Grey hair is a natural part of the ageing process, but some people turn grey long before their time. Even the singer, Jennifer Lopez, admits she had to begin hiding grey hairs when she was just 23-years-old. In an interview on US radio she joked, “Once I got started doing movies I started to grey. It was the stress, the pressure.”
Early greying of hair is often attributed to the stress and pressures of life, and while there is a certain amount of truth to this assumption; the unwanted onset of grey hair, earlier than expected, can often be traced to the diet and, more commonly, to deficiencies in vitamin B6.
What is Vitamin B6 and Why is it Important to the Hair?
Vitamin B6—often called pyridoxine—is one of eight B vitamins. All of them have important roles to play in the body, but vitamin B6 is of particular importance to the hair because it assists the absorption of essential nutrients that are necessary for healthy hair growth.
Hair receives its color from a substance called melanin, which is produced in the hair follicles. As people grow older the melanin production process diminishes, causing the hair to lose much of its natural color and turn grey. In the case of a younger person though, grey hair is more commonly attributable to dietary deficiencies. An insufficient quantity of vitamin B6 will result in a decreased amount of melanin, which, in turn, results in the early onset of grey hair.
Some Natural Sources of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 can be found in a variety of different foods including:
Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Grey hair is only one of many symptoms that indicate Vitamin B6 deficiency. Other symptoms include:
- Convulsion and/or seizures
- Short-term memory loss
- Skin disorders
Sustain Levels of Vitamin B6 and Keep the Grey at Bay
Many people have such hectic lives that they become increasingly dependent on fast food and convenience meals, but “fast and convenient” does not always walk hand in hand with “healthy and nutritious”. Although such meals can be tasty, and may be said to “hit the spot”, their lack of essential vitamins and minerals could also be responsible for those spots of premature grey hair that so many people these days are trying so hard to hide. So although a nutritious meal may not live up the old saying and “put hairs on your chest” it may, at least, stop the hairs on your head from turning in the towel and turning grey before their time.
Unfortunately, getting a healthy dose of vitamin B6 into the body only accounts for half of the battle against grey hair. It is also important to ensure the level of vitamin B6 is sustained, and some actions, such as alcohol abuse, can and do cause vitamin B6 to be purged from the body faster than normal. Some diseases can also result in a deficient level of vitamin B6.
Diseases that may contribute to the loss of vitamin B6 include:
- Kidney disease
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
The use of certain medications can also prove problematic, and with so many ways to lose this important vitamin, many people who would benefit from an extra dose of vitamin B6 may not even realize that a problem exists. So anyone who suddenly notices their hair is greying prematurely should take note, and take a close look at their diet, because it is entirely possible that a lack of vitamin B6 is at the root of their problem.