ASK INGRID: How do I stop grey hair from growing?
“How do I stop grey hair from growing? I’m only 27 years old and I’m starting to see more white hair in the past few months.” -Heather, WA
I had just given birth to my son, I was 31 and not so healthy vegan when I first noticed growing strands of white hairs. It didn’t scare me in the beginning as I just saw it as graceful aging. But as I read more and more about premature aging, vitamin and amino acid deficiencies, one of the signs is getting gray hair at a young age. And so I did what I do best and buried my face inside books to understand more about what was happening to my body.
Let’s start with…what’s causing gray hair?
Although there is a large genetic component to when you start to go grey, premature greying (before thirty-five years of age) can also be linked to nutritional deficiencies. Deficiencies can also be caused by autoimmune conditions that might disrupt your body’s ability to absorb vitamins. Stress has been also linked with the onset of grey hair and particularly pregnancy and childbirth for women.
Let’s start with how the hair turns gray; well, actually… hair doesn’t actually “turn” gray. Once a hair follicle produces hair, the color is set. If a single strand of hair starts out brown (or red or black or blond), it is never going to turn gray. Your hair follicles produce less color as they age, so when hair goes through its natural cycle of dying and being regenerated, it’s more likely to grow in as gray.
So if you are on your late twenties and are seeing gray hairs, then what is happening is that there’s a buildup of hydrogen peroxide in your hair follicles, which causes oxidative stress and graying. (Hydrogen peroxide solutions have been used for years as a cheap and easy way to “go blonde.”)
An enzyme called catalase breaks down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. But lower levels of this enzyme in the body, combined with lower levels of enzymes called MSR A and B that repair hydrogen peroxide damage, cause hair to turn gray. People have seen their gray hair going away after taking catalase supplements; this would have been my last resort as I opted for a food source that can stimulate the liver to produce catalase.
There’s also certain diseases that can cause premature grey hair:
Neurofibromatosis (also called Von Recklinghausen’s disease): this group of inherited diseases causes tumors to grow along nerves and abnormal development of the bones and skin.
Tuberous Sclerosis: an uncommon, inherited condition that causes benign tumors in multiple organs (including the brain, heart, kidneys, eyes, lungs, and skin).
Vitiligo: this condition causes melanocytes (the cells at the base of hair follicles that produce color) to be lost or destroyed — perhaps because the immune system “misfires” and attacks the scalp rather than an infection.
Alopecia Areata: a disorder in which patches of hair may be suddenly lost, especially the colored (non-gray) hairs. This may lead to “overnight” graying because previously present gray or white hairs suddenly become more obvious. When hair growth resumes, it may be white or gray, but colored hair may eventually return.
Catalase a major player
So far we have learned that catalase plays a major role in premature gray hair, your liver cells makes catalase but as you get older, or for other reason, like an unhealthy diet, your liver would produce less of this enzyme, eating a diet rich on catalase like cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage can also stimulate your body’s production of catalase.
A study has also shown that a diet deficient in zinc and copper also showed low levels of catalase. After learning all this, I made sure the following were added into my diet, whether it was on a form of food or a supplement pill or a superfood powder.
Other vitamins and minerals responsible for the development of graying hair are:
Biotin: a hair miracle vitamin belonging to the b-complex family.
Folate + pantothenic acid + PABA: delays graying hair
PABA + Folate: Some people claim that the combination of folic and PABA has returned their graying hair to its natural color. It has worked on animals so it’s certainly worth a try.
Copper: Pigments hair and skin by using the amino acid tyrosine
Tyrosine: This amino acids is a must because it is needed for melanin production and to help the Iodine be absorbed.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine: This amino acid has been shown to stimulate catalase and other natural antioxidants in the body, including superoxide dismutase and glutathione.
Within 4-6 weeks to see results and saw the full difference within 3 months, virtually no more gray hair!
He Shou Wu: The name translates to “He’s black hair”. The ancient Chinese herb has been throned as a longevity enhancer. It stimulated the body to produce super oxide dismutase, an incrediby powerful antioxidant. It also increases dopamine levels in the body. There are many studies that show that He Shou Wu helps rats regrow hair and has been considered one of the most effective ways at restoring hair color.
Grass-Fed Bone broth: Protect your hair follicles with collagen! That’s it! Bone broth has gelatin, and gelatin is rich on the amino acids glycine and proline. Glycine also helps in combating hair loss.
Grass-Fed Liver: Yes, I know! But it contains all the vitamins and minerals mentioned above. This is a pill for them all. If you are not used to eating liver, you can slice it raw into small bite-size pieces, freeze them and swallowing them whole. Once frozen, you wont taste it.
ALWAYS GRASS-FED: Conventional animal products will do the opposite effect, simply because they have been fed glyphosate. Glyphosate replaces glycine in your skin tissues and creates an avalanche for illnesses. But since we are talking about grey hair, glyphosate is responsible for oxidative stress which in turn will produce grey hair.
TUSOL Wellness: REJUVENATE smoothie mix to fight oxidation. The accumulation of free radicals is such a common theme with major diseases, like those that end in es or is, (diabetes, colitis, multiple scleorosis) My obsession to adding more antioxidants in my diet sparked. I formulated a superfood smoothie mix that has the highest amounts of antioxidants. I drank this for 6 months straight every single morning, since learning that Crohn’s disease, post-partum depression, and my grey hair is in due part to oxidation. The blend contains maqui berry, açai berry, baobab, and chaga, weaved together to fight the accumulation of free radicals that end up destroying your cells. Maqui berry alone is the only berry in the world to contain the highest amounts of antioxidants, followed by açai. GET IT HERE
Further Reading: Glyphosate Is Making You Age Faster