Gray hair


Hair graying, also known as achromotrichia, is the most obvious sign of aging in humans. Change in hair color occurs when melanin ceases to be produced in the hair root and new hairs grow in without pigment. The stem cells at the base of hair follicles produce melanocytes, the cells that produce and store pigment in hair and skin. The death of the melanocyte stem cells causes the onset of graying.1)

Hair loss and hair color loss is very common in Th1 disease (it is made even worse by medications such as prednisone).

For most researchers at least, the mechanisms which ultimately drive the process are largely unknown,2) However, there is reason to believe that the decline in melanin production by melanocyte stem cells may be due to an inflammatory process driven by the Th1 pathogens.

One important factor in understanding why hair turns gray may prove to be activity to the Vitamin D ReceptorA nuclear receptor located throughout the body that plays a key role in the innate immune response. (VDR), a receptor which is responsible for mounting an immune response to pathogenic bacteria. One of the many genes the Receptor transcribes is for hair follicles.

VDR expression in the epidermal component of the hair follicle, the keratinocyte, is critical for maintenance of the hair cycle.

Kristi Skorija, et al. 3)

Evidence of infectious cause

  • Comorbidities with other inflammatory conditions – According to observational studies, patients suffering from known inflammatory diseases are somewhat more likely to get gray hair and vise-versa. This suggests some kind of shared pathology.
    • Heart attack: (myocardial infarction) – After statistical adjustment for possible confounders, one research team found a correlation between graying of the hair, facial wrinkling, and frontoparietal baldness and crown-top baldness and myocardial infarction in men.4) The relative risk was greater for men with completely gray hair as compared to men with moderately gray hair. Men who had completely gray hair had approximately double the risk of heart attack as compared to men with no gray hair. A similar although weaker and not statistically significant trend was seen in women.
    • Vitilligo – Patients with vitiligo frequently have premature gray hair.5) Vitilligo, a common autoimmune condition in which patients lose skin pigment, is often treated with immunosuppressive measures such as phototherapy.6)

Patients experiences

Many patients have reported that their hair stops falling out OR color has become less gray after being on the Marshall Protocol.

For the past 25 years my mark of distinction has been my silver hair and beard. I liked to think that, as for the mature “silver-back” gorillas, it put me at the top of the status tree. Now I face being an 80 year-old with the “mousey” hair of my youth. I started Benicar on 2/2/07. A few weeks later, I felt my hair didn't look shiny clean after a wash. Then my son-in-law said, “Your whiskers are going black”. Sure enough, close inspection showed the unfashionable dark roots. Eleven weeks into the MP, I showed my doctor a 3cm hair with a 1cm white tip and a 2cm dark base. I was able to reassure him that all was explicable under the rationale of the MP.

Jigsaw, research biochemist, MarshallProtocol.com

I have very little gray hair and the new hair that is growing in is black rather than gray.

Sue Andorn, Bacteriality interview

I began to get gray hair when I was 21 years old. Then when I was 30 years old I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease…. I am a 54 year old male and currently in Phase Two of the MP at the maximum antibiotic dosage. During Phase Two, my gray hair has slowly replaced by dark hair on my head, eyebrows and chest.

Ken C., MarshallProtocol.com

Last month when it was time to do the roots of my hair to cover grey, I couldn't see any grey. I thought I was losing my ability to see color. Great. So, I finally had someone else look at it for me, and they could not see any grey either! Also, the non-grey roots which had become increasingly dark the past few years, were close to my normal blonde color, they were a dirty blonde, I could barely tell the difference from them and the color ~CFSgirl

===== Notes and comments =====

Members' experiences moved here from 'Other symptoms'

My hair stopped falling out and going grey! The new regrowth is my childhood colour !!!!!!!! ~Grazyna My hair grows much faster now. I always wanted it to grow grow grow and it just sort of sat there, now it grows super fast. ~Natalie17 Yes, hair and the lack of it where I want it (top front of my head) has been a big favorite with me and my disease. Cosmetics and hair pieces or a wig can help you feel better about your self image while on the MP, a good hat works too. ~jrfoutin Okay, I hadn't thought of this until a neighbor of mine starting losing clumps of hair in the shower and went to the doctor. She now takes Zoloft for too much stress which is 'supposedly' causing the hair loss. This person, too, has a lot of sinus trouble and has some back pain. Probably a th1 inflammationThe complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli such as pathogens or damaged cells. It is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli as well as initiate the healing process for the tissue. sufferer just like the rest of us. Behold!! I also have been losing hair in the shower for years. I have plenty of hair to go around, but it doesn't mean I want to lose it all to this disease. I'm thinking th1 inflammation is the cause. I do not lose clumps, but a small circle of hair, about half the size of my palm. Every day this happens when I wash my hair. ~Mindy One of the “moments of healing” for me was one morning in 2002 when I woke up and couldn't feel my hair anymore. Prior to this Liz had to cut my hair, as I was too jumpy at the barber's shop, and couldn't handle the transient pain. But one morning I woke up and realized that I couldn't feel my hair anymore. Well, I could feel it, but it didn't hurt in any way to run my fingers through it, or bend, shape, and mangle it. After being assured that was 'normal,' I settled back to enjoy another of the pleasures I had been missing all my life ..Trevor.. My hair is still coming out a little more than usual. My scalp feels tender and, though it's not particularly hot, it feels like heat is radiating from it. ~TickTock I have been trying to define what this hair pain and head pain actually feel like. Just barely touching the hair gives the same sensation as a blow to the head.. so it is shocking and disconcerting.. scalp has some itch as well, so the touching is more careful now. ~Aussie Barb I seem to be growing hair on my head WHERE NONE HAS EXISTED FOR QUITE SOME TIME … HAIR ON MY HEAD STILL GROWING ,THE WAY IT IS GOING I WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED IF I END UP WITH A FULL HEAD OF HAIR. ~vda51 -I am watching my (thyroid) antibody count drop as I progress on the MP. I've been on the MP for almost a year now. My Thyroid itself has been herxing…… as I have noted at the start of each phase: my TSH jumped. That went along with pain and swelling in my throat and hair-loss , which was a hypo-thyroid symptom. Then it levelled out as my body progressed through the phases. The hair-loss is something I've come to expect and it grows back each time - giving an interesting natural “layered” effect! HaHaHa ~Claudia

