Why do some people start seeing gray hairs in high school while others have a bright head of hair well into their golden years? The answer is a mix of genetics, age, and overall health — with a few other factors thrown in.
Here’s what could be causing those silver strands to crop up…
- Hydrogen peroxide buildup. H2O2 is produced naturally in your body, but you become less able to break it down as you age. As it builds up in your cells, it can interfere with melanin, the pigment that colors your hair.1
- Vitamin B12 deficiency. Without enough B12, hair becomes dull, brittle and dry. You should know that some drugs may interfere with your absorption of the vitamin — for example, drugs used to treat acid reflux and ulcers, such as Pepcid, Prilosec and Zantac.
- Smoking. The chemicals in cigarettes may damage the hair follicles and slow the production of melanin. Smokers are four times more likely to go gray prematurely.2
- Stress. Although there’s no definitive proof that your kids or your demanding job cause gray hairs… stress may be a factor. Some researchers believe it affects your “follicle factories.”
Several illnesses like autoimmune and thyroid disorders are also associated with gray hair.
Nature’s Hair Care
So what can you do? Try these superfoods to chase away the gray — or at least slow down the process.
- Oysters. They’re rich in copper, which your body needs to produce the melanin that colors your hair.
- Alfalfa. Alfalfa has something that can keep your hair strong, shiny and rich in color: Silica. If you aren’t too excited about eating alfalfa every day… you can also get your silica from bell peppers, beets and whole grains.
- Fish, meat and eggs. Animal products like these are the only natural sources of vitamin B12. Plus, the protein and amino acids they contain will improve your hair’s texture and strength.
- Kefir. If you’re deficient in vitamin B12, kefir can help, too. It’s a fermented drink that contains bacteria and yeast, and these work together to help your body absorb B vitamins.
And if you’re concerned about brittle, dry hair, using a strengthening and thickening spray like this one.
1 Wood JM, et al, “Senile hair graying: H2O2-mediated oxidative stress affects human hair color by blunting methionine sulfoxide repair,” The FASEB Journal. 2009;23(7):2065–75.
2 Mosley JG, Gibbs AC, “Premature grey hair and hair loss among smokers: a new opportunity for health education?” BMJ. 1996; 313(7072): 1616.