As if redheads didn’t have it hard enough, new studies are showing that the same gene that produces red hair is also involved in the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Research surrounding the question of whether redheads experience more pain is proving that people with red hair need 19 percent more painkillers than people without.
According to the Telegraph, Dr Edwin Liem, who led the studies at Louisville University, said: "Redheads experience more pain from a given stimulus and therefore require more anesthesia to alleviate that pain."
The study, which began in 2002, has recruited multiple hospitals in the US and the UK for trials. Redheaded volunteers are recruited, put under anesthesia and then given a small electric shock to the thigh. Their pain levels were then compared to similar trials and tests on people with darker hair.
The study, which is set to end in September, has led Dr. Liem and other researchers to conclude that red hair is a determinant for how much pain you can tolerate.
"The art and science of anesthesiology is determining just the right amount of anesthesia to achieve unconsciousness, pain tolerance and suppression of memory without causing adverse consequences, such as cardiac or pulmonary complications," said Dr. Liem. "Red hair is apparently an important element in this decision."