Why Does Stress Cause Grey Hair?

cause grey hair

Now, scientists from Harvard University in Massachusetts dug deeper to know the reason behind our hair turning grey or stress cause grey hair. 

Though our scientist understood the link between the stress and grey hair, a lot before. But this time they went to the root cause of grey hair. 

Why Stress Is The Reason To Our Grey Hair?

  • Stress does play a vital role in our hair turning their color to ashen, which has been published in a study this week, in Nature’s journal. 
  • Researchers did some initial tests on a stress hormone named as ‘cortisol.’ This hormone flows in our body in a situation of a “fight and flight” response. 
  • This plays a vital role in our body function, but the long-term existence of heightened cortisol can lead to results, which aren’t good for our health. 
  • This hormone ended up being in the different part of our body, during the fight or flight response, in the sympathetic nervous system. 
  • As per the research, these nerves are spread all over our body, even to our hair follicles. 

What Chemical Causes Grey Hair?

  • Norepinephrine – This is the chemical which releases during the stress.
  • This chemical which produce pigment-producing stem cells to achieve prematurely, depleting the hair’s “reserves” of color.

According to the Ya-Chieh Hsu, PhD, at Harvard said in a press release:

“The detrimental impact of stress that we discovered was beyond what I imagined,” “After just a few days, all of the pigment-regenerating stem cells were lost. Once they’re gone, you can’t regenerate pigments anymore. The damage is permanent.” 

Ya-Chieh Hsu is a lead study author and an associate professor of stem cell and regenerative biology. 

Other Factors Cause Grey Hair Are:

  • According to Hsu, there are other various mechanisms of greying hair, which are same in both mice and humans. 
  • As per Hsu, stress may not be the only cause of grey hair.
  • There can be other factors like lose pigmentation and age. 
  • As we age, our hair can also turn grey as we lose melanocytes, though it’s not necessarily because of stress.

However, the research couldn’t find a better reason to understand how other stem cells in the body are impacted by stress. 

Hsu explained through an email that, “Once stem cells are gone, they are gone,” “That’s why it is so important to understand how stress affects stem cells because the changes will be permanent.”

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