White-haired men may be getting white-hair color from diet, researchers say
Researchers in Australia say that they have found that people with lighter hair color are more likely to have the condition than those with darker hair.
The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that a diet rich in whole grains and vitamin C may play a role in causing the condition.
In their study, Dr. Andrew Whelan and his team at the University of Newcastle in Australia looked at the genetic variation in hair color in 1,872 Caucasian Caucasian men, ages 18 to 90.
They found that men with lighter skin and lighter hair were more likely than men with darker skin and darker hair to be affected by the condition, the New South Wales Health Department said in a news release.
They also found that individuals with darker-colored hair had a higher risk of developing the condition and being overweight.
“This finding provides evidence that a relatively low-calorie diet rich on whole grains is likely to play a part in the development of this condition,” Whela said in the release.
“In addition, we have shown that this condition is associated with a higher body mass index.”
He said the condition has been linked to poor immune function and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
In addition to being associated with higher body weight, the condition is also associated with lower levels of HDL, or “good cholesterol,” and a higher concentration of triglycerides, or bad cholesterol.
The researchers say the findings should serve as a cautionary tale for those looking to improve their health, particularly if they’re taking supplements.
“We think this is an important point because we have very few data on the link between whole grains intake and the risk of diabetes, hypertension and type 2 diabetes,” Whetani said.
“If a person with a low-glycemic index diet is going to get the condition as well as the weight, then that should be an important message for people.”
A diet rich with whole grains may also be associated with reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and depression, the researchers said.