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Grey matters; EDITED BY SALLY MCLEAN FRIDAY JANUARY 18, 2019 Why your hair turns silver with time and what to do about it.


IF YOU'VE reached a certain age, you'll probably remember the first time that, in horror, you spotted a grey hair on your head.

Going grey is a natural part of ageing but it can still come as a shock.

Most of us start to notice a few greys by the time we hit our early 30s. But for some people, the process starts earlier. Why does hair go grey? The idea that stress turns your hair grey is a myth. Hair doesn't "turn" a specific colour overnight. Once a hair follicle produces hair in the scalp, the colour is set for the rest of its growth.

Hair has colour because of cells called melanocyte, which produce melanin pigments.

Melanin comes in two forms and Premature has linked combinations of the two create the spectrum of natural human hair colours.

lack of vitamins, acid or "Melaninproducing copper cells at the base of each hair follicle feed pigments through to the hair root," said Dr Sarah Brewer, Healthspan medical director ( and author of Eat Well, Look Great (Eddison Books, PS13.99). "If you produce red melanin, you will have gold, auburn or red hair, while black melanin produces shades of brown or black."

As we age, the pigmentproducing melanocytes in our hair follicles gradually lose their ability to create melanin. When there are fewer pigment cells in a hair follicle, a strand of hair will appear more transparent as it grows, appearing grey or silver. Can my diet help? Experts believe a good diet can help to ward off the white.

"Premature greying has been linked with a lack of certain B vitamins, folic acid or copper," said Brewer. She suggests upping your vitamin B5 to safeguard your locks, adding: "It's found in wholegrains, beans such as edamame, lentils and beansprouts, vegetables such as broccoli, dark green leaves, avocado and tomatoes."

Incorporating good sources of vitamin B12 can be helpful too, like liver, kidney, oily fish, red meats, white fish, eggs and dairy products.

"Folic acid is found mainly in green leafy vegetables and wholegrains, while copper is obtained from seafood, nuts, beans, wholegrains, avocado, artichokes, radishes, garlic, mushrooms and green vegetables grown in copperrich soil," added Brewer. "Reishi, the mushroom of immortality, boosts blood flow to the peripheries and promotes the growth of healthy, glossy hair."

It's an ancient Chinese remedy for premature hair greying and is usually drunk as a herbal tea. It can be bought in health food shops.

There has been a recent cultural shift in people embracing their grey hair, thanks to celebrities including Katie Holmes, George Lamb and Helen Mirren.

But if you're not happy with it, you can, of course, have it dyed. Be mindful, however, about what products you use as chemicals found in some dyes can cause irritation.

Premature greying has been linked with lack of B vitamins, folic acid or copper


USE YOUR HEAD Eat healthily

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 18, 2019
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