I don't know if this true in my case! I am a redhead (Auburn) and I am not that brave when when it comes to pain!

Redheads are special! Women who have red hair have an innate ability to tolerate more pain than other people.

While testing the painkilling drug pentazocine, researchers from McGill University in Montreal discovered that the same gene that gives women red hair and fair skin also plays a role in the body's natural pain suppression system. However, it doesn't work for male carrot-tops. Redheaded women can tolerate more pain than anyone else, including men with red hair and men and women who do not have red hair. The others all had a similar and much lower tolerance to pain than flame-haired females.

"While we believe pain is the same in all women of all hair colors, our study shows women with red hair respond better to the painkilling drug we tested than anyone else--including men," lead researcher Jeffrey S. Mogil, a professor of pain studies at McGill, said in a news release.

Why would the gene that gives red hair and fair skin--identified as Mc1r--work differently in redheaded men and women? Mogil told Reuters that men and women are using different pain pathways. "If they were using the same pathways, then the redhead gene would have the same impact for both sexes," he added.

When we experience pain, our bodies attempt to dull the discomfort by releasing natural substances that are similar to medications like morphine. The gene Mc1r influences the pathway through which the body doles out those naturally occurring painkillers in women.

The research could affect how doctors prescribe pain medication, since it's clear that genetic differences impact how well a drug will work for individual people. The study findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

--Cathryn Conro