Stress expedites ‘Graying of Hair’ : Study

Although white hair or graying of hair is a natural process that happens with age among people in or over 30s. But, scientists have revealed how stress fastens the process of ‘graying of hair.’

A Study found that the effect of stress is permanent. Once the process starts, there’s no way to go back.They conducted experiments on mice. Pain
triggered the release of adrenaline and cortisol, making their hearts beat faster and blood pressure rise, affecting the nervous system and causing acute stress.

Researchers behind the study, published in Nature, from the Universities of Sao Paulo and Harvard, believed the effects were
due to melanocyte stem cells, that produced melanin and were responsible for the color of hair and skin.

The depletion of stem cells(that produced melanin in hair follicles) was then sped up.

Prof Hsu said that he expected stress to be bad for body, but the results he found was detrimental. After just a few days, all of the pigment-regenerating stem cells were lost.”

“Once they’re gone, you can’t regenerate pigment any more – the damage is permanent.”

In another experiment, the researchers found they could block the changes by giving the mice an anti-hypertensive, which treats high blood pressure.

And by comparing the genes of mice in pain with other mice, they could identify the protein involved in causing damage to stem cells from stress.

“The team first hypothesized that stress causes an immune attack on pigment-producing cells. However, when mice lacking immune cells still showed hair graying, researchers turned to the hormone cortisol. But once more, it was a dead end.

Ya-Chieh Hsu, a stem cell biologist, found that stress causes nerves involved in the fight-or-flight response to pump out a hormone which wipes out the stem cells used to make hair pigments.” As per reports.

“We now know for sure that stress is responsible for this specific change to your skin and hair, and how it works,” says Prof Ya-Cieh Hsu, research author from Harvard University.

Their study isn’t based on the solutions to grey hair, but rather a beginning for a more elaborate study on how stress affects graying of hair and effects of stress on other parts of the body.

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Aastha Kochar

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