Why Does Iron Deficiency Cause Hair Loss
Due to iron deficiency, our body suffers subsequently lower levels of hemoglobin. Also, iron deficiency is affecting the growth, and the repair of cells responsible for hair follicle health. Low hemoglobin will result in hair follicles not receiving enough oxygen. Now you understand how iron deficiency can cause hair loss.
The good news is that, in many cases, hair loss due to iron deficiency anemia is reversible, and the correct treatment, with proper iron intake, can promote hair regrowth.
One study showed that iron defficiency may play a significant role in patterned hair loss and that an initial iron screening for patients with hair issues can be the first step to correcting the problem. It also showed that hair loss due to iron deficiency can cause hair to fall out similarly to genetic baldness in males and females.
How Much Ferritin Is Normal
So how much ferritin is normal? According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a normal range for blood ferritin for women varies by age:
- Women 18-39: 10-120 ng/mL
- Women 40 and above: 12-263 ng/mL
However, the lower the ferritin level in your blood, even if it’s in the normal range for your age, the more chance you may not have enough iron.
Why Is Iron Important For Hair
Iron is a mineral that is crucial to our health. Its most important function in our body is to aid in the production of red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen around the body via our bloodstream to all our tissues and organs including our hair follicles. Iron also optimises energy levels, nourishes your muscles , and helps your immune system. In other words, it is an all-round essential for your general fitness and well-being.
If you do not have enough iron in your body, you may develop a condition called iron deficiency anaemia. This can cause your hair to shed.
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If Your Hair Is Thinning An Iron Deficiency May Be To Blame Ask Your Doctor For These Tests To Determine What You Can Do To Help Your Hair
Q: My doctor tested my iron level in the office, and it came up a little on the low side, but still normal. My thyroid, blood sugar, and all other blood tests turned out normal. Is there anything else I should test that might explain my hair loss?
A: Since your iron tested lownormal, be sure to eat lots of ironrich protein for the next several weeks. This will help bring your iron levels back into the midnormal range.
You might also want to go back to your doctor and ask for a more extensive test for iron levels. There are actually three main tests for iron: serum iron, which measures the amount of iron in blood ferritin, which is a measure of the amount of iron stored in the body and TIBC Total Iron Binding Capacity which is a measure of how much iron could be/should be in the body.
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A Lack Of Iron In Your Diet
If your body does not get adequate iron from the food you consume, over time it will become iron deficient. The body is better able to absorb iron from meat than it does from other sources. For this reason, people who choose to adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle may need to increase their intake of iron-rich, plant-based foods or supplements in order to absorb the same amount of iron as a meat-eater.
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Important Note On Ferritin Levels
Despite the fact that iron/ferritin is a vital mineral we need for optimal health, more is not better! In fact, high levels of iron are a severe health threat that may damage joints, organs, tissues and joints.
Excess iron can also increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, and premature death and increased inflammation, which is as we already know, a root-cause of many chronic illnesses. Research shows that excess iron in the brain can lead to neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, and ALS.
I recommend reading Dr Mercolas book, Fat for Fuel, to learn more about this critical health topic. According to Dr Mercola healthy levels of ferritin lay between 40 to 60 ng and high ferritin levels are easy to treat with blood donations. According to him, anything above 80 or 90 ng, can cause health problems.
As always, see what works best for your personal health condition.
So You Have Low Ferritin
If your ferritin test results reveal that youre functioning on less than 80 ug/L, youll need to take some proactive steps towards increasing the amount of ferritin available for your body to use. After continued use, youll start to see changes in the health of your hair. You also need to rule out other conditions.
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Iron Deficiency Hair Loss: Tips & Tricks
If your doctor diagnoses you with iron deficiency or if you simply want to increase the healthy hair nutrients in your diet, eat more iron-rich foods or take a with iron.
The most iron-rich foods are red meats such as beef and liver. Other animal proteins such as chicken, pork, fish and shellfish are also good sources of iron. Research suggests that the body absorbs iron from animal sources better than iron from non-meat foods. For vegetarian iron sources, eat more and dark leafy green vegetables beans and tofu dried fruits such as prunes and apricots and prune juice.
