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Suggest treatment for gray hair and rigid nails

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Posted on Mon, 25 May 2015
Question: Gray Hairs and rigid nails - Why? How to reverse?

Trying to get to the bottom of why I have rigid nails (they aren't split but they don’t look that healthy with lines that you can feel going vertical. No moons on the other fingers other than the thumb. Noticed a few gray hairs appear since over a year ago. Doesn’t seem fast spreading and can mainly only be seen when the light shine on them. They aren't in one specific area and random although on the sides mainly not many on top. Also noticed a few gray hair on legs.

I wonder if these are connected in any way? Had a bunch of blood tests and MCV was at 100, after 3 months of vitamin B supplement MCV was 98. I do drink alcohol but only 2 days a week. Testosterone was in normal range but seemed low for my age as was about 12-14 nmol. Maybe zinc deficiency and Vitamin B? Vitamin D was low and insufficient (not deficient) 1 year ago, after 6 month of supplements it is not high and in good range.

I eat good diet when not having the beer and plenty of meat.

But need answers about when nails will go to normal and hair. I am supplementing with:
15MG Zinc with 0.75 copper (for acne and possible low levels of zinc)
5000iu Vitamin A (for acne and seems to have helped a lot so far)
B Complex
PABA (for gray hairs)
Vitamin D
doctor
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar (15 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Very difficult to judge the reason for gray hair and rigid nails

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Let me answer your questions one by one.

Gray Hairs and rigid nails - Why? How to reverse?
Gray hairs are very hard to reverse even though the basic cause of them is treated. I did not understand what you meant by rigid nails, do you mean split nails or unable to trim them with nail trimmer?

Both of them may be connect or may not be. Both of them arise from epidermis (skin). Do you have any other skin manifestation? Usually nutritional deficiencies are associated with them. It is often difficult to illustrate the deficiency with blood tests. OFten these changes are associated with other significant disorders. So doctors would try to elucidate the cause by investigating for those significant disorders rather than following the gray hair and rigid nails. They feel that these are insignificant symptoms to trace the true reasons. So you should speak to Metabolic and nutritional experts.

Most often if we start treating the gray hair we end up in dissatisfaction of the patient as the expectations are not met by doctor and patient. Reversing of graying hair is difficult. Definitely there is large red blood cell so Vit B12, folic acid are supplemented but we need to understand the other reasons for large RBC. Vitamin B and Zinc correction should continue.

An Internal medicine expert, Dermatologist & Endocrinologist are right experts to meet. Only a physical consultation with detailed history and examination can arrive with plausible reasons.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Aparna Kohli
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar (6 hours later)
Thanks for reply.

I drink around 40 units of alcohol on a weekend, but nothing in the week. I wonder if this could cause folic acid deficency? My Active B12 I tested was OK.

Factor Antibodies checked and within normal range.

Cortisol was checked and was outside the range at CORTISOL * 622 nmol/l
DHEA was slightly raised.

I have vitiligo since 15 only around eye and one other area. The Gray hairs are random and not in that area.

Please help.

Thanks
doctor
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar (15 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Vitiligo can cause graying hairs

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Though the vitiligenous patches are else where there is a tendency of antibody formation against the melanosomes and it may cause early graying of the hair.

Yes alcohol leads to Vitamin B1 deficiency and may be other co vitamin deficiencies. 40 units of alcohol can lead to nutritional insufficiency as well because of the gastritis it causes and reduces the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.

We should keep correcting even the minor causes as they appear rather than thinking about the major causes which cause graying and rigid nails.

Hope this helps.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Aparna Kohli
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar (1 hour later)
Thanks for reply. Do you think the rigid nails and gray hairs are due to a B deficency instead of antibody? Will grey hairs reverse once B deficency is corrected?

I pluck the gray hairs so I dont see as many. I've noticed them in all placed including legs, but you wouldnt notice unless look very carefully under microscope.

More noticable on hair as it grows.

Do you think cortisol level is OK? or is it high?

Cortisol was checked and was outside the range at CORTISOL * 622 nmol/l

Thanks

doctor
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar (17 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Reversal is very slow or negligible

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

I was trying to convince you that reversal of graying is a very slow process or negligibly perceivable. May be the B vitamin deficiencies are cause of graying the hair. Correcting them may or may not reverse the graying. But would definitely help more serious hazards that may occur in the body like neuron degeneration, Alzheimers, Anemia etc.

I was trying to tell you that physicians would not consider graying of hair to be serious enough to investigate the real cause. It would not be cost effective and incidental lab findings may follow unwanted treatments.

All in all I suggest you to stop noticing gray hairs as a larger problem and bend up your mind that you have to live with them as you correct the underlying cause.

Yes cortisol is elevated but I would like to know when was the blood drawn during the day, is it early morning or noon or in the evening. The levels vary a lot. However the given value is very high and it is increased during stressful situations as well along with some other conditions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar (41 hours later)
Thanks for reply.

Well i had the test last later last year, I think I took the test in the morning after not having any sleep at maybe 7-10 am (my sleeping pattern was a mess then).

I was thinking about taking a urine test or saliva test to rule out Cushing's disease. But im not obese so should i already rule this out? I do have some other symptoms like acne on and off and no sex drive / erections.

thanks

doctor
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar (2 days later)
Brief Answer:
Cushing disease not classical

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Yeah if you do not have good sleep you are obviously stressed out and the catecholamines are raised. IT is been a long so lets us deconsider this one for now.

You may go ahead with the urine test / saliva test for Cushing's disease though I do not find anything classical to say so.



Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Aparna Kohli
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar (11 hours later)
The symptoms I have are:

Acne (on and off)
Depression / Anxiety (on and off)
Irritability (on and off)
No sex drive
No libido
Lack of erections

I used to be obese and had stretch marks, but I am currently a normal weight.

Should I bother to get a cortisol test? Which is better? Urine or Saliva?
Will the test rule out Cushings?

Thanks
doctor
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar (14 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Do not bother about cushingoid

Detailed Answer:
I would rather refer to a Psychiatrist and Psychologist and first recheck the mental state. Physicians do not label new diagnosis first instead they recheck the older existing ones first.

If you feel you have low mood, irritable, no sex drive then it is a Major depressive illness first. Let the Psychiatrist decide to rule out cushoid features after XXXXXXX mental examination.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Aparna Kohli
doctor
Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 1779 Questions

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Suggest treatment for gray hair and rigid nails

Brief Answer: Very difficult to judge the reason for gray hair and rigid nails Detailed Answer: Hi, Let me answer your questions one by one. Gray Hairs and rigid nails - Why? How to reverse? Gray hairs are very hard to reverse even though the basic cause of them is treated. I did not understand what you meant by rigid nails, do you mean split nails or unable to trim them with nail trimmer? Both of them may be connect or may not be. Both of them arise from epidermis (skin). Do you have any other skin manifestation? Usually nutritional deficiencies are associated with them. It is often difficult to illustrate the deficiency with blood tests. OFten these changes are associated with other significant disorders. So doctors would try to elucidate the cause by investigating for those significant disorders rather than following the gray hair and rigid nails. They feel that these are insignificant symptoms to trace the true reasons. So you should speak to Metabolic and nutritional experts. Most often if we start treating the gray hair we end up in dissatisfaction of the patient as the expectations are not met by doctor and patient. Reversing of graying hair is difficult. Definitely there is large red blood cell so Vit B12, folic acid are supplemented but we need to understand the other reasons for large RBC. Vitamin B and Zinc correction should continue. An Internal medicine expert, Dermatologist & Endocrinologist are right experts to meet. Only a physical consultation with detailed history and examination can arrive with plausible reasons.