Getting to the Root Cause of Grey Hair
The New York Times had a story this week about President Obama going grey just 44 days into the Whitehouse job. It happens to the best of them, but it seems that his has been turning incredibly fast.
Bloggers delight in alternately claiming that he's dyeing it grey (to appear more distinguished) or dyeing it black (to appear younger). His barber, Zariff, has adamentely stated "his hair is 100% natural, he wouldn't get it colored." With all he's got on his plate, I'm sure it's going to be getting a whole lot greyer.
Which leads me to why I chose to write this article.
Just recently, researchers at Bradford University believe they've solved the sensitive problem which has baffled us for eternity - the root cause of why hair turns grey. They believe this can ultimately lead to a breakthrough on preventing it and are now actively carrying on their research, in the hope of finding a cure.
Going gray is caused by a massive build up of hydrogen peroxide due to wear and tear of our hair follicles. The peroxide winds up blocking the normal synthesis of melanin, our hair's natural pigment.
"All of our hair cells make a tiny bit of hydrogen peroxide, but as we get older, this little bit becomes a lot. We bleach our hair pigment from within, and our hair turns gray and then white. This research, however, is an important first step to get at the root of the problem, so to speak."
The researchers made this discovery by examining cell cultures of human hair follicles. They found that the build up of hydrogen peroxide was caused by a reduction of an enzyme that breaks up hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen (catalase). They also discovered that hair follicles could not repair the damage caused by the hydrogen peroxide because of low levels of enzymes that normally serve this function (MSR A and B). Further complicating matters, the high levels of hydrogen peroxide and low levels of MSR A and B, disrupt the formation of an enzyme (tyrosinase) that leads to the production of melanin in hair follicles. Melanin is the pigment responsible for hair color, skin color, and eye color. The researchers speculate that a similar breakdown in the skin could be the root cause of vitiligo.
So ... do you think we might have a magic pill/potion in the near future, to combat our... or President Obama's greyness?