Health

Vitamin B12 deficiency: Is your hair beginning to look this way? Sign of the condition

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that the body absorbs through eating certain foods. Its primary function is to keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and help make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. In some people, dietary intake of B12 is impeded, however. When this occurs, premature greying may take place.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common causes of prematurely greying hair.

Researchers have noted that vitamin B-12 deficiencies are often concurrent with folic acid and biotin deficiencies in people whose hair has started to turn grey early.

Vitamin B-12 is another nutrient that's essential for your metabolism, DNA production, and overall energy levels.

You can ensure that you're getting enough vitamin B12 by eating foods like meats, dairy products, and fortified cereals.

In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, vitamin B12 in patients with premature canities was further analysed.

The study noted: "Premature canities is a common yet unfathomed disorder.

"Greying of hair is often considered as a sign of aging and loss of vitality.

"Premature greying of hair or canities has been an elusive entity with little being known about its clinical manifestations or etiopathogenesis.

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"We conducted a case–control study in 52 self-reporting patients with premature canities.

"Micronutrient levels including serum Vitamin B12, biotin, and folic acid were assessed and compared among the patients and controls.

"The alteration seen in hair colour with malnutrition is well known.

"Although the role of various micronutrients such as biotin, Vitamin B12, zinc, copper, selenium, and iron in the etiopathogenesis of premature canities has been speculated, adequate evidence is deficient due to lack of properly designed systematic studies.

"In wake of lack of evidence, multiple multivitamin and trace mineral supplements are marketed as a panacea to the problem of premature greying of hair."


Dermatologist Dr Eric Schweiger explained the lack of melanin, a pigment found in the hair follicle, results in grey strands.

Another dermatologist, Dr Michael Eidelman, confirmed that "medically speaking, going grey could potentially be associated with a vitamin B12 deficiency".

This notion is echoed by Medical News Today which states that a vitamin B12 deficiency is linked to premature greying.

Vegetarians and vegans are more prone to B12 deficiencies, as the nutrient mostly comes from meat.


People who don't eat meat or fish can only get B12 by eating foods fortified with the nutrient – or by taking B12 supplements.

Aside from premature greying, the NHS noted what other symptoms to look out for to establish a vitamin B12 deficiency.

As a vitamin B12 deficiency can affect the nerve tissues, you may be more prone to paraesthesia - pins and needles.

In addition, a lack of vitamin B12 can lead to irritability, depressions and a decline in mental abilities, such as memory and judgement.



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