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The importance of antioxidants in hair health

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Dr. Sebastian Podlipnik

Associate doctor of the Dermatology service of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and in the Diagnosis Dermatológica clinic.

La importancia de los antioxidantes en la salud capilar - Blog Olistic

To this day, it is known thatfactors such as environmental pollution and excessive exposure to UV rays from the sun can negatively influence skin and hair.

All these external factors (called exposome) cause, with thefree radical release, oxidative stress associated in multiple studies with aging and hair loss.

Although the exact way to combat free radical damage is not yet known exactly, science is making great strides.

In this article I explain what we mean when we talk about free radicals, how they are produced and what we can do to prevent their appearance.Besides, I also want you to knowthe effect that antioxidants can have on them to combat themand how you can include them in your routine to take advantage of their benefits.

What are the free radicals?

To understand free radicals we have to travel to the smallest part that makes up matter: the atoms.

The atoms are surrounded by electrons that orbit around them distributed in different shells.Each shell must be filled with a certain number of electrons and when one is complete, the electrons begin to fill the next.

If aatom has an outer shell that is not filled, it can bind to another atom and use its electrons to complete its outer shell.

Atoms with a full outer shell are stable but those without it areunstableand, in an effort to fill in the number of electrons in its outer shell,react quickly with other biological substancesof our body.These types of atoms are known asfree radicals.

If this occurs in the body with a very high frequency, what is known asoxidative stress, which can damage cells and cause a series of diseases as well as an acceleration of the aging process.

How Free Radicals Are Produced

The effects that free radicals have on aging and disease may help explain why some people age more slowly than others.

Although free radicals occur naturally in the body, an unhealthy lifestyle can speed up their production.

"Free radicals are produced naturally in the body, but an unhealthy lifestyle can accelerate their appearance"

Factors such as the following can lead to its appearance:

  • Theexposure to toxic chemicalssuch as pesticides and air pollution
  • Smoke
  • Consumealcohol
  • Eatfried foods
  • Sufferchronic stress
  • Expose yourself tosunlightexcessively

Diseases related to free radicals

In 1956, Dr. Denham Harman proposed his theory of free radicals and aging.

According to this, free radicals cause damage to cells.Cellular antioxidants naturally present in the body are not capable by themselves of curbing oxidative stressAnd, as the body ages, this ability to fight them is further lost.

The result, therefore, is thepresence of more free radicals, more oxidative stress and more damage to cells, which leads to degenerative processes, as well as different diseases and conditions such as:

  • Alopecia or hair loss
  • Premature aging
  • Central nervous system diseases such as Alzheimer's
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer
  • Cataracts and age-related decrease in vision
  • Age-related changes in appearance, such as loss of skin elasticity, wrinkles, the appearance of white or gray hair, hair loss, and changes in its texture
  • Diabetes

Free radicals and hair loss

Hair is exposed every day to a series of elements such as sunlight, pollution, cosmetic treatments or aggressive grooming practices.

All these factors are harmful because they trigger the formation of free radicals in the body excessively.

These, in turn, create aimbalance in the body that disrupts the body's natural metabolic pathways and the hair growth cycle.

Hair grows cyclically in three phases.The first is called anagen, in which hair grows; the second is called catagen, during which growth stops and the hair separates from the root; and the third, known as telogen, is a resting phase prior to falling.

Free radicals alter and inflame this cycle and give rise to an elongated anagen phase that produces capillary weakness and a greater possibility of hair loss.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are moleculesstable enough to donate an electron to a free radical and neutralize it, thus reducing its damage capacity and slowing the creation of a chain reaction that can damage vital cells.

This is the way that antioxidants slow or inhibit cell damage.

It has been shown that abalance in the presence of free radicals and antioxidants is necessaryfor proper physiological function.

As I mentioned before, the body cannot produce enough antioxidants on its own.Therefore,the presence of an external source is essential to cope with oxidative stress.

The role of antioxidants in hair loss

More and more studies are focusing onthe importance of antioxidants to prevent hair loss.

Recently, a clinical trial showed howthe application of antioxidants to the scalp improved its conditions and reduced hair loss.

Antioxidants such as glutathione, ubiquinol, and uric acid are produced during normal body metabolism.Instead,Other lighter and very important antioxidants can only be obtained from the diet, such as vitamin E, vitamin C and carotene B

One of the diets that best guarantees the intake of these antioxidants is theMediterranean diet.

This type of diet contains many foods with a highoxygen radical absorption capacity (CARO).

There is still much to discover about antioxidants, but several scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture published a list of plant foods with the highest EXPENSES, that is, with the most antioxidant capacity.

Many of those who addedfound in the Mediterranean diet, as is the case of:

  • Artichoke: 7,904 ORAC / 100g.
  • Raisins: 7,291 ORAC / 100g.
  • Red apple: 5,900 ORAC / 100g.
  • Green apple: 5,381 ORAC / 100g.
  • Cherry: 4,873 ORAC / 100g.
  • Plum: 4,118 ORAC / 100g.
  • Pomegranate: 2,860 ORAC / 100g.

It's important to put attention on,when boiling any vegetable or fruit its ORAC value will be reduced by up to 90% and, therefore, its antioxidant properties.One way to preserve it in larger proportions would be to steam it or, of course, eat it raw.

"One of the diets that best guarantees the intake of antioxidants is the Mediterranean diet for its large amount of vitamins"

Nevertheless,diet is not the only way to supply the body with antioxidants.

In consultation, especially after the summer, I meet many patients who have neglected their diet and have decreased their intake of vitamins.

The main thing to solve it is to return to healthy eating routines and for this,As a complement to a balanced diet, nutricosmetics such as Olistic are a great ally.Its composition includes powerful natural antioxidants such asastaxanthin, theresveratrolwavesanthocyanins from vaccinium myrtillusthat will help us to reach the necessary vitamin requirements so that areas such as hair grow in a healthy way, preventing their weakening and loss.

The presence of alarge amount of free radicals is one of the causes of the appearance of many chronic health problems, including hair problems.

Antioxidants can be one of our allies to prevent and fight the damage they cause, eliminating them and preventing their appearance.

In addition to the body's internal antioxidant defense systems,the consumption of antioxidants seems to be a suitable alternative.

It is important to resort, in addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle, to effective natural compounds as supplements.

There is still a long way to go to know all the effects of antioxidants, butResearch is progressing by leaps and bounds and the future is promising.

 

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