What Causes Gray Hair?
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.
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.
Gray hair is the nearly inevitable accompaniment to aging. Graying’s cause: 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 are contributing factors. On the nutrition side, graying hair comes from consuming salt, saturated fat, and protein. Another cause: an excess intake of simple sugars, which leach minerals from the blood, weakening the flow of nutrients to the hair. Starved and suffocated hair always turns gray, eventually.
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!)
Have you heard? Soon there will be a pill that will stop us from going gray. Thank L’Oreal, the global cosmetics giant. You’ll have to start early, they say, and take the pill pretty much all your life. Swell. But it’s a pill that prevents gray. It can’t reverse it. No help to those of us who already have some gray.
We’re told the pill is a “fruit peel.” It’s “totally natural.” Made from fruit extract. Now, I’m not entirely out of sympathy with the idea of the anti-gray pill or the motivation behind it. But let’s ask this: If this “fruit peel,” made from nothing but fruit extract, can truly deliver this anti-gray effect, wouldn’t eating fruit directly give you similar results?
Here’s the real story on anti-gray, as I see it, as I’ve experienced it…
Not just fruits, but vegetables and other raw foods, combined in a sound nutritional program, can hold off your gray hair. Leading the raw food lifestyle definitely did slow down graying for me considerably. And I started at 39. Had I been eating raw all those years before, I believe, this might altogether have prevented any gray. Prevention is always easier than reversing. So here you have it, another reason to eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables. But can gray hair 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.
A 2009 study at England’s Bradford University found that one of the primary reasons for the graying of hair is a buildup of hydrogen peroxide in our follicles and scalp. This hydrogen peroxide can be successfully neutralized by the catalase enzyme. And where can we find that stuff? Answer: the humble onion. The remedy is simple: Just mix one part onion juice with one part lemon juice. Massage this into your scalp daily, then wash off.
Rosemary and Sage
Take a half cup of rosemary and a half cup of sage. Add in one cup of water and bring to a boil. Let the herbs simmer in water for 20 minutes. Wait for the mixture to cool completely. Apply it to your hair and scalp, leave it in for half an hour, then wash it off. This mixture helps blend the gray along with your natural hair color, making the gray less noticeable.
Consider the Violet Ray
Personally I believe a daily (even twice per day) 5 minutes massage of the scalp with the Violet Ray using the Comb or Rake electrode is the most effective tool for preventing gray. The earlier you start using it, the better. I started to use it in my early forties, when I already had some gray. Still, it allowed me to delay regular coloring for good 6 or 7 years.
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 stimulating hair growth.
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 at least once per week (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.