Scholars claim that Marie Antoinette (Queen of France in the 16th century who was accused of treason and executed) bleached her hair overnight before being beheaded. Some people think that stress due to the upcoming events can cause gray hair. Others do not consider the story to be true, but at the same time admit that stress definitely has an impact on the process of getting gray hair. Everyone has heard a story on this topic.
What causes gray hair?
Melanin is a pigment that we all have and that determines the color of our skin, eyes and hair. Over the years, melatonin begins to be lost, so the hair gradually begins to turn white, until it becomes all gray. Over time, the hair falls out and grows new, and the cells that produce the pigment in the hair move again, but over the years they begin to weaken and thus perform their function more slowly.
Can stress speed up this process? Is it a major factor in the loss of melatonin?
Researchers are constantly trying to find some concrete evidence for this claim. New research from Harvard University in Massachusetts has proven whether stress is really a direct factor for gray hair. Scientists in this study used mice to investigate the relationship between stress and gray hair. In the study, researchers exposed mice to three types of stress: mild, short-term pain, psychological stress and limited movement. Scientists have noticed a significant reduction in melanocytes that are major in giving pigment as well as an increase in gray hair. Scientists then began to discover why stress caused premature gray hair in mice. They tested the mice’s immune system to see if it played a role in the loss of melanocytes, but concluded that mice with lower immune systems also had more gray hair after being exposed to stress. They then investigated the role of the stress hormone corticosterone, but its levels did not cause any changes in gray hair.
During the research, scientists remembered to study the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. The researchers injected noradrenaline into the mice and then noticed a decrease in menocyte cells as well as a significant increase in gray hair. Norepinephrine plays a significant role in activating the sympathetic nervous system, so its level decreases when exposed to stress.
How does the sympathetic nervous system play a role in causing gray hair?
The sympathetic nervous system plays a significant role in stress-induced graying. Each follicle contains these nerves, so that during times when you are exposed to stress, noradrenaline is released and it depletes the hair color. So that exposure to long-term stress and flow can negatively affect the mind and body, automatically and hair color.
According to this research we can conclude that there is a connection between long-term stress and hair color. The hormones the body produces in response to stress can deplete the melanin stem cells that determine color. Stress affects the stem cells by causing them to leave the hair follicles, leaving it gray or white.
However, there are other factors that affect getting gray hair. Smoking, poor diet and exposure to polluted air can affect gray hair. In order to maintain your natural hair color for as long as possible, it would be good to pay attention to all these above mentioned factors.