Stress might be making you go grey sooner

In more recent times John McCain, the former United States presidential candidate, experienced severe injuries as a prisoner during the Vietnam War - and lost colour in his hair.

Both Tony Blair and David Cameron got greyer during their time in highly stressful jobs. Stress triggered the fight-or-flight response, which caused a release of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that aids muscle contraction, including contraction of the heart. For example, the researchers first assumed that hair graying was driven by a reaction from the immune system or the release of stress hormones. Come at us, stress.

"Hair pigmentation has been such an accessible and manageable system from the start".

It's a well-burnished saying: Stress makes your hair turn gray. Because grey hair is most usually linked to age, it is going to be associated with expertise, management and belief...

In the hair follicle, certain stem cells act as a reservoir of pigment-producing cells.

At the bottom of each is a little factory where cells work together to grow coloured hair.

The shade comes from a pigment called melanin.

That's when Hsu turned to the sympathetic nervous system, and found that it could do permanent damage to a population of cells responsible for coloring hair.

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Macron had also complained that there is no "clear political condemnation of anti-French feelings" by the G5 Sahel countries. The Sahel region of Africa lies to the south of the Sahara Desert and stretches across the breadth of the African continent.


Since the mental strain affects the entire body, the USA team first had to narrow down which system was responsible for it. But once more, it was a dead end - ruling out the two leading contenders.

But this discovery didn't explain exactly how stress was activating these stem cells.

We've all heard someone say that their spouse or kids are giving them gray hair. That includes our skin, where these nerves envelope each individual hair follicle.

"When we started to study this, I expected that stress was bad for the body", she added, "but the detrimental impact of stress that we discovered was beyond what I imagined". In people, the pool of these cells deplete as they age, turning hair gray as pigment depletes.

The main author Dr.

The team finally settled on the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for our fight-or-flight response. "But in this case, acute stress causes permanent depletion of stem cells", said postdoctoral fellow Bing Zhang, the lead author of the study.

Stress is not the only reason hair can turn gray.

These findings help highlight how stress can impact various organs and tissues in the body, laying the groundwork for how these effects can be stopped or reversed in the future. Their new research, published Wednesday in Nature, focuses on stem cells, the building blocks of every type of cell in the body, including the cells that regulate hair growth. When we experience this type of stress it causes a sympathetic nerve response that activates the stem cells responsible for coloring our hair. However, when exposed to sympathetic norepinephrine, all stem cells are activated and convert to pigment-producing cells, "said Ya-Chieh Hsu, associate professor of stem cell and regenerative biology at Harvard University and a Harvard stem cell director".

  • Ismael Montgomery