Background: Premature canities is defined as a minimum of five gray hairs present in a person less than 20 years of age. Etiologically, it is genetically mediated or may be associated with autoimmune syndromes. Few studies have found an association of decreased levels of trace elements with early canities, however the scientific evidence for the same is lacking.
Aims and objectives: of this study were to evaluate the relationship of serum iron, ferritin and calcium concentrations with premature canities.
Material and methods: This was a hospital based case-control cross-sectional study in which 50 patients aged less than 20 years with premature canities were studied. Age and sex matched 50 subjects with other mild skin ailments but no canities were taken as controls. A detailed history, thorough examination and lab investigations were carried out in all the patients and controls after taking informed consent. The severity of canities was graded as: mild (up to 50), moderate (50-100) and severe (more than 100 gray hairs).
Results: Seventeen patients (34%) had mild disease, 30 patients (60%) had moderate disease and 3 patients (6%) had severe disease. The mean age of onset was about 2 years earlier than mean age of presentation. Femalemale ratio was 1.38:1. Positive family history was present in 31 patients (62%). The mean levels of serum iron. Ferritin and calcium were statistically significantly low in patients when compared to controls.
Conclusion: The significantly low levels of these trace elements in our patients with premature canities support the fact that their supplementation might prevent the progression of canities. However, large scale studies are needed to substantiate these observations.