A team of scientists in the United States announced that they have found the first quantitative evidence that stress and psychological exhaustion lead to graying.
According to the British “Daily Mail”, the study was conducted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in Manhattan, New York, under the supervision of Professor Martin Pickard, who said, “Understanding the mechanisms that allow graying hair to return to its young pigmented state can give new clues about the possibility of stopping the aging of The human in general, and about the extent to which they are affected by stress.
Professor Pickard explained that the study’s findings add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that human aging is not a fixed biological process, but that it can, at least in part, be halted or even temporarily reversed.
Aging is a complex biological process
Professor Picard added: “We do not believe that reducing stress in a 70-year-old will restore their natural dark hair color after years, or that increased stress in a 10-year-old will lead to white hair on his head.”
The hair begins to grow in the lower part of the hair follicle, which is a tunnel-shaped structure in the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin.
Young and young people get their hair color naturally by pigments produced by cells in hair follicles known as melanocytes, which gradually become less active with age, so less pigment is produced and the color fades and hair grows gray and white.
Professor Picard continued: “When the hair is under the skin inside the hair follicle, it is subject to the influence of stress hormones and other things that happen in minds and bodies. Once the hair has already grown from the scalp, it does not change color.”
The biological history of the hair
In their study, the researchers analyzed individual hairs from 14 volunteers, half of them male, with an average age of 35, taking highly detailed images of tiny “slices” of human hair to determine the extent of pigment loss (graying) in each slice, measuring one twenty millimeters in length. Width, representing about an hour of hair growth.
“Just as the rings in a tree trunk contain information about the past decades in the tree’s life, (human) hair contains information about its biological history,” said Professor Picard.
If the hair is scanned with the naked eye, it will appear to be all the same color unless there is a significant shift. “Under a high-resolution scanner, small, subtle differences in color will appear.” This is what the researchers measured, and then the results were compared with what each A volunteer writes down data about periods of stress or stress. When comparing the volunteers’ diaries and stress timings, a surprising link was revealed between psychological stress and graying of hair. The researchers found that white hair automatically restores its natural color with the release of stress.
Get rid of gray hair by taking a vacation
Professor Picard said five white hairs had regained their natural dark color on a volunteer’s head while he was on vacation.
To better understand how stress causes graying and restores natural color after reducing negative psychoactive effects, the researchers also measured levels of thousands of proteins in hair and how protein levels changed along each hair.
It turns out that changes occur in 300 proteins when the hair color changes, and the researchers set up mathematical equations indicating that stress-induced changes in mitochondria could explain how hair turns gray due to stress. Mitochondria are important parts of the cells of the human body and convert nutrients into energy for the rest of the cell to use, by generating most of the cell’s needs from ATP, which serves as a source of chemical energy in cellular reactions.
“We often hear that mitochondria are the power centers of the cell, but it turns out that it’s not the only role they play, as mitochondria are actually like tiny antennas inside the cell that respond to a number of different signals, including psychological stress,” explained Professor Picard.
Lab mice elude researchers
Last year, results of a study in lab mice suggested that graying due to stress is caused by an irreversible loss of stem cells in hair follicles, but the researchers of the new study believe the mitochondrial effect is a more accurate explanation.
Study co-author Ralph Baus, professor of dermatology at the University of Miami, said: ‘The study data shows that graying is reversible, suggesting a different mechanism. It is possible that ‘rat hair follicles are biologically very different’ This example is an explanation of why the results of some research in mice do not apply to humans.