In addition, Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. Good sources of vitamin C are red peppers, , spinach and citrus fruits.
An easier way to get more iron and Vitamin C in your diet plus added hair growth benefits is a hair growth supplement. Select a supplement that has iron plus healthy hair nutrients such as , Zinc and . Generally, the healthier the nutrients you consume, the more impressive your tresses will be.
When addressing iron deficiency hair loss, remember that what happens to your body today will not affect your hair tomorrow. Unlike the skin, it can take several months before the negative effects of crash diets, iron deficiency or other hair loss causes show in your . To manage iron deficiency hair loss, be patient and consistently take the recommended dosage of a proven hair growth supplement. Your diligence should pay off in a few short months!
What Causes Low Iron Levels
To prevent hair loss from iron deficiency, you should first know what causes this issue.
Lets go over the most reasons behind low iron levels in women.
- Not eating enough veggies: Eat your leafy green vegetables just like Popeye! Not to fight off your arch-nemesis but to get the recommended dose of iron. Reduced veggies intake is among the leading causes of iron deficiency anemia in women.
- Dietary lifestyle: Meat is the best source of iron. But if youre a vegan or vegetarian, you might experience iron deficiency hair loss. Id suggest discussing ideal alternatives to iron with a dietician.
- Low Vitamin C intake: Citrus fruits contain tons of Vitamin C, which ensures active absorption of iron from food sources. Eating fruits with iron-rich veggies gives your body a remarkable iron boost!
- Smoking:Tobacco prevents natural iron absorption from foods. Additionally, its known to mess up your menstrual cycles and cause heavy bleeding. Eventually, this causes iron deficiency.
- Heavy periods: Many women with heavy periods or menorrhagia might also suffer alopecia because of iron deficiency.
- Drugs: Many anti-inflammatory and antibiotic meds are linked to iron deficiency anemia. So if you frequently take these drugs and are losing your hair, it could be a reason for iron deficiency hair loss.
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Who Suffers Hair Loss From Iron
There is no one who is safe from being deficient of iron. This therefore means anyone could suffer from hair loss due to lack of sufficient iron. However, iron deficiency cases in men are lower as compared to the cases of women and so is the hair loss. For instance, for girls in their adolescents, they are at a risk of suffering from Anemia resulting from deficiency of iron since they may over bleed in times of menstruation. Adolescent girls who lose a lot of blood are known to also face irritating moments of hair loss. Excessive blood loss is what results to iron deficiency and hence hair loss. Pregnant women are as well associated with iron deficiency and are usually tested for iron deficiency on visiting hospitals.
How Do You Know If Youve Low Iron Levels
Besides a sudden dramatic hair loss, iron deficiency symptoms are mostly unrecognizable in the beginning.
Lets go over the subtle signs of iron deficiency that you might notice over time.
- Painless bluish-purple bruises on thighs, legs, or arms
- Feeling cold all the time
- Difficulty in breathing properly
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How Iron Deficiency Causes Hair Loss
Iron plays an important role in producing hemoglobin, an essential metalloprotein that your body uses to transport oxygen in blood. When your iron levels are low, it becomes harder to transport oxygen to important cells, such as the cells that stimulate the growth of your nails and hair.
This can result in your hair starting to thin and fall out. Hair loss caused by iron deficiency looks exactly the same as hormonal hair loss, meaning youll usually notice hair falling out around the middle of your head, the crown and the hairline.
Just like with other forms of hair loss, youll usually spot hair loss from iron deficiency by noticing a few extra hairs on your hairbrush, your pillow or in the hair catch of your shower after washing your hair.
With severe iron deficiency hair loss, you might notice more of your scalp when your hair is wet and youre standing in a brightly lit area.
If youve noticed your hair starting to fall out, its generally best not to panic about iron deficiency right away. Most hair loss in women is hormonal, with iron deficiency only accounting for a small percentage of female hair loss cases.
