Grey hair could be a sign of good health

Last Updated: Friday, July 20, 2012 - 18:17

London: Stop getting annoyed by that patch of grey hair on your scalp, as a new study has found that it could be a sign of healthy body.

Spanish scientists, who studied wild boars, found that having grey hair and a rather grizzled look could actually be a sign that you have a long and healthy life ahead of you, the `Daily Mail` reported.

Scientists said gray hair, which results from absence of melanin, seemed to be a mark of good health in wild boars

"As with human hair, wild boars show hair graying all across their body fur," Galvan said.

"But we found that boars showing hair graying were actually those in prime condition and with the lowest levels of oxidative damage," he said.

Scientists, however, said that being a redhead could make one more susceptible to illness, an observation found in wild boar populations.

According to the report published in the current issue of the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, wild boars with reddish coats have more cell damage than more mundanely colored wild pigs.

They say the reason is that the production of red pigment uses up an antioxidant that could otherwise destroy the free radicals that damage cells.

In humans, studies have found that red hair and red pigments, or melanins, in skin are linked to higher rates of cancer.

"Given that all higher vertebrates, including humans, share the same types of melanins in skin, hair and plumage, these results increase our scant current knowledge on the physiological consequences of pigmentation," said lead researcher Ismael Galvan of the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Spain.

The researchers looked at two types of melanin, the pigment that gives our hair and skin its colour.

Galvan and his colleagues wanted to know whether producing red hair would eat up an antioxidant GSH, leaving the body`s cells more vulnerable to free radicals.

They found that the more pheomelanin a boar had in its fur, the more likely it was to have less GSH in the muscle cells and more oxidative stress.

"This suggests that certain colorations may have important consequences for wild boars. Pheomelanin responsible for chestnut colorations may make animals more susceptible to oxidative damage," said Galvan.

PTI



First Published: Friday, July 20, 2012 - 18:11

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