Is it possible that people with different hair colors have different levels of minerals in their hair? From blonde to black, you would think the pigmentation of the hair would come from somewhere, right?
Well you are right to assume that, because yes, minerals do play a part in how dark or light our hair is, specifically the melanin pigments in the hair cortex. Darker hair typically will hold more melanin pigments than lighter.
First, let's lay out the different hair colors. We have black, brown, red, blonde and then white/silver. From the time we are born to the time we age, our hair color can change from our diet, our stress levels, and even nutrient status- which is why as we age we develop grey hair. It's not because it's an expected occurrence because we've gone over a certain age, but because the body has grown weaker and there are less nutrients within it to keep it functioning.
Studies have shown such as in this one males with black hair had higher concentrations of magnesium than all other hair colors, yet held the least amount of cadmium but more lead than any other hair colors. This is interesting to note because cadmium and magnesium are antagonistic to each other, meaning if one were in higher concentrations, the other would be at lower. They also found that males with red hair held more nickel than brown hair, where as women with red hair held more magnesium in comparison to blondes. Blonde hair individuals in both sexes held lower levels of zinc overall, including white. Yet in this study it showed there were higher iron contents in those with red hair.
Copper and chromium held little to no significant value to hair color difference in both sexes. That being said, it's important to note we need adequate copper levels in order for melanin biosynthesis to occur for it requires copper as an enzyme cofactor for tyrosinase. This is what gives our hair a pigment, regardless of what color it is.
It was mentioned in this study here that found women with grey hair had much lower levels of copper in comparison to those with pre-greying of the hair.
So some of you may be asking now, how is this possible, how can minerals actually be influencing hair color?
Well, did you know that when a lab receives a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) they take the hair and submerge it into a solution mixed with nitric and perchloric acid which then dissolves the acids from the hair leaving only the minerals. With that, they rehydrate the hair use a ICP-Mass spectrometer to burn the hair. Each mineral gives off a characteristic spectrum or frequency of light that is picked up by its detectors. Minerals are colorful.
So if you've noticed a difference in hair color lately or see little grey hairs sticking out early and wondering why, it could very well be your mineral status! Click the link here to order a test today and then book a consult with one of our nutritionists!