Human Hair Keratin Responds to Oxidative Stress via Reactive Sulfur and Supersulfides

    April 2024 in “ Advances in Redox Research
    Toshiyuki Hirai, Mayumi Ikeda‐Imafuku, Nanami Tasaka, Victor Tuan Giam Chuang, Ming Xian, Tatsuhiro Ishida, Takaaki Akaike, Yu Ishima
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    TLDR Human hair strength and health are linked to sulfur compounds that can be reduced by stress but improved with sulfur supplements.
    The study "Human hair keratin responds to oxidative stress via reactive sulfur and supersulfides" discovered that polysulfides, a type of reactive sulfur and supersulfide, are present in human hair keratin. These polysulfides decrease under oxidative stresses like heat shock and ultraviolet radiation, which leads to a reduction in antioxidant activity. The research, conducted on hair samples from 8 subjects, also found a positive correlation between the amount of polysulfides in hair and hair strength. Additionally, sulfur supplementation was found to improve hair strength and the structure of hair cuticles. The study concluded that polysulfides contribute to hair strength, antioxidant activity against oxidative stresses, and help maintain hair homeostasis. Future developments could include a hair supplement that increases keratin protein polysulfide to enhance hair strength.
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