-I've noticed in the past few months that my hair hardly falls out at all - not even the normal everyday fallout you're supposed to have. Pre-MP, I had episodes of losing handfuls a day (generally with bouts of MCS). But even on “good” days, there was always a goodly amount left in the brush or shower. Now? Barely anything falls out, even when brushed hard. Hair is getting thicker as a result and also seems to be growing more quickly than it used to.~Alayne

-My hairdresser and I have noted that since I've been on the MP, my hair is thicker. I used to lose it in little clumps due to papulonodular scalp lesions.~Meg

-I have also seemed to lose hair in fluctuating cycles. Well…actually I haven't lost it. Its in my brush. I have noticed that there have been periods when my brush takes a lot, and other times much less. I just assumed this was due to fluctuating metabolism and hormones due to the Th1, and changes brought about by the MP. I think my hair may have initially thinned on the MP, but like Meg, it now seems to be thickening up again. ~DaveW

-I am happy to report that I no longer feel “hair pain” as I call it. That sensation really irritated me - it didn't really hurt so bad as it was just such an annoying pain. But a few months ago, it stopped. ~FeatherRiver

-Mobile home hairdresser also came: had to trim the small amount of longer hair that was left after the hair loss. my hair is growing back “soft like baby's hair” says hairdresser. is very short, but strong. ~AB

Hair Color KenC: Is anyone else loosing their gray hair?

Jigsaw in phase 1 Have others had white hair go dark?

-Interview of Sue Andorn: “I have very little grey hair and the new hair that is growing in is black rather than grey.”

You may also want to read posts by Carole, wytnez and JudyBeauty in MARSHALL PROTOCOL SUCCESS STORIES because they talk about their hair loss when ill and how this aspect changed in their recovery.

-Also, have a “symptom” to take off my list, which I never had put on the list since I thought it was normal. Last month when it was time to do the roots of my hair to cover grey, I couldn't see any grey. I thought I was losing my ability to see color. Great. So, I finally had someone else look at it for me, and they could not see any grey either! Also, the non-grey roots which had become increasingly dark the past few years, were close to my normal blonde color, they were a dirty blonde, I could barely tell the difference from them and the color I've been using. I am keeping my eyes open for the next time around, need to double check and see if it happens again! ~CFSgirl ===== References =====

1) , 2)
Nishimura EK, Granter SR, Fisher DE. Mechanisms of hair graying: incomplete melanocyte stem cell maintenance in the niche. Science. 2005 Feb 4;307(5710):720-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1099593. Epub 2004 Dec 23.
[PMID: 15618488] [DOI: 10.1126/science.1099593]
Skorija K, Cox M, Sisk JM, Dowd DR, MacDonald PN, Thompson CC, Demay MB. Ligand-independent actions of the vitamin D receptor maintain hair follicle homeostasis. Mol Endocrinol. 2005 Apr;19(4):855-62. doi: 10.1210/me.2004-0415. Epub 2004 Dec 9.
[PMID: 15591533] [DOI: 10.1210/me.2004-0415]
Schnohr P, Lange P, Nyboe J, Appleyard M, Jensen G. Gray hair, baldness, and wrinkles in relation to myocardial infarction: the Copenhagen City Heart Study. Am Heart J. 1995 Nov;130(5):1003-10. doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(95)90201-5.
[PMID: 7484729] [DOI: 10.1016/0002-8703(95)90201-5]
Agrawal K, Agrawal A. Vitiligo: surgical repigmentation of leukotrichia. Dermatol Surg. 1995 Aug;21(8):711-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.1995.tb00275.x.
[PMID: 7633817] [DOI: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.1995.tb00275.x]
Awad SS, Abdel-Raof H, Hosam El-Din W, El-Domyati M. Epithelial grafting for vitiligo requires ultraviolet A phototherapy to increase success rate. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2007 Jun;6(2):119-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2007.00307.x.
[PMID: 17524129] [DOI: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2007.00307.x]
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