age, gray hairs are inevitable but seem to be rejected by all. Unless they are sought after as a fashion statement and thereby called upon from the hair dye gods. If not, the arrival of gray hair can be a scary sight.
Gray hair is usually associated with old age and old is an age bracket that nobody desires to prescribe unless it attributes to being “old enough” to do something worthwhile. Nonetheless, natural gray hairs are a representation of something our bodies are doing and in turn communicating with us.
So, whether you receive the biological gift that keeps on giving in your mid 20’s or early 40’s, rest assured that your gray friends hold purpose on your head or body. The following are a few things your body may be trying to tell you when you come across your first or next gray hair and potential health issues you may be experiencing. But first, what causes gray hairs in the first place?
Just like your skin, hair follicles contain melanin which creates the color pigment in our bodies. Gray hair is somewhat of a mystery as they are believed to be produced when there is a reduction of pigment. Reasons as to why the pigment reduces in hair are natural: our bodies begin to produce less pigment over time.
Although there is no direct link between gray hair and age, dermatologists have used the 50-50-50 rule of thumb to validate the correlation. The clause states, that at 50 years of age, 50% of the population has 50% of gray hair.
Many people start to get gray hairs early and may have 50% of gray hair even before they turn 50. Statistics show that white people begin to accumulate gray hair in their mid-30’s, Asians in their late-30’s and black people in their mid-40’s. The arrival of gray hair at any age significantly prior to these age points may be worth some thought.
A Need for More Vitamins: Low levels of vitamin D3 and B12 are known to be found in those who prematurely experience loss of hair pigment.
The risk of Heart Disease: Grey hair has been linked to coronary artery disease independent of age and noted cardiovascular risk factors. In a recent study, researchers found that male participants with coronary artery disease had significantly whiter hair than those without it.
This hypothesis suggests that gray hair and heart disease share many of the same molecular mechanisms such as impaired DNA repair and hormonal changes that may link the two.
Grey Hair is in Your Genes:
If your parents or grandparents developed gray hair at a young age chances are you might, too.
According to the Indian Dermatology Online Journal smokers are two and a half times more likely to develop gray hair as opposed to individuals that do not smoke.
Certain chemicals in smoke break down hair cells and may even cause hair loss or premature balding.
This is an imbalance in the production of reactive oxygen or free radicals, caused by pollution or poor diet which outnumbers antioxidants, which are your body’s way of detoxifying intermediates as a result of a healthy diet.
Oxidative stress may cause your hair follicles to produce an increased amount of hydrogen peroxide, which is a chemical that has been used for decades to lighten or bleach hair.
Bone Condition Osteopenia:
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism claims that people who have developed premature gray hair without any other identifiable risk factors were four times as likely to have osteopenia.
Osteoporosis developed after osteopenia (reduced bone mass) is an illness that increases the risk of broken bones and is commonly the reason for broken bones among elderly people.
Dry, fine or gray hair can indicate that your thyroid is operating at substandard levels and may be worth a check up.
The quality of Blood and the Health of Kidneys:
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda, the medical system of India, claim that the quality of blood and health of kidneys can be a reflection of condition and color of hair.