Hair Health : To look beautiful and brilliant , long and black and healthy hair is very important. Let`s understand what gives the natural black color to hair. Hair gets its natural color from a type of pigment called melanin. The formation of melanin begins before birth. The natural color of our hair depends upon the distribution, type and amount of melanin in the middle layer of the hair shaft or cortex.
Hair has two types of pigments: Dark ( eumelanin) and Light ( phaeomelanin ). They blend together to make up the wide range of natural hair colors. Melanin is made by specialized pigment cells called melanocytes. As the hair is being formed, melanocytes inject pigment (melanin) into cells containing keratin. Keratin is the protein that makes up our hair, skin, and nails. Throughout the years, melanocyctes continue to inject pigment into the hair’s keratin, giving it a colorful hue. With age comes a reduction of melanin. The hair turns gray and eventually white.
Why does our hair turn gray or white?
Many factors lead to Oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is considered to be an important factor for greying of hair . Oxidative stress can increase due to 1. High Stress and Anxiety Levels 2. Nutritional Deficiency 3. UV ( Ultra violet light / Sun ) exposure 4. Aging 5. Tobacco Use ( Cigarette smoking ) 6. Alcohol Consumption 7. Stress releases stress hormones. Stress hormones may impact the activity and growth of melanocytes.
Graying could be a result of chronic free radical damage due to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress leads to generation of Reactive oxygen species or free radicals. They are highly reactive molecules that can directly damage lipids, proteins, and DNA. Another research group suggests that the graying of hair occurs due to lesser levels of Catalase. Catalase is the key enzyme responsible for hydrogen peroxide degradation in melanocytes. Less catalase leads to Hydrogen peroxide damaging the hair inducing greying. In vitro, the levels of catalase expression and activity correlate with the total cellular melanin content, and ex vivo they correlate with skin colour .
Effect of Withania Somnifera on Catalase :
Withania Somnifera increased catalase levels. This could help in preventing oxidative damage to hair which leads to greying. In a study published in International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 35, 532–538 Administration of active principles of Withania Somnifera ( Lubdha contains Withania Somnifera ) was found to increase
- Superoxide dismutase ( SOD )
- Catalase ( CAT )
- Glutathione peroxidase ( GPX ) activity in rat brain frontal cortex and striatum.
In a study of Withania Somnifera( Lubdha contains Withania Somnifera ) lead to increase in hair melanin. Double-blind clinical trial carried out to study the effect of Withania Somnifera (Lubdha contains Withania Somnifera ) on prevention of ageing in 101 normal healthy volunteers in 50-59 years age group. 0.5 g was given orally three times a day for 1 year. Results showed statistically significant increase in Withania Somnifera group Hb ,RBC ,Hair melanin in treated group in comparison to placebo ( Control ) group
- Nail calcium was preserved.
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate decreased significantly
- Seventy percent of the research subjects reported improvement in sexual performance.