Ginger can tolerate more pain than brunettes and blondes, and a new study has found why.
He found that skin cells that determine a person’s pigmentation, called melanocytes, are essential in determining a person’s pain threshold.
Redheads have a genetic mutation, which means their melanocytes have a defective version of a key receptor and therefore cannot make dark pigment to achieve a tan.
A ripple effect of this is a chemical imbalance leading to a cascade of different hormones which ultimately enhances the effect of opioid receptors blocking pain.
The end result is that ginger produces more opioid signals than people with other hair colors and complections and therefore have a high pain threshold.
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Redheads have a genetic mutation, which means their melanocytes have a defective version of a key receptor and therefore cannot make dark pigment to achieve a tan. But a ripple effect of this is a chemical imbalance leading to a cascade of different hormones which ultimately enhances the effect of the painkillers (stock).
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital examined mice with red fur in a lab.
Rodent skin cells are similar to those in humans, and the cause of red hair is comparable in both species.
Dr David Fischer led a previous study which found that people with fiery hair cannot create dark pigment and tan due to loss of functionality in melanocytes.
Ginger, the rarest color of human hair, like all people has a receptor on their melanocytes called melanocortin 1 that protrudes from the surface of the cell.
Ginger, the rarest of human hair colors, like all people has a receptor on their melanocytes called melanocortin 1 which is involved in the production of dark skin pigment. But in redheads it is defective. This leads to a different hormonal level than people with other complications and results in a high pain threshold (stock)
Graying “is caused by stress”
Scientists have finally proven what conventional wisdom has been telling us for decades – that being stressed makes hair graying.
However, researchers at Columbia University have also found that the process can be reversed in hair that has only recently turned gray.
Stress reduction could prevent gray hair, scientists say, and it is hoped that drugs can be developed to further prevent the unwanted process.
The study found that hair all over the scalp can reverse graying. He also found that beards and pubic hair could regain their color after they started to turn gray.
Scientists believe that the root of the graying problem comes from changes in the metabolic pathways that make up the body’s proteins.
These pathways are heavily influenced by the hormones produced when a person is under stress, so stress relief can override the process.
Its normal role is to control when the body begins to produce dark brown or black pigment.
However, in redheads this does not work, causing many ginger’s pale skin that never turns tan and is prone to sunburn.
But Dr Fischer found that these faulty receptors also alter the production of a chemical called POMC which then breaks down into various hormones.
These hormones create a balance between the anti-pain and anti-pain receptors.
In redheads, the damaged melanocortin 1 receptor results in the production of less POMC and as a result, they have lower levels of derived hormones.
This means that the balance in redheads is at a lower concentration than in people with other hair colors.
This therefore reinforces the impact of other hormones – not produced by pigment cells in the skin – which enhance the effect of opioid receptor pain relievers.
As a result, redheads have a high pain threshold, the researchers conclude in their study, published in Science Advances.
“These results describe the mechanistic basis behind previous evidence suggesting varying pain thresholds in different pigmentation media,” says Dr. Fisher.
“Understanding this mechanism validates this previous evidence and a valuable recognition for medical staff when caring for patients with varying pain sensitivity.