For many people, your hair plays an important role in your physical appearance and self-confidence. So, greying early can knock that self-esteem you hold.
Grey hair is a natural part of the ageing process but can begin as early in your 20s for some. This can be due to a combination of reasons.
Grey pigmentation occurs as we begin to lose pigment producing cells through age. This has been associated with other autoimmune disorders – including anaemia and immune thyroid diseases.
Environmental factors also contribute to premature greying including the climate, drugs, smoking and nutritional deficiencies.
There are plenty notable public personalities who we have seen turn grey over the years. Sometimes due to stress of their job, other times because of genetics.
Your hair doesn’t just turn grey – but rather as you age, your hair follicle begins to produce less colour. So when your hair goes through its natural lifecycle, it actually begins grows out grey at the root [source].
For a quick video with our top 4 tips to reverse premature grey hairs, check this out below:
Hydrogen Peroxide and Catalase
This maybe brought about by a build-up of hydrogen peroxide in our body. Hydrogen Peroxide is is known to interfere with melanin production (what controls our pigment) [source].
As we grow older, hydrogen-peroxide (which is naturally produced in the body) begins to build up.
While we are young, our body’s produce an enzyme called Catalase, which breaks down hydrogen-peroxide into water and oxygen. Which means our body is able to stave off the effects of hydrogen peroxide.
But as we age, we begin to produce less catalase which in turn results in a build-up of Hydrogen Peroxide.
Premature greying is foremost attributed to a person’s genetics [source].
Your hair pigmentation is essentially “hard-wired” into your pigment cells. This biological hard wiring is among a complex process of various genetic factors making up our DNA.
Studies show that nutritional deficiency can cause premature greying, which can be rectified by supplementing the lacking vitamins.
In a study which assessed causes for premature greying, a deficiency in Vitamin D3 was found in all patients [source].
While there is no conclusive reason, there is a positive relationship between premature greying and low levels of Vitamin D. This suggests this vitamin has an important role to play in pigmentation of the hair.
Several studies have indicated lower levels of Vitamin B-12 to be linked with premature greying hair.
While research isn’t providing reasons to why low level of Vitamin B-12 result in premature greying, it is known that B12 vitamins contribute to red blood cell formation. These are crucial in transporting oxygen around your body.
Lower red blood cell counts often lead to issues with transporting enough oxygen along with chemicals obtained from food, which results in less energy for each cell to perform its function.
The same study shows our hair follicle cells rapidly divide. The new cells rely on sufficient supply of essential nutrients which makes Vitamin B12 and other vitamin intake crucial.
Vitamin B12 may also help stabilise the anagen phase of your hair follicle in its growth cycle. And this will help contribute to hair growth.
Low levels of Vitamin B12 have also been linked to various other skin issues. This includes hyperpigmentation of the skin, hair changes and vitiligo [source].
So, if you are getting grey hairs prematurely, and not getting adequate intake of Vitamin B12, then by supplementing with this vitamin you should be able to reverse the greying process.
As with Vitamin B-12, Iron is a mineral which creates haemoglobin in your blood cells – which helps transfer oxygen from your lungs to your cells.
This is important for ensuring your cells are getting the full nutrients to function correctly.
Biotin may have a role in supporting catalase to breakdown which can reduce hydrogen peroxide build up in the body.
Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)
Folic acid helps produce red blood cells which, like Iron and Vitamin B12, contribute to the optimal cell energy delivery.
Zinc helps in the production of Melanin.
As hair color is derived from a pigment called Melanin, consuming Zinc can help achieve a reversal of premature greying.
Oxidation of your cells can decrease melanin production and is one of the causes for the skin condition vitiligo.
As oxidative stress may cause melanin cell death and therefore loss of pigmentation. This can cause your hairs to turn grey. Increase of hydrogen-peroxide build-up of your body also adds to the oxidative stress incurred [source].
Consuming natural antioxidants such as turmeric or cinnamon in your diet can help reduce the level of oxidation build up. This may help reduce hydrogen peroxide build up, and reverse premature grey hairs.
Reversing Grey Hair
As our premature greying is bought due to increased hydrogen peroxide build up, try adopt a nutritionally balanced diet. Ensure this diet contains foods that consist of Vitamin B, Iron and Zinc. This will help eliminate the oxidative stress hydrogen peroxide builds up.
Other foods, including Turmeric and Ginger, can be added to drinks to boost the amount of natural antioxidants you consume.
Vitamin D3 can be supplemented through capsules, or if your environment permits, by getting enough daily sun exposure.
Dark Chocolate, specifically 90% dark, is known to contain melanin bosting properties. This can help reverse elements of hair loss and be beneficial for your overall skin and wellbeing.
Dark chocolate can be consumed daily in moderation as cacao contains natural vitamins and minerals essential for the proper functioning of your body.
Where your premature greying hair is caused by a deficiency in a nutrient, it may be possible to reverse the greying by increasing intake of the nutrient.
Meditating and reducing cortisol levels or by adjusting (where possible) your environment so it is cleaner and pollutant-free, can also help.
The remedial affects may take some time to show, as our hairs are usually in the Anagen phase for around 3-5 years.
Which means, as your hair follicle produces a grey hair, it will continue to grow until it sheds through its lifecycle.