What Vitamin Am I Lacking If Im Losing Hair
A number of symptoms, such as hair loss, can occur when your body lacks the recommended amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to alopecia, also known as spot baldness, and a number of other health conditions . These include bone softening, low bone density, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and cancer.
Getting More Iron In Your Diet
Increasing your iron stores to solve your problem with iron and hair loss sounds easy enough in principle, but for many of us it can be a time-consuming, frustrating and uncomfortable process. The problem is a significant one the World Health Organization calls iron deficiency the biggest nutritional deficiency in the world.
In my own case, my hair loss became most pronounced when my ferritin level fell to a level of 23 ug/dL. The normal range for a womens iron stores is 120 to 160 ug/L, though in Canada where I was tested anything from 13 375 ug/L is considered normal. My doctor suggests that Id be healthiest at a level of 110.
It can take a while to raise your levels though, so be prepared for a wait. I was pretty aggressive in modifying my diet and taking supplements, but still it took me 5 months to raise my iron stores to 44 ug/L.
Who Is At Risk For Iron Deficiency
Anyone can have iron deficiency but women and adolescent girls of childbearing age are especially at risk. Women with a history of anemia, women and adolescents with heavy blood loss during menstruation, or women who are pregnant, may be especially prone to iron deficiency. According to the NIH, about 1 in 5 women of childbearing age and about 50% of all pregnant women develop iron deficiency anemia.
For pregnant women, prenatal medical care usually includes screening for iron deficiency. If your iron levels are low during pregnancy, your obstetrician may prescribe iron dietary supplements or recommend eating more foods with iron.
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Does Iron Deficiency Cause Hair Loss
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Are you getting enough oysters, liver, lentils, or white beans in your diet? These foods are rich sources of iron, a nutrient your body relies on to function.
Iron is a mineral that takes on many roles in your well-being. Perhaps its most important responsibility is the production of hemoglobin in the red blood cells.
These cells carry oxygen through blood produced from the lungs. The oxygen is then taken to all parts of the body the hair follicles included.
Without a sufficient amount of iron, your body may develop iron deficiency, which can worsen to become iron deficiency anemia. While this condition affects several parts of the body, it may also lead to hair loss.
We’ll be examining the causes of iron deficiency, how insufficient iron affects hair loss, and the various ways to treat this condition.
Going Vegan & Healthy Hair
Eat Nutrient Rich FoodsWhen you are on a vegan diet you need to be careful because you can lose vital nutrients. One way to solve this is to eat foods that are high in nutrients that you may be lacking. Items like carrots which are a great source of vitamin C, and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E. Other foods like bok choy, spinach, and other leafy greens can provide you with the iron your body needs. By eating nutritious foods you give your body the essentials it needs and you avoid your body from stopping hair growth.
Watch Your Protein IntakeWhen you eliminate meat and animal byproducts from your diet, the result can be a lack of protein. There are a number of foods you can eat to give your body the protein it needs like quinoa, lentils, black beans and Chai seeds. These protein rich foods also are high in other important vitamins that can improve your bodys over all health and help promote hair growth.
Take SupplementsFor many vegans just monitoring your diet isnt always enough to ensure you are getting the right amount of nutrients your body needs. Taking a multi-vitamin and supplements can help a lot to make up for any deficiencies you may have. If you have thyroid problems, you may also consider taking iodine supplements to avoid hair loss that can be cause by your soy intake.
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Iron Rich Foods For Hair Growth
As mentioned earlier, iron is very important in ensuring proper functioning of hair follicles and as such preventing hair loss. Iron deficiency interferes with how well crucial nutrients reach the hair follicles. Since everyone desires healthy hair and more especially, hair that does not fall out, there is need to feed on foods that are good sources of iron. These foods include
- Red meat
The vegetarians might wonder what then they are required to feed on since the above foods are not favorable for them. Good news is, the above foods are not the only sources of iron. They could include foods such as
That way, they will still be in a position to obtain sufficient iron.
Treating Hair Loss From Iron Deficiency Anemia
If you’re experiencing hair loss and suspect that iron deficiency may be to blame, the first course of action should be to meet with your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and possible treatment options.
Iron deficiency anemia may be diagnosed using blood tests like a complete blood count, ferritin measure, peripheral smear and iron test. Questions on your risk factors may be asked to determine the likelihood of your suspicions. Your healthcare provider may also ask that a physical exam be carried out.
Treatment could require iron supplements called iron pills or oral iron. You may need to take these supplements several times a day to increase your body’s supply of the mineral. It will take around three to six months to replenish your iron stores.
This option is however only suitable for people with iron deficiency anemia. Excess iron can damage organs otherwise.
Where this measure fails to increase your iron levels, you may receive intravenous iron, red blood cell transfusions or an upper endoscopy or colonoscopy to stop the bleeding, if that is cause of your iron deficiency.
Lifestyle changes like increasing your daily intake of foods high in iron and vitamin C can help to meet your daily recommended iron levels.
