It turns out stress does turn hair gray, and now researchers know how.
Stress triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response, which in turn causes pigment-producing cells that give hair its color to go into a frenzy and dwindle in number, researchers report online January 22 in Nature. As these pigment cells disappear, so does the color.
Gray hair has been linked to stress for centuries — think of U.S. presidents before and after holding office. But scientists didn’t understand how stress makes hair go gray.
“It was satisfying to question a popular assumption … [and] to identify the mechanisms that now open up new areas of work,” says Ya-Chieh Hsu, a stem cell biologist at Harvard University.
Hsu and her colleagues stressed mice by injecting them with a compound closely related to capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers. Within five days, the rodents’ hair turned white. After eliminating the immune system and the stress hormone cortisol as causes of the color change, the team discovered that part of the animals’ nervous system was depleting pigment cells from hair.
In hair follicles, cells called melanocyte stem cells color hair by converting into pigment-producing cells. The body can’t replenish the stem cells, so as these cells are used up, color vanishes. Sensory stress triggered a mouse’s sympathetic nervous system — which controls the body’s fight-or-flight response to stress — to release the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, the team found. That compound over activates the reservoir of stem cells, setting off a flurry of conversion into pigment-producing cells. That, in turn, rapidly uses up the stem cells supply.
It’s unclear why stress makes hair gray — an event also typically tied to getting older. But the work raises questions about whether stress-related graying is the same as aging, and lays the foundation for exploring other ways that stress affects the body.
Client Comments on PriaPlex and Gray Hair
Hair colour 11/19/2019
I use the product to replicate my natural colour and it seems to be working I can see dark roots of hair growing bringing my hair colour to it’s natural colour with much less grey. Cheers Clancy Cosgrove from Edmonton Alberta Canada.
Hi there, I’m not certain and I believe it is barley a month but it seems my hair could be a bit thicker… stronger ? It could be just me thinking that. Not sure if the grey is going away though. Hopefully, as time goes on, I will see the benefits of the product
Hair’s the scoop! 08/26/2015
I started taking PriaPlex about 1 year ago. I was noticing that my hair was thinning which I believe has to do with taking Thyroid medication which I have to take. After a few months my hairdresser noticed new growth & although I have very little grey hair for my age, the new growth was coming in my normal color brown. Very pleased . While my hair will never be as thick as it was before my Thyroid issues , I am not losing hair as I once was. Expect continued success.
PriaPlex Reviw 06/22/2016
I have not taken PriaPlex long enough for a fair evaluation. The supplement literature indicates at least six months’ use before seeing results of hair restoration. However, I will say that all the ingredients are sound and could have other benefits, as well. Also, having used PriaPlex for four months I think I see a decrease in hair loss and graying. I am fairly certain of this. At this point it is too soon for me to give an unequivocal thumbs up, but I am satisfied enough to continue using PriaPlex. I would tell someone concerned about hair loss to read the literature and if they need a little encouragement I would say it’s worth a try.
Hair maintenance 10/01/2015
Hair is definitely not as gray as it use to be and stopped falling out, and my hairline is filling in. Very happy with product.
Hair re-growth and gray eyebrows turning brown! 07/21/2014
I started losing my hair when I was 19. It started receding in typical mail pattern baldness. I am now 66 and I have a horseshoe around the sides and the back of my head, and I’m about 70% gray. My eyebrows have been totally white for the last few years. I have a few strands that grow longer on the sides that I put over the top – I know its futile, but it’s better than nothing. After 6-8 weeks of taking PriaPlex I noticed the color of a few strands of hair changing, first in my eyebrows and later on my temples. A few of my eyebrow hairs had grown in brown. That’s what made me look at my hair more closely, and I noticed that some fuzz had started growing on the crown of my head. At first I thought it was my imagination, but on closer inspection, I confirmed that hair actually was growing. My mother had always told me that I could stimulate hair growth by brushing my scalp with a soft brush, which I have done for years with no result. I believe that PriaPlex has provided my body the nutrients it needed to re-grow hair. After 3 months on PriaPlex I found there were fewer hairs in my brush. As opposed to subjective results, this is a change I can really see, so I know its working. I am very happy with my results and plan to continue taking PriaPlex in the hopes of more hair regrowth and color change. -James F.