How do you reverse gray hair?

Gray hair is always associated with old age, but this is not always the case. In preventative medicine, which I cover, there is such a thing as premature gray hair, and there is also a belief that you can't reverse gray hair. However, this is not true, and today's post is about that.

First, let's find out how gray hair appears and what sets the color of hair on the head and body. This is done by pigments called melanin, a group of substances that play the role of both a biological dye and a skin protector against harmful external and internal factors. These pigments are made by cells called melanocytes

In this post, we are interested in the role of melanin's "biological dye". It is this role that makes people shades and brunettes, and without this role you get blondes. Also, due to disruption (often, there are other reasons) of melanin synthesis, people get gray hair. 

So, what are some of the causes of changes in melanin metabolism?

The first and most obvious polymorphisms in melanin metabolism genes, because of them we are not all the same color, and also because of them there are albinos (this is already a mutation, not a polymorphism). For example, blacks have genetically set more melanin, that's why they are black 🙂 More precisely, they have a certain type of melanin dominating in their skin - eumelanin, it's what colors their skin and hair black. Redheads (no soul 😂), have more of another type of melanin - pheomelanin , it also gives freckles.

Further, hormones set the metabolism of melanin, and sex hormones such as testosterone and estradiol are usually associated with it. The thing is that sex hormones stimulate α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, which in turn stimulates melanocytes to synthesize melanin. People with strong sexual constitution have darker hair and skin because they may have more of these hormones. This is by the way an interesting topic in terms of sexual attraction, because such people attract more attention from the opposite sex. For example, girls like men with dark hair on their head and body more. And likewise, men may like brunettes more (I repent, my weakness 🙂 ). Also, with high sex hormone metabolism, sebaceous glands are more active, i.e. the skin is more oily, which means the hair will probably get more melanin from sebum (yes sebocytes have their role too, besides other skin cells).

Further, some metabolites from metabolism can change the color of melanin, like hydrogen peroxide. Yeah, the same one you've all been pouring all over your vavkas 🙂 .

Many metabolic reactions produce peroxide as a byproduct. I think the observant among you already know that if you pour peroxide on tissue, it turns white forever. It's an oxidation process. The same thing happens with melanin colored hair if the sweat and sebaceous glands produce a lot of peroxide. This happens for a variety of reasons, but in short it's stress 🙂 . Remember stress is not only when you are tortured at work, in the objective paradigm it is also infections, toxins, hunger, exercise, hypoxia. 

Further, melanocytes that are located in the root of the hair can die. Accordingly, if they die, they do not create any melanin and the hair grows without color. This happens both from the previous cause and from old age. Moreover, all previous causes are summarized in old age (yes genetics too, epigenetics starts to dominate).

What's to be done about it?

It is clear that one's genetics are hard to change (for now 🙂 ). If a person is blonde, he can only become brunette under the dye at the barbie shop 🙂 . But hormones, stress, melanocytes in old age can be worked on. I'm a walking example. The few people who see me from my youth can notice that my hair with a light shade has turned darker with age. The comparison in the photo below clearly shows the difference in the color of the tips of my hair, also on the temples it was lighter, like kind of burned out in the sun (17 and 35 years old). Now someone will joke that I'm getting younger with age, but no, single gray hairs I have now, but overall my hair has gotten darker. It's all about health, which I was oblivious to in my youth. 

First of all, my sex hormone levels have increased significantly - I don't know what they were at puberty, but comparing the levels at 25 and at 35, free testosterone is higher. I.e. to avoid gray hair, you need to maintain your hormonal homeostasis, avoid menopause, how to do it - a separate topic.

Secondly, I've been working with stress.... And no, it's not yoga and psychologist as hipsters tend to do nowadays 😂 It's detoxification and immunity work. In the context of gray hair, it is important to maintain high levels of free glutathione (it suppresses the formation of peroxides) and other detoxification participants (banal - vitamin E, CD). It is necessary to reduce the activity of neutrophils (what I have been talking about for a long time), they are "generators" of peroxides. Well and have enough nutrients, for example, you need to understand that for the synthesis of melanin you need amino acid tyrosine, copper, zinc, calcium, iron, vitamin b2\ b12

And the last point is the aging of melanocytes, there's a long story about the pool of stem cells that ends in old age. It's hard to do anything about it if the pool has already run out. In short, the body gets tired and doesn't care about melanin. That's why you have to make different interventions to keep this pool. Basically, these are various supplements that lengthen telomeres, activate SIRT, etc. This topic is already quite experimental. 

And to summarize, there are studies that stimulate melanin by increasing α-melanocyte stimulating hormone. Different peptides do this, for example Melanotan peptide is popular with jocks. Another example is PTP20 peptide (palmitoyl tetrapeptide-20, it can be found in cosmetics) link to research and photos from there below. BUT, I do not recommend it, this way you can get at least pigment spots and acne, at most melanoma. Especially in a body that has immunity and detoxification problems