Why do we get grey hairs?
Well, it’s largely determined by genetics. You’ll probably get that first strand of grey around the same age your parents or grandparents did, but we are also influenced by race and ethnicity.
What causes your hair’s colour to actually change?
It has to do with the process that controls the production of the pigment melanin – the same pigment that tans your skin in response to sunlight.
Here’s a more detailed explanation adapted from Dr. Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D:
Every hair follicle contains pigment cells called melanocytes and these produce eumelanin, which is black or dark brown, and pheomelanin, which is reddish-yellow.
The melanocytes then pass the melanin to the cells which produce keratin, the chief protein in hair.
When the keratin-producing cells (keratinocytes) die, they retain the colouring from the melanin. When you first start to go grey, the melanocytes are still present, but they become less active.
Less pigment is deposited into the hair so it appears lighter. As greying progresses, the melanocytes die off until there aren’t any cells left to produce your original hair colour.
That being said, the rate at which greying progresses is somewhat under your own control.
Ok. Tell me more!
External Influences on Hair Greying
Besides genetics, race and ethnicity – smoking is known to increase the rate of greying.
One study, published in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal found that smokers were two and a half times more likely to grey prematurely. This is not surprising. Here are some less obvious factors that can speed up the rate of greying:
- Anemia or low iron
- Poor quality daily nutrition
- Insufficient B-vitamins, especially folate (B9), B6 & B12
- Thyroid conditions, if left untreated
Dermatology experts say we can expect a 50/50/50 scenario for grey hair: 50% of the population will have 50% grey hair on their head by age 50. Sigh.
Ok, you get what grey hair is, and what influences it, but do you feel like you’re turning into a “silver fox” before you should?
Premature greying – cover your medical bases
First, check with your Health Practitioner that you don’t have any pressing medical issues going on – like anemia, thyroid dysfunction, pituitary gland problems or an autoimmune disorder, that may need addressing.
Additionally STRESS. Prolonged periods of stress or traumatic life events (like a death in the family, having a sick child or divorce) can cause hair to fall and once you’ve begun healing from this period, hair may grow back a different colour, like grey.
This is often observed in those who have had chemotherapy.
Second, take a closer look at your diet. How is your nutritional score card? Are you getting in plenty of high-quality protein and nutrient-dense foods, like fruits & veggies. From which foods are you getting your supply of necessary micronutrients?
These would include important minerals like iron, silica, copper, zinc and critical vitamins like all B vitamins, but especially B12, biotin (B7), folate (B9) & pantothenic acid (B5).
Try to include probiotic-rich foods like kefir, miso, sauerkraut and other naturally fermented foods, in your diet. These are especially helpful for improving your digestion to help facilitate absorption of all those important hair-rejuvenating nutrients.
Can you actually slow the greying process?
Yes, it’s possible…with whole foods and quality nutritional supplements.
It just so happens that one particular food covers many, if not all, of the key minerals mentioned above for less grey. A strong-tasting green algae (that smells a bit like feet), not only packs a serious nutritional punch in just small amounts, but is widely available at your local health food stores. So what is this nutritionally dense food called?
Actually many green “super foods” would be highly beneficial in slowing the greying process. Specifically speaking, chlorella (as well as spirulina), have unique nutritional profiles that offer incredible nutrients.
Chlorella is nutrient and mineral dense and is especially high in iron! It also contains growth factors that can help repair cell damage to nerve tissue. It is a rich non-animal protein source and very high in B vitamins. Chlorella is extremely beneficial in supporting healthy detoxification of our tissue, blood and organs. A must for someone wanting to boost mineral intake and fight greys! A great reason for you to include it in your daily regime – not just to slow the greying process, but to also keep whats on the inside, well and good too.
- Did you know that Chlorella strengthens our immune system and supports a healthy metabolism.
- How should I take Chlorella? Why not make a smoothie?
- Add Chlorella to 2 scoops of ND Shake for a nutrient dense super food smoothie.
- There is 100mg of Chlorella in ND Shake so why not start there when fighting your grey with something green!