Hair becomes gray when the cells in our hair follicles known as melanocytes cease to produce pigment, the chief one being melanin. Hairs are composed of an outer layer, known as the cuticle, made of overlapping flat cells and underneath is a thick cortex of protein called keratin. The inside of the hair are softer, rectangular cells. What determines the color of your hair is the concentration of pigment in the cortex.
What Causes Gray Hair?
Many factors affect how, when and if the melanocytes cease producing their usual pigment. The chief culprit is aging, with heredity being the second biggest factor.
In the February 2008 article entitled Eat Your Seaweed for Beautiful Hair I stated: “Gray hair is often a companion of aging, because the cells in the bulb that are supposed to produce melanin are dead. They die for the same reasons other cells do. Poor assimilation, hormonal imbalances, and toxic waste buildup in the system are contributing factors. Graying hair is caused by the consumption of saturated fat and protein, as well as salt. Another cause of graying hair is the excessive intake of simple sugars, which leach minerals from the blood, weakening the nutrients that reach the hair. Starving and suffocating hair turns gray.”
Emotional stress, worry, and shock can also significantly slow and in some cases even stop the production of melanin in the melanocytes.
Some other contributing factors can include:
- B12 deficiency
- Thyroid imbalance
- Low hydrochloric acid
- Early menopause
- Smoking (hopefully no longer an issue for any of my readers!)
Can it Be Reversed?
In Oriental medicine the condition of the hair reflects the quality of your blood and the health of your kidneys. On the raw food diet we have the opportunity to address and correct the underlying causes, rather than just treating the external factors.
Many people on raw food diet claim that their hair returned to its natural color. These include familiar names such as Ann Wigmore, Viktoras Kulvinskas, Victoria Boutenko, and Brenda Cobb.
It is possible that one may benefit by consuming some of the following foods that are popular for addressing underlying causes of graying hair:
- Greens, greens and more greens! Green Smoothies made in the Vita-Mix are one of the best ways to accomplish this. This also helps to build the levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is also essential for mineral absorption.
- Black sesame seeds
- Wheatgrass juice (some people swear by this)
- Oriental herb known as He Shou Wu
For those who wish to enlist the aid of external measures without relying on harsh or toxic chemicals, there are a few recommendations that might suit your tastes and your lifestyle. Remember you must be persistent.
Consider the Violet Ray
Personally I believe a daily (even twice per day) 3-5 minutes massage of the scalp with the Violet Ray using the Comb electrode is the most effective tool for reversing and preventing gray. Many users find the Violet Ray beneficial for various skin and scalp conditions, such as reducing wrinkles, eliminating acne, fighting gray hair, eradicating dandruff, and treating baldness.
If you are able to secure some fresh amaranth leaves, applying the fresh juice of these leaves is said to be an effective home remedy. It also helps with growth.
Wash hair with wheatgrass juice daily (the nutrients penetrate into follicles and stimulate growth of new pigment-producing cells.)
Apply a henna conditioning pack monthly. Henna is an all-natural plant powder available at most health food stores, which imparts color and conditioning without the use of harsh or carcinogenic chemicals. Follow directions closely for gray hair.
Another option is to try a stimulating scalp tonic which not only can help with gray hair, but also strengthens your hair and scalp by promoting tissue regeneration.
Do what you can to reverse or prevent gray hair. But after all is done, always remember: Nothing is more beautiful than 60 or 70 year old woman who exudes a natural radiance. If that includes some gray, then so be it.