Edited: March 1, 2021
Have you ever heard someone say redheads get sick more often? Well, I have!
As the only redheaded child in the family, I always seemed to get sick the most. My mother told me when she was much younger she was told by a redhead (who was always sick with something) that redheads have weaker immune systems.
It was a weird correlation. Red hair = weak immune system, but it made total sense in my case. I spent years feeling sick while all the blondes and brunettes around me seemed to be perfectly healthy. Now, with the current world health crisis, I wanted to know: is it true that redheads are sick more often or just coincidence that I personally got sick often? I did some digging and found these very interesting facts about redheads:
- Being a redhead is rare; it’s a mutation of the MC1R gene.
2. Studies have found that redheads are more sensitive to pain and require more anesthesia.
3. We are more likely to get skin cancer because the MC1R mutation doesn’t bind to the PTEN gene and protect it from ultraviolet light, which when not mutated, is known to prevent tumors and safeguard against cancer.
4. We are nearly twice as likely to get Parkinson’s disease than our darker haired counterparts.
5. Redheaded women are more likely to have endometriosis — can we catch a break?
6. Full body birthmarks (i.e. freckles) are most common among redheads.
While that may seem all doom and gloom, there are some absolutely astonishing and positive things about the mutation, too!
1. Redheads rarely go gray.
2. Because our heritage mainly comes from Northern European countries, evolution has forced our bodies to be able to produce our own Vitamin D to make up for the lack of sun exposure.
3. According to science, we are more desirable to mates because red hair is attention grabbing
4. Like being able to make our own vitamin D, our bodies have another hidden superpower: we are able to detect temperature changes more accurately.
So what’s the consensus, do redheads get sick more often?
In some instances this can be true, but overall, being a redhead doesn’t mean you’ll get the flu more often. And, it certainly doesn’t mean our immune systems are weaker *phew*. But, we do have a lot of unique qualities, apart from simply having red hair, and we must say: it’s awesome!
Rock it like a Redhead!
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