Stress levels are also measured by the hair. As is known, when we are under pressure, our body, on impulse of the brain, produces cortisol, a hormone of the adrenal glands, detectable in the blood, urine, saliva, but – as emerges from a Danish study published in the journal ‘Plos Global Public Health ‘- even in our hair. The research was conducted on women from geographically very distant countries, 398 in Iceland and 881 in Mexico, who were asked to ‘donate’ some hair to be analyzed and at the same time to answer questionnaires regarding their mental health.
The researchers analyzed the first 3 centimeters of hair – that is the growth of the last 3 months, where it is estimated that they lengthen 1 cm per month – while the women, after answering the questionnaire, were classified into 5 different groups depending on the their degree of anxiety. The cortisol levels detected were then compared with the responses, finding that the volunteers in the ‘most anxious’ group had 24.3% more cortisol in their hair. A confirmed figure, without any difference, both for women from Iceland and for Mexican ones.
The result therefore led the experts to conclude that the cortisol level in the hair could be a reliable biomarker for identifying chronic stress.