Lifestyle Works

Stress Makes Your Hair Go Gray

A new report reveals that those pesky graying hairs that tend to crop up with age really are signs of stress. Anything that can limit the stress might stop the graying from happening, the researchers said.

Graying begins inside the sunken pits in the scalp called follicles. A typical human head has about 100,000 of these teardrop-shaped cavities, each capable of sprouting several hairs in a lifetime. At the bottom of each follicle is a hair-growing factory where cells work together to assemble coloured hair.

Cells build the hair from the bottom up, stacking atop one another and eventually dying, leaving behind mostly keratin, a colourless protein that gives hair its texture and strength. This is coloured by a pigment called melanin which comes in two shades—eumelanin (dark brown or black) and pheomelanin (yellow or red)—they combine in different proportions to create a vast array of human hair colours. Hair that has lost most of its melanin is gray; hair that has lost all of this pigment is white.

Researchers have discovered that some stresses damage DNA and deplete cells within hair follicles that are responsible for making the colour.

A Japanese study says that the DNA in cells is under constant attack by damaging agents such as mutagenic chemicals, ultraviolet light and ionizing radiation. It is estimated that a single cell in mammals can encounter approximately 100,000 DNA damaging events per day. These stem cells become damaged irreversibly. The loss of hair colour is attributed to the gradual dying off of the stem cells that maintain a continuous supply of new melanocytes, giving hair its youthful colour.

But the silver strands come with a benefit: protection from cancer. When the cells become damaged they stop reproducing themselves and hence stop the damage from being passed on to other cells and mutating. “They’ve shown that this mechanism is actually removing damaged stem cells. The good news is if you do find yourself graying, you’re probably better off not having those cells persist.” says David Fisher, chief of the department of dermatology at Harvard Medical School-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

~Information taken from: ScienceDaily June 15, 2009.

Unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses

Molasses may have a reputation as livestock food but it is a source of vital human nutrients lacking in most of our diets.

Molasses is a by-product from processing sugar cane or beet into table sugar. Juice is pressed out of the canes and boiled and sugar crystals are extracted. One of the boiling processes produces the thick dark substance, which is the most nutrient dense of the three grades of molasses: sulphured, unsulphured, and blackstrap.

Sulphur is used to process unripe green sugar cane. Sun ripened sugar cane is processed without using sulphur. So unsulphured molasses is a better choice.

Blackstrap molasses has a low glycemic index, which means the glucose and carbohydrates are metabolised slowly, demanding less insulin production and stabilising blood sugar which drastically reduces chances of becoming diabetic.

Molasses has a high iron content and contains folate along with some other B vitamins, which all combine to form the synergistic mix that promotes red blood cell production. It also contains magnesium, along with calcium. Magnesium is important for balancing with calcium for bone production and energy. It is necessary for the smooth function of our nervous system. It is also helpful in maintaining heart health.

It also contains potassium which helps maintain muscle strength and helps prevent arthritis. It too is important for the nervous system and heart health. Manganese, a trace mineral, is also present. Manganese ions function with a number of enzymes, and are essential to combating unusual free radicals. Like magnesium, manganese also supports cellular absorption of nutrients, and is also beneficial to the nervous system.

As there are a lot of nervous system supporting nutrients, molasses has been used as a successful deterrent to the hyperactivity and ADD in youngsters who consume too much sugar. Other minerals that appear in abundance are copper and zinc.

All the minerals and nutrients of unsulphured blackstrap molasses are in their natural, balanced form to create a bio-accessible, nutritional synergy unavailable from supplements that are not food.

There are many testimonial anecdotes concerning the use of unsulphured blackstrap molasses. Most revolve around the fact that anemia was overcome or greatly lessened without the constipation or stomach problems from iron supplements. The result was better heart health, more energy, relief from rheumatoid arthritis, improved skin conditions, and even restored hair colour!

Unsulphured blackstrap molasses can be incorporated with many food items as a sweetener despite its distinctive flavor. It works in teas or hot cereals, on pancakes and waffles or dessert items, or used as a glaze for cooking. Mixing a tablespoon or two with a glass of warm water works well as a mineral tonic. Some people take right to it while others, especially those who consume sugar and artificial sweeteners, take longer.

What is more important: a long lasting healthier condition, or immediately satisfying cravings that lead to serious health problems?

~Information derived from, May 20 2009. Paul Fassa, citizen journalist.

Natural Skin Treatment

Molasses Facial Cleanser

1. Cover clothes to protect them from dripping.
2. Apply black strap molasses thoroughly over entire face and front of neck (avoiding eyes – though it is not harmful).
3. Let sit for one hour.
4. Remove with water only. Do not use soap.
5. Enjoy your soft vibrant skin!