The Getting Old Delimna

Today I pulled a hair from my head. It was a color that, until this year, had been foreign to my scalp – it was grey. But it wasn’t fully grey. One third of the hair was grey, one third was a deep brown brown and the middle third was a transition. It measured 9 centimeters. What made this hair unique is that there was an equal amount of grey to brown.

I wanted to find out if there was anything that could have caused my hair to turn Grey besides age and the best way to determine that was to find out what point in time my hair started turning grey.

First, I needed to determine how much time this hair had been growing, then I could divide that time to find out roughly at what point my hair started turning grey. Next I needed to check the calendar and recall specific events that occurred during that point in time.

It turns out hair grows at a rate of 1.25 centimeters a month. Doing the math, the hair had been growing for about 7.5 months. Since it’s grey segment started transitioning 2/3 of that time back it meant that 5 months ago, right at Memorial day, is when the transition began.

A few days before last Memorial Day I ruptured a disk in my back between L4 and L5. Although I had degenerative disk disease since January of this year, it wasn’t until just before Memorial Day that a certain incident caused the pain to become unbearable. I went through a series of doctor visits, tests and therapy along with taking irregular doses of Ibuprofen, aspirin, fish oil, and a Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM complex.

I don’t know if it has any significance but I wanted to consider some other variables.

During this time I remember being under a considerable amount of stress at work and was overall unhappy with life. All major areas were sources of stress. We kept falling back into debt because of laziness, the relationships with my wife and children were decaying because of long work hours, I wasn’t sleeping or eating properly, and wasn’t relying on God or spending quiet time with Him. If there is such a thing as a biorhythm, I was spent on every level.

The only other factor I can think of involves some terrible fits of sneezing, headaches and itchiness caused by an onset of allergies that lasted from late July to mid October.

I admit that I first thought of the back problems to be the cause; I don’t know what signals a pinched nerve distorts. That idea quickly went away when I searched for “ruptured disk grey hair” and immediately saw a trend in the results. Most of the websites that came back mentioned copper deficiency. That’s not all. There was another page that identified a relationship with grey hair and bone density. Studies at the Maine Center for Osteoporosis Research indicated that if at least half your hair turns grey before you turn 40, you had four times greater chance for showing low bone density compared to others who grey after 40.

Interestingly enough, lack of copper causes the mood to swing downward. It also causes the immune system to shift off balance in a way that can cause more nasal infections and sensitivity to fungus.

So if this has merit then increasing copper and calcium in my diet can possibly reverse the grey hair and strengthen my back. Before going down that road I wanted to check out other issues. First, what are the risks of increasing copper? Is there such a thing as copper poisoning? There is, and there is a risk of zinc depletion when copper is in excess. has some good details on the benefits and problems with copper. OK – so now we need a copper, calcium and zinc supplement.

Vegetarian diets contain high amounts of copper – particularly leafy greens.

I still have some unanswered questions. What other nutrients, when lacking, increases the risk of slipped or ruptured disks? What nutrients are depleted from the body to heal the disk? What other nutrients, when lacking, increase depression or stress and what nutrients are depleated when someone is under depression or stress? Finally apply these same questions to allergies. I’ve learned that the grey hair, the slipped and even ruptured disk, the allergies and depression are actually symptoms and not diseases. Rather than buying a bottle of hair color, Advil, Benadril or antidepressants – all designed to cover up the problem – I’m eyeing that cup of fresh wheat grass juice, black tahini spread and a slab of lamb liver. Cure the disease; don’t cover up the symptoms.

Other links of interest:
“When I turn up the raw heat (so to speak) I have seen my grey hairs completely go away.” (Raw foodist diet is high in copper)

“there should be very little of these strength of elastin tissue diseases such as aortic, abdominal, or thoracic aneurysm, hemorrhoids, and slipped disc among people who eat a lot of shellfish.” (food with high copper content)

“Some symptoms of a copper deficiency: Allergies, Anemia, Dry Brittle Hair, Heart Disease, Hypo and Hyper Thyroidism, Osteoporosis, Parasites, Ruptured Disc, White or Gray Hair, and Wrinkled skin.”

“Ragweed [allergies], for example, is generally indicative of a phosphate/potash imbalance, but, more specifically, it indicates a copper problem.”