Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Deficiency - A Theory of Premature Graying

Published: 27th June 2011
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For centuries, health industry experts have espoused the principle that once our hair begins becoming gray, there's no strategy to reverse the clock on Mother Nature.

Fortunately, recent scientific studies have demonstrated promising advances within the subject of graying hair - and various scientists are optimistic that these new discoveries won't just unlock the key of gray hair, but will turn back the process altogether.

Researchers realize that there are numerous contributing reasons to graying hair, such as oxidative stress and genetics; nonetheless we're beginning to determine more to the function of melanin with the graying hair process, and the way this pigment can also be used to reduced and even lose gray hair. To recap, melanin is a type of an amino acid known as tyrosine, which assists support healthy brain function. As a derivative of tyrosine, melanin is responsible with the pigmentation, or coloring, of our hair and skin. Additionally to furnishing us with our unique skin and hair colors, melanin's key role is to absorb damaging UVA rays and transform them into energy, thus lowering our odds of producing deadly skin diseases and cancers. Melanin deficiency can result in a range of diseases, such as albinism an even Parkinson's Diseases - and needless to say, this deficiency also directly contributes to gray hair.

Scientific studies have shown that hair with large levels of melanin are more saturated in color than their deficient counterparts; for that reason, when melanin death occurs (which can arise due to the natural aging process, stress and genetics), the hair follicles become significantly less saturated with color and are effectively bleached into gray hair. So it stands to cause that if a reduction in melanin production contributes to graying hair, then an expansion in melanin production can re-saturate the hair with pigmentation, thereby successfully turn back the process.

And that's specifically what scientists set-out to check.

In a two-year analysis performed by the Department of Dermatology at University Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden, researchers discovered that folic acid, vitamin B12 and sun exposure could help encourage re-pigmentation of one's skin and hair. One hundred patients with vitiligo - a disorder in which the skin loses its pigmentation - were treated with folic acid and B12, and advised to broaden their exposure to the sun. After three to six months, researchers documented that re-pigmentation was evident in 64% of patients, with six patients experiencing complete re-pigmentation. Juhlin, L and MJ Olson. "Improvement of vitiligo after oral treatment with vitamin B12 and folic acid and the importance of sun exposure", Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.

These findings were further supported by a review conducted by researchers from the Department of Dermatology at the University of Alabama, there scientists discovered that patients who suffered from vitiligo have a tendency to displayed diminished blood levels of folic acid. By increasing folic acid consumption by means of oral administration, researchers noted that patients had re-pigmentation without having side effects. Montes LF, Diaz ML, Lajous J, Garcia NJ., "Folic acid and vitamin B12 in vitiligo: a nutritional approach", Department of Dermatology, University of Alabama, Birmingham Medical Center.

As these studies have demonstrated, re-pigmentation of one's hair and skin is feasible, given that the individual raises their intake of certain vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin B12 and folic acid. Graying hair doesn't need to be a "fact of life"; rather, it can be possible to revive and increase melanin production inside the hair follicles, thereby restoring the hair to its natural coloring and luster.

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