Antioxidants: The secret protector of your Hair
The human body can be considered as a walking chemical laboratory. A long chain of interconnected chemical reactions is happening inside our body every second. These life-sustaining chemical reactions, also called metabolism, are a necessity for every living being and the products and by-products of these reactions determine the condition and quality of every life dwelling in an organic body.
Oxidation and the formation of the free radicals
One of such metabolic reactions is oxidation. It is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, which then leads to chain reactions that may damage or destroy the cells in living organisms. Free radicals are harmful to the body in general. An excess amount of free radicals in the body can easily affect our skin and can also speed up the ageing process. The scalp is a region which is easily affected by the increased amount of radicals in our body. Hair follicles in the scalp are easily damaged which then gradually lead to hair loss by reducing the generation of new hair strands. There are many factors that increase the number of free radicals in our body. Pollution, stress and poor diet are three main reasons contributing to the production of oxidants.
Free radicals and hair
When the free radicals are not regulated by the antioxidants, oxidative damage accumulates. This cell damage contributes to ageing and also causes further impairment of the antioxidant defence system. Research shows that this happens in hair follicles and cells that produce hair pigment as well, which can promote hair loss, temporary or even permanent).
In women with diffuse hair loss, antioxidant supplements can increase hair growth rate. These supplements might also prove useful for those suffering from conditions linked with both free radical stress and hair loss, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
In a healthy person, the free radicals are neutralized to a great extent by complex systems of overlapping antioxidants such as glutathione and enzymes, produced internally, or the dietary antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E obtained from a healthy and balanced diet. In general, antioxidants either prevent these reactive species from being formed or remove them before they can damage vital components in a living cell. However, reactive oxidizing agents also have many useful cellular functions, such as redox signalling. Thus, the function of antioxidants is not to remove oxidants completely, but to keep them at an optimum level.
The different antioxidants present at a wide range of concentrations in body fluids are as follows, Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Glutathione, Lipoic acid, Uric acid, Carotenes, α-Tocopherol (vitamin E), and Ubiquinol. Some compounds help in antioxidant defence by chelating transition metals and preventing them from catalyzing the production of free radicals in the cell. Many of these compounds are synthesized in the body or obtained from the diet. Some of the antioxidant-rich food that you can include in your daily diet is as follows; Sweet potato, Turmeric, Avocados, Dark leafy greens, Citrus fruits, Wild blueberries etc.