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A Case of Sudden and Mysterious White Hair

Updated on February 10, 2020
tony55 profile image

This author loves to research and write about traditional cultures.

Old women with white hair

Old women with white hair
Old women with white hair | Source

Grey Hair

Sudden mysterious grey hair is unlike Polisis a condition in which a person is born with grey or white hair. There are also natural causes of white hair in adults. Common causes include thyroid disorder, stress, and genetics. We have vitamin deficiency, bad habits like smoking, auto-immune disease.

6 Causes of White Hair

In some people white or grey hair comes naturally with age. The color change is caused by melanin pigment cells found in the hairs follicles. Common causes of white hair are Thyroid disorder, autoimmune disease, stress, genetics and smoking.

Causes of White Hair

  1. Thyroid disorder
  2. autoimmune disease
  3. stress
  4. genetics
  5. smoking
  6. deficiency in vitamin B-12

People with grey hair

Man with grey hair and beard
Man with grey hair and beard
woman with grey hair
woman with grey hair

Smoking or Thyroid disorder

The attendant risks associated with smoking are well known. Long term effects include heart disease, constricted blood vessels, lung cancer. Toxins in the cigarettes are likely to affect hair follicles causing premature greying.

While thyroid problems cause hormonal changes, less melanin. This affects metabolism that may cause premature greying.

Stress and Genetics

An old study found that stress in mice causes a depletion in stem cells that affected hair follicles. Scientists discovered that pigment regeneration stem cells were lost.

This causes an acute stress released norepinephrine from SNS neurons which subsequently activate migration of stem cells from the base of hair follicles. The mice appeared to age fast and developed white hair.

There are many things that cause stress such as anxiety, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Genetics plays a big part in our physical characteristics or appearance. This also affects our hair color, eyes, early aging and white hair.

Causes of Stress

  1. anxiety
  2. high blood pressure
  3. sleep apnea

Vitamin deficiency and autoimmune disorder

White hair is a good indicator of vitamin B-12 deficiency. A deficiency may affect melanin production, hair cells. It contributes to our energy level, healthy blood vessels and hair growth. On the other hand autoimmune disorder affects the immune system may cause loss of hair pigments o cellular level.

White hair Prevention

The question is can we prevent white hair? Answer is it depends on the cause of the condition in the first place. In the case of smokers they should quite the dangerous habit.

If there is a deficiency of vitamin B-12 it is corrected by taking vitamin B-12 pills or shot. Medical intervention for an underlining health condition caused by Thyroid disorder may reduce the greying. However if the condition is caused by genetic pointers there is nothing to be done.

A Case of Sudden of Mysterious White Hair

A notable case of someone’s entire hair turning white overnight is that of Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette was a French queen in 1793 before her execution her hair suddenly turned white overnight.

This strange condition is now referred to as Marie Antoinette syndrome. It is not age related because she met her untimely death at 38 years. Another historical account of such phenomenon is that of Thomas More in 1535. It was said that he experienced a sudden white hair before his execution.

Despite this historical account modern science have not support the theory of sudden white hair. However there are many causative pointers to white hair. Some include hormonal changes, genes, natural dark hair, stress and vitiligo.


The case study of Marie Antoinette and Thomas More are similar. They were subjected to extreme stress because of their impending executions. Scientists have debunked this theory however greying may occurs with a week or months.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 femi


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