Supplements may not be a remedy for gray hair

Claim: “Supplement offers a gray hair remedy. Just one Capsule, twice a day, and no more gray hair.”

The reality: Nutritional supplements, vitamins, and other products will not stop or decrease the rate of graying, experts at the National Institutes of Health said, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune. Hair coloring, which can be done naturally, and embracing those brittle, colorless strands are really the only options.

“Graying occurs as specialized cells in hair follicles called melanocytes lose their ability to produce pigment (melanin) over time,” according to the November issue of the Berkeley Wellness Letter. “It’s not that hair actually turns gray, but that new hair with less melanin grows in. White hair has virtually no melanin.

“Genes play a large role in graying, of course. Moreover, men tend to turn gray earlier than women. Smoking is linked to premature graying. In rare cases, gray hair may be a sign of illness.”

Dietary supplements such as Melancor and Reminex work by allegedly boosting melanin with blends of bromelain, collagen, biotin, inositol, PABA, and other ingredients. Despite the claims that the products are “clinically proven,” there’s no evidence and no reason to think these substances would affect hair color.

The other problem is that “the products are supposed to take six months or longer to work, by which time you’ve spent hundreds of dollars to find out that the product doesn’t work,” the Wellness Letter concluded.

Still, there are natural treatments to help keep hair shiny and reduce gray. Here are a few from the book “Second Spring” by Dr. Maoshing Ni:

• For shiny hair: Once a week, mash a ripe avocado, massage it into your hair and scalp and leave it on for 1 to 2 hours.

• Natural dyes: Henna is excellent for shades of light brown and red. Coffee or black tea may be used by brunettes, chamomile and lemon juice will color light hair.

• Chinese herbs: Show wu or Fo-ti, a hair nurturing supplement available at Asian pharmacies is derived from natural plant sources and is used to reverse graying. But Ni doesn’t cite any evidence these herbs work.

• Dietary choices: Eat black beans, black sesame seeds and walnuts to make hair healthier, Ni wrote.


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