There have been lots of theories as to what causes grey hair. Of course, genetics is always a big factor.
And IF you know you have the genetics for early grey hair as I do, then today’s topic is even more important because there are lifestyle factors that will surely accelerate the greying of your hair and also speed up hair LOSS.
Now, before I continue with the primary cause that triggers and accelerates greying of hair based on the newest research worldwide, let me first do a quick introduction as to biological factors that cause greying of hair.
There are pigment cells called melanocytes in your hair follicles that give your hair its color, called melanin. When you stop producing this melanin, hair begins to turn gray.
Melanin, as you may know, also controls your skin color. More melanin typically means darker skin.
For simplicity, blondes and redheads have less melanin and thus, lighter skin and hair color.
People will usually start to see a few grey hairs beginning after the age of 30. Sadly, each decade increases the number of gray hairs by 10-20%
Now, I got my first grey hair in the 6th grade, which means I was about 11 years old.
So, for a variety of reasons, probably due to genetics, I had “premature” greying.
And so did my mom.
What Decreases Melanin and Accelerates Grey Hairs
So now we know how grey hairs happen, but what causes this decrease in melanin?
There are lots of theories, such as mineral and vitamin deficiencies. Lack of proteins and so forth.
But, in the real world, this is rarely the case. I’ve seen old homeless people who have a full head of hair and zero grey hair and trust me – they are very nutrient deficient and lack a healthy diet.
Now, in 2009, researchers discovered that going gray is simply a buildup of hydrogen peroxide in your hair particles, which bleaches your hair from the inside.
Usually, an enzyme called catalase helps break down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. But as you get older, catalase production starts to slow down.
The end result is hydrogen peroxide starts to accumulate in the body and ends up “bleaching” out the hair pigments and slowly turns your hair, white.
So, a decade ago I decided to take Catalase enzymes by themselves to help reduce and prevent this from happening. Unfortunately, I didn’t see much of a positive effect and I tried high doses of it for over a year.
And there’s been no evidence since taking such supplements improves grey hair and the FTC has warned these supplement makers about this.
That’s not to say taking catalase enzyme is bad and I think this antioxidant has many health and longevity benefits. However, when it comes to reversing grey hair or even preventing it, there’s no evidence to support it.
Now comes up the newest research which is backed by clinical studies and even more importantly, empirical REAL WORLD evidence and that’s, STRESS!
Recently, in January 2020, researchers from Harvard University saw a direct correlation to stress and greying of hair due to melanin loss, which I talked about earlier.
Simply stated, when you’re under extra stress, your body produces chemicals called norepinephrine and adrenaline… You’ve probably heard of the “fight or flight” response and this is how it works.
Again, I’m making it really simple.
As this happens, your body quickly produces a massive surge of cortisol – the stress hormone.
On a side note, CORTISOL is a steroid. But it’s a CATABOLIC steroid. It tears down. You don’t want this.
While testosterone is an ANABOLIC steroid, it builds up.
Thus, athletes take anabolic steroids to build muscle. They are never taking catabolic steroids such as cortisol.
Yet, doctors readily prescribe catabolic cortisol steroids such as prednisone to reduce inflammation which then accelerates both hair LOSS and greying of hair.
Now, going back to the research, they stated that “After just a few days, all of the pigment-regenerating stem cells were lost. Once they’re gone, you can’t regenerate pigments anymore. The damage is permanent.”
This is why managing stress is so important.
My Own Experience
A very close family member of mine went through a divorce, he seemed “cool” on the outside, but within a year, he lost a TON of head hair and a lot of it went grey. It was shocking.
A close friend of mine started a very successful business recently and he has this amazing full head of black hair and he’s almost 50, like me.
In the past 2 years, I have seen at least 30-40 grey hairs. I just mentioned it to him a few weeks ago and he said “I know man, I’m totally stressed out all the time”.
I have dozens of these examples…
Now, myself… I color my hair or else I’d have a lot of grey hair and I don’t like it.
Before I colored my hair, when I was younger, people would say “wow, you have so much grey… what are you stressed about?”
It was annoying.
Remember, genetics is a big factor.
However, I can’t deny that I tend to push myself. School, work, exercise and on top of it, I’m not a good sleeper.
The Solution I Discovered
And this is why I started taking Stress & Cortisol Relief almost 10 years ago. Since then, my progression of grey hairs has for sure decreased tremendously.
It hasn’t stopped, but it’s slowing down a lot.
So, I know it works. But, it’s a slow process.
Secondly, taking Inflame & Pain Relief is also super important because it helps manage and decrease inflammation, which is directly linked to hair loss and greying of hair.
Lastly, I’ve increased my Vitamin C intake to a minimum of 5 grams daily. That’s 5000 mgs.
I eat a lot of meals, so I take 1000 mg with each meal. I take more after my workouts and before bed.
Why?… Because Vitamin C helps reduce cortisol, improves collagen formation, and is a potent antioxidant — all of which are needed for healthy-looking hair.
Of course, Vitamin C is a must and it’s inexpensive that everyone should be taking at least 2-3 grams daily. So, take 1000 mg, 2-3x daily with meals. Spread it out.
Remember, it’s MUCH EASIER to maintain than to gain. So, it’s much easier to keep your hair and the color, than to grow it back and slow down or even potentially reverse the grey.