If youre worried that your hair loss might be caused by an iron deficiency, the best thing to do is to talk to your healthcare provider.. Theyll be able to check for iron deficiency using a blood test and give you an accurate diagnosis.
Studies On Hair Loss And Iron Deficiency
In a study to determine the relationship between iron and hair loss men with male pattern hair loss , together with pre and post-menopausal women experiencing female pattern hair loss were observed.
The study subjects were screened for serum ferritin , iron and total iron-binding capacity. There were also control groups in the study.
Of the patients with MPHL, 22.7 percent showed lower ferritin levels when compared with healthy control subjects of the same age in the study.
Premenopausal women with FPHL also had much lower serum levels compared with the healthy control subjects.
This may be linked to the loss of blood and iron during menstrual periods, a known link to iron deficiency.
They also showed much lower ferretin levels when compared with postmenopausal women with FPHL.
However, postmenopausal women in this study didn’t have significantly lower levels of ferretin when compared to normal controls.
In another study to determine the link between iron deficiency and telogen effluvium, 72 menstruating women with chronic telogen effluvium and 30 members of a control group were interviewed and examined.
Fifty out of the 72 subjects were found to have significantly lower ferritin levels, when compared to the eight control subjects who also showed low ferritin levels.
The 50 patients were given iron supplements to be used daily for four months. Twenty-one reported great improvement in their hair growth, 15 saw some improvement, but 14 saw no change in hair growth.
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Diagnosing An Iron Deficiency
If you believe your hair loss is related to an iron deficiency, its important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking matters into your own hands. It may seem tempting to self-diagnose and take an iron supplement, but they do have side effects, and your good health intentions may end up leading to more severe health problems.
A visit to the doctor usually involves discussing your medication history and symptoms. Following a physical exam, your provider can run a blood test to see how much iron is stored in your body. Your provider will also likely test your hemoglobin and hematocrit levels. These and iron tests are regarded as the most efficient and cost-effective way to diagnose an iron deficiency .
If its confirmed youre low on iron and experiencing hair loss, your provider may test further to determine the exact cause of your iron deficiency. The good news is iron deficiency anemia is often treatable.
What Does Iron Deficiency Hair Loss Look Like
You may find hair loss due to iron deficiency similar to female or male pattern hair loss as your hair starts to shed off unusually. You may be experiencing iron deficiency hair loss if you have short, wispy hair strands around the hairline and temple region. You may also notice bald spots across your scalp in severe cases.
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What Should Ideal Iron Levels Be For Hair Growth
According to doctors, the normal ferritin levels in women are 20 to 200 nanograms per milliliter in women and 20 to 500 nanograms per milliliter in men.
Most researchers have agreed that we require 50 to 70 nanograms per milliliter of ferritin for hair regrowth. Lower levels of ferritin can result in hair loss.
Can I Use Essential Oils To Promote Hair Growth
If you suspect you have iron deficiency anemia, you should immediately see your healthcare provider to make sure youre getting the right treatment, as hair loss can often be the least of your problems. But, to answer the question, yes, many essential oils are known to promote hair growth, including lavender oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and others.
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Treating Iron Deficiency Hair Loss
If you suspect you have anemia, visit your doctor. Your doctor will run a blood test to check your iron levels. If your doctor diagnoses you with anemia, they will prescribe an iron supplement.
Luckily, hair loss from anemia is usually temporary and hair should regrow in a few months. In the meantime, you can disguise thinning hair with Toppik Hair Building Fibers. Toppik Hair Building Fibers use a static charge to help them cling to hair, instantly creating the appearance of thicker locks. Plus, they come in nine versatile shades, so they work for everyone!
What Is Iron Deficiency Anemia
Youve probably heard of iron deficiencyor maybe even had it yourself. Research estimates between 3050% of children and other groups worldwide have anemia due to lack of iron. This is especially prevalent in developing countries of Africa, for example, because many kids dont get enough iron from their diet .
When you dont get enough iron, it especially affects your bone marrow. The marrow is where hemoglobin is created, a process that depends on iron. Hemoglobin is what gives blood its signature shade of redmore importantly, it enables blood cells to transport oxygen throughout your body.
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