Why do some men get their first greys already in their twenties, while others do not have a single in the forties? We know that genetics plays an essential role in this process, but science still can not figure out the exact reasons why there are such pronounced differences in hair color change in certain men at different ages.
A study within the journal PLOS Biology has brought some interesting answers. According to their claims, the gene regulating our immune system also affects the regulation of hair color change.
Genetics and Grey Hair
If you ask is there anything you can do about it? The answer is that you can’t go against your biological time clock. The main reason you are going grey associates to genetics. Men who are caucasian tend to go greyer sooner, followed by Asians and then African American men. Guys with red hair start losing color before anyone else.
Less Melanin More Grey Hair
A pigment called melanin is responsible for our skin color, eyes, and hair. Melanin is produced by melanocytic cells that are found beneath our skin. One scientific team led by Melissa Harris, a professor of biology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, studied the effect of melanocytic cells on various aging processes in the human organism, especially one specific genome, known as the MITF factor. This gene controls the production of melanin. The researchers first performed tests in mice, and it turned out that those with a larger MITF genome were faster. Professor Harris claims that more MITF genes reduce the number of melanocytic cells, causing less melanin. And less melanin means more grey hair.
Then, research on mice revealed that those mice with a lower percentage of MITF genes have more proteins in an immune system called interferon. Interferons help our body to deal with viruses that cause colds and various inflammations in our body. It is still not clear that the MITF gene reduces the level of interferon, or interferons reduce the level of the MITF gene. However, a clear link between our immune system and the genes that determine the color of our hair is evident.
Anxiety and Stress
Due to stress, development of grey hair can be accelerated. The study shows a clinical condition that causes the onset of sudden hair loss is mostly affected by the release of mass stress hormones. Molecular biologists believe that anxiety may have a negative impact on the secretion of stress hormones, which can send mixed signals to melanocytes.
Medical Factors and Lifestyle Choices
Developing grey hair can be linked with some lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol abuse, and addiction, as well as therapeutic factor including vitamin B-12 deficiency, thyroid problem, autoimmune disorder or vitiligo. If there is a medical problem going on, there’s a good possibility that treatment can reverse the problem.
Anti-Aging Supplements for Grey Hair
Although you can’t stop time and aging process for the more youthful look, you can use supplements to reduce the number of free radicals in your body. By compensating the lack of minerals and vitamins, the process can slow down. Supplements that contain vitamin B12, calcium, zinc and folic acid can help with grey hair.