Going Gray?

by Steven Carney on August 20, 2012

If you’re seeing some gray hair or your hair is thinning and unhealthy, would you like to know more about how it happens and what you can do about it?

Many people believe that gray or thinning hair is strictly genes, but that’s a myth! Lifestyle matters, just as it does for other health issues and problems (scroll down for more posts on lifestyle and health problems)!

Your lifestyle can literally activate health or disease genes, depending on the choices you make. The quality of your nutrition, your activity levels and other lifestyle choices all contribute to (or take away from) your health, including skin and hair. Regardless of your genetic inheritance, what can you do to make sure you have healthy hair, skin and nails?

Hair basics

Hair growth originates in follicle cells deep in skin (the dermis). The hair you see is mostly protein. It grows in cycles, lasting 3-4 months, then enters a resting phase and the hair drops out. Then a new hair begins to grow. The follicles have color-producing cells that use melanin as a pigment. Did you know? Each follicle has its own blood supply!

Unfortunately, many things can disrupt the normal growth process, including an unhealthy diet, calorie restriction, drugs, hormones, stress, etc.

Aside from very early thinning/graying hair (that sometimes occurs in the 20s), most people start the graying or thinning process later in life, around 35-40. The process and speed are influenced by many factors, including:

  • A lack of adequate quality nutrition (healthy proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants)
  • A build up of hydrogen peroxide (bleaches color from hair follicles)
  • A high sugar intake (soda, candy, cookies, cakes, and other refined carbs and processed foods)
  • Smoking (constricts blood vessels and oxygen/nutrient supply)
  • Drugs (including antidepressants, high BP, blood thinners, chemo, etc.)
  • Inactivity (weakens the heart/lungs, and decreases blood flow)
  • Thyroid problems/low iodine (affects hair and skin health/growth)
  • Chronic stress (stress hormones are destructive and can turn on the resting phase)
  • Unhealthy hair care, such as over washing, excessive heat and drying of scalp and hair

Unfortunately, this list, like many others I use, seems to cover a large number of people! No wonder we have so many chronic health conditions, along with sagging skin and thinning, graying hair!

For nutrition, focus on getting an adequate amounts of quality protein daily, especially from lean meats and fish. Add lots of veggies, unprocessed fruits, and good quality vitamins and minerals (especially if you are over 30), and you can improve your nutritional foundation.

Including extra vitamins A, B, C and key minerals are also helpful, especially for increasing catalase, an important enzyme that helps breakdown hydrogen peroxide, the molecule in your body that can build-up and will bleach hair at its growth site!

Catalase levels tend to drop with age, although many such drops in hormones, enzymes and other metabolic chemicals are not strictly age-dependent; they are also lifestyle based! Acid-forming foods can accelerate the drop in catalase, including lots of sweets, refined carbs, and processed foods, along with inactivity. These habits will all have a negative impact on your bodily systems and organs, including catalase production.

As a health coach, I can help you devise personalized health and life changes to improve your nutritional intake and help lower stress, while boosting energy! You’ll have results in a few weeks and you’ll notice how other aspects of your life will improve as well!

Questions? As always, feel free to drop me a line or comment after the post!

Helpful links:






I saw this study 4/4/13 and it supports the new understanding that hydrogen peroxide contributes to gray hair:


© 2012 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

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