While most people are aware that natural redheads are more susceptible to sunburn, skin ageing and a higher risk of skin cancers, a study by David Fisher, a cancer biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has discovered that “unlike people with darker skin, those with fair, freckly skin and red hair were found to possess a mutation in the MCIR gene which not only causes them to produce a different form of the pigment melanin, known as pheomelanin, which is less effective at protecting the skin from UV damage than the darker form, eumelanin, it also makes them more prone to a variety of other health risks as well.
In fact, one Harvard study has shown that redheads have a nearly 90% high risk for developing Parkinson’s Disease, while a separate Harvard involving more than 90,000 women linked red hair to a 30% higher risk for endometriosis (a painful gynecological disorder in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the pelvis). However, the study found that red hair “only ups the threat in fertile women, while lowering it in infertile women, compared to those with any other hair color.”
In addition, an Australian study reported that not only is there a nearly seven-fold higher rate of Tourette’s Syndrome in redheads, but 55% of the Tourette’s patients studied had also relatives with ruby hair, leading the scientists to surmise that “a gene for the tic disorder may be located near the ginger gene.”
Other research has shown that redheads are not only more sensitive to cold and heat than those with different haircolors, curiously, they also tend to require 20% more anesthesia during surgical procedures.
On the other hand, biologists have found that their fair skin seems to permit their bodies to absorb more vitamin D from sunlight, giving them stronger bones, and the ability to fend off diseases such as osteoporosis and even tuberculosis according to, Scottish researcher Jonathan Rees, who noted that “highest rate of redheads is found in Scotland, where an estimated 13% of the natives have flame-colored tresses, compared to 4% of Europeans and less than 2% elsewhere. However, scientists also claim that 40% of all those in the British Isles carry a recessive ginger gene, based on DNA testing of 5,000 Brits done last December, a report by STV News.