For months I have hesitated to post about this topic, because it is something I don’t understand. In late 2008, I began to get a noticeable amount of gray hair. Not just on the sideburns, but throughout my hair. I wasn’t alarmed. I fully expected it. I was at that age where all my friends were getting gray hair. Personally, I could care less if and when I get gray hair. I’m just fortunate to have a thick full head of hair, which many men don’t have at my age.
Then something happened. My diet changed. I lower my carbs – mostly by eliminating grains. I also stopped cooking with highly inflammatory vegetable oils. I was too busy watching my abs come in to see that the gray hair was slowly going away. Today, I have noticeably less gray hair than I did in 2008. And until this afternoon I didn’t have a clue why.
Jimmy Moore just posted Dr. Luan Pho: Gray Hair Isnt A Sign Of Old Age But A High-Carb, Low-Protein Diet. In this guest blog post Dr. Pho states:
Regarding gray hairs, this happens when your body is unable to synthesize an adequate amount of melanin. Melanin is the pigmentation that gives your hair its natural color. In order to make melanin, your body needs a specific non-essential but yet conditional amino acid called tyrosine. Your body also needs tyrosine in order to make dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, coenzyme Q10, and thyroid hormones. The availability of the needed amount of tyrosine may become deficient due to an incomplete diet low in protein.
As you probably already know, amino acids are the basic building blocks of proteins. There are nine essential and eleven non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are synthesized into non-essential amino acids. This fact highlights the delicate balance as to how dietary protein intake acts on the supply of both the essential and non-essential amino acids. Therefore, consuming an adequate amount of protein and supplementation with tyrosine may be the answer to keeping your natural hair color longer.
Tyrosine, where I have heard that before?
A year and half ago after I finished reading the book Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas, I reached out to the author with a question on how I could start a coffee detox protocol. She suggested that I take the supplement L-Tyrosine on an empty stomach to curb my craving for the stimulate effect. And I did. These days I consume almost 30% less caffeine than I did back in 2010.
Did my coffee detox experiment trigger a side effect of reversing gray hair? Or was a result of embracing a more Paleo diet? Or something else? Beats me. I’ll be sure to tune into the podcast interview with Dr. Pho on April 4th.
UPDATE (September 2013): Reversing Gray Hair? Part 2