What your husband’s grey hair might say about his heart

We were back home visiting family for the holidays when we had to make a last minute grocery store run.

You know how it is… you’ve remembered everything you need to cook your special recipe except for one item, and then it’s chaos.

My husband was sweet enough to go to the store with me where we ran into his college roommate, whom we hadn’t seen in several years. Although I recognized him immediately, and he appeared to be in good shape, I couldn’t help but notice the glaring difference between him and my husband…

You see, while my husband still has a head full of thick, dark hair with just a silver strand here and there, our friend was completely grey — beard and all.

That got me wondering…

Is going grey just genetic or is there more to it?

Here’s what I found…

New research reported by the European Society of Cardiology took a look at the link between greying hair and the risk of coronary artery disease in over 500 men.

The scientists divided the men into four groups by the amount of grey hair they had using a hair whitening score: 1 = pure black hair, 2 = black more than white, 3 = black equals white, 4 = white more than black, and 5 = pure white.

The men then underwent CT coronary angiography to check for coronary artery disease.

The researchers found that a high hair whitening score (grade 3 or more) was associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease independent of chronological age and established cardiovascular risk factors.

And that the patients with coronary artery disease had a statistically significant higher hair whitening score and higher coronary artery calcification than those without coronary artery disease.

In other words, the more grey hair the men had, the more likely they were to have problems with their coronary arteries that could lead to heart attack, stroke or even death.

As the researchers put it, “Hair greying indicates biological age and could be a warning sign of increased cardiovascular risk.”

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Don’t wait for the grey

So, if your husband is starting to get a touch of grey — or full-on salt and pepper — it could be time for a check-up.

It’s also just smart to work on a heart-healthy lifestyle no matter the color of your hair. Here are some tips to put to work:

  • Get regular exercise – Exercise helps maintain the health of the vessels leading to the heart and can also strengthen the heart muscle itself. Brisk walking counts.
  • Reduce the stress in your life – Easier said than done, right? But it’s very important to try. A good marriage can help. In fact, a better relationship correlates with lower bad cholesterol levels and lower weight as well as with improved total cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
  • Stop smoking, if you smoke – Smoking damages the lining of the arteries, leading to a build-up of fatty material which narrows the artery. This can cause angina (chest pain), a heart attack or a stroke.
  • Get fishy – Fish oil can lower triglyceride levels, increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol, help minimize inflammation and blood clotting and keep blood vessels healthy, thanks to the omega-3 content. Eat wild-caught, fatty fish, like salmon, regularly and take a good quality supplement. Krill oil is my preference (less fishy).
  • Get serious about heart-healthy supplements – I’ve mentioned the importance of vitamin K2 before for safeguarding elastin, a protein that keeps vessel walls pliable. Too much calcium damages existing elastin and inhibits the new production of it. Other supplements that promote healthy circulation include malic acid, EDTA and garlic. Some supplements like Peak Chelation+ Resveratrol™ combine these so you don’t have to take numerous capsules.

Sources:

  1. Grey hair linked with increased heart disease risk in men — European Society of Cardiology
  2. For better or worse, your marriage affects your heart — Easy Health Options
  3. Smoking — British Heart Foundation
  4. Health & Diet Medical Reference — WebMD
  5. Fish oil: friend or foe? — Harvard University

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Virginia Tims-Lawson

By Virginia Tims-Lawson

Virginia Tims-Lawson has dedicated her life to researching and studying natural health after her mother had a stroke that left her blind in one eye at the age of 47, and her grandmother and two great uncles died from heart attacks. Spurred by her family history, Virginia’s passion to improve her and her family’s health through alternative practices, nutrients and supplements has become a mission she shares through her writing. She is the founder and Chief Research officer for Peak Pure & Natural.