Men should consume 16.3-18.2 mg of iron per day. Women older than 19 are expected to have 12.6-13.5mg of iron from their foods on a daily basis. From supplements, men are expected to take 19.3-20.5 mg/day
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Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency
If you start to run low on iron, there’s a high chance your deficiency will go unnoticed. This is because symptoms are not immediately noticeable. Your body simply reaches into iron reserves in the muscles, spleen, liver, and bone marrow for your needs.
You will typically begin to show symptoms of iron deficiency after the condition has regressed into iron deficiency anemia.
In such instances, the following symptoms may be observed:
Weakness: because your body has less hemoglobin to supply oxygen to cells and tissues, these structures have reduced energy to carry out their duties.
Also, your heart will be required to work harder in order to supply enough oxygen-rich blood around your body. This can disrupt your ability to carry out everyday tasks.
Problems with concentration and memory: the brain is largely dependent on oxygen to function. A shortage to its supply due to iron deficiency can lead to cognitive challenges. These include poor memory and concentration. Iron deficiency has also been linked to neurological conditions like dementia.
Compromised immunity: your bodys iron stores are an important first line of defense against harmful outsiders. When you’re low on this nutrient, immunity is suppressed, leaving you open to infections.
Other symptoms of iron deficiency include pale skin, which can occur when hemoglobin levels in the blood drop. Low iron intake may also cause shortness of breath, and a quickened heart rate.
Treating Iron Deficiency Anemia
Treatments for iron deficiency anemia include:
- Iron supplements: A doctor may recommend a person takes iron supplements daily to help their body restore iron over time. A person should always talk to their doctor before taking iron supplements because they can cause severe side effects. A person may have to take iron supplements for 3 to 6 months before their iron stores reach normal levels.
- Iron injections: A doctor may recommend iron injections to raise iron levels faster. People who are severely anemic may also require intravenous iron or iron injections. People who cannot absorb iron properly, such as those with Crohnâs disease, may also benefit from injections.
- Dietary changes: Consuming more dietary iron can also help increase levels. Iron-rich foods include red meat, chicken, fish, leafy green vegetables, and legumes. Food manufacturers may also add iron to certain foods, such as cereal.
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Iron Deficiency Anaemia And Hair Loss
Iron deficiency anaemia is a condition in which your body lacks iron to make enough red blood cells. These are the cells that carry oxygen around your body to your tissues, allowing them to function.
How does a lack of red blood cells affect your hair? When your body is short of oxygen, it channels its available supply to your vital organs to keep them alive, rather than to your hair follicles. Without oxygen, your hair follicles cease to function properly, and your hair may fall out. In fact, a large proportion of people who come into our Trichological clinics for hair-loss treatment have some degree of anaemia.
How Can I Fix My Iron Deficiency And Hair Loss Symptoms
1) Visit your GP and ask for a blood test, with a specific focus on the following elements:
Serum iron TIBC Transferrin saturation Ferretin
If the results do confirm a lack of iron in your system, then both you and your doctor can begin to discuss remedies.
2) Increase your intake of vitamin C higher levels help the body to absorb iron more effectively.
3) In nearly all cases, a change in diet is the first port of call. After discussing the issue with your doctor, try to incorporate foods that are rich in iron into your daily life, these include:
Red meats. Organ meats including liver and kidney. Various nuts including almonds and walnuts. Fruits and vegetables such as lentils, spinach, prunes and beetroot.
4) If a change in diet fails to have the desired effect, it is likely that your doctor will recommend the use of iron supplements. These supplements specifically those that contain Biotin, zinc or marine extracts are known to be very helpful to patients who are dealing with the symptoms often associated with anaemia.
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Q: Can Iron Deficiency Cause Hair Loss
A.Iron is really important for hair growth and hair health. When we see patients who are experiencing hair loss, we often perform labs to screen for iron deficiency. Its not uncommon for us to find iron to be low in women.
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Iron is especially for women of child-bearing age who have monthly periods and who may or may not get a lot of iron in their diet.
Besides menstruation, there are other factors that can cause women to be low in iron. Heavy exercise, such as running or high impact aerobic exercise, can cause small tears in your joints or the lining of your stomach and this can lead to some anemia or loss of iron. Additionally, chronic illnesses can cause your body to hold on to iron.
Many women avoid red meat, which is our best source of iron. If you are a meat eater, the best way to address this problem is to get two 4-ounce portions of red meat per week. This small amount should be enough to maintain healthy levels of iron.
If youre a vegetarian or vegan, you can eat beans, spinach, and other dark leafy green vegetables as sources of iron however, plant-derived iron is not absorbed as completely.
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!
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Signs You May Have An Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States, and women are among those at greatest risk. Iron is critical for producing hemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout your body. So without it, everything suffers — and can lead to anemia. Check out these symptoms of iron deficiency and, if you have them, see your doc and request a ferritin test, which measures your body’s iron stores.
The most common symptom of iron deficiency, it’s also possibly the most difficult one to detect. “Women are so used to having frenetic lives and feeling tired,” says Nancy Berliner, M.D., deputy editor of Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology. “They often just dismiss being tired as part of life.” However, iron deficiency causes less oxygen to reach your tissues, so your body is deprived of the energy it needs. If your “normal” fatigue is coupled with you feeling, weak, irritable or unable to focus, iron might have something to do with it. After all, there’s a reason people whose iron deficiