Most of us expect to get a few grey hairs as we get older, but what can you do if you start turning silver before your time?
Few of us are thrilled when those silvery grey hairs start springing up. But for some, it feels as though we’re going grey earlier than everyone else. Although our genes are mainly to blame, could certain nutrients help keep your natural colour intact? Let’s explore the evidence.
Befriend those B vitamins
Research has found an association between a lack of B vitamins and premature greying. A small-scale Indian study in 2017 found that those who experienced premature greying also had deficiencies of vitamin B12 and folic acid, and lower levels of biotin (also known as vitamin B7).
To help maintain your natural colour, it may be worth boosting your B12 intake by filling up on fish, meat, poultry, eggs and fortified cereals, and leafy green veg such as spinach that are rich in folic acid. Vitamin B7 can be found in egg yolks and soybeans.
The role of copper
We don’t mean copper-coloured hair, but getting more copper in your diet to help keep greys at bay. A study published in the journal Biological Trace Element Research in 2012 revealed that copper concentration in the blood was significantly lower in those with prematurely greying hair than in those with their natural colour.
The study authors concluded that ‘a low serum [blood] copper concentration may play a role in premature greying of hairs in our society.’ Boost your copper levels by taking a copper supplement or eating copper-rich foods including black beans, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts and oysters.
Up your vitamin D and calcium
Another small study in 2013 found that vitamin D3 and calcium may also play a role in premature greying. Indian researchers discovered that calcium and vitamin D3 levels were ‘significantly lower’ in those with premature greys, and called for more studies to investigate the specific role D3 may have to play.
We need vitamin D to be able to absorb calcium properly, so a lack of one nutrient could lead to a deficiency in another. Our bodies make vitamin D from sunshine, but the sun isn’t strong enough during the autumn and winter months to get our quota.
Try taking a daily vitamin D3 supplement or up your intake of vitamin-D rich foods such as oily fish and eggs. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, sardines and tofu.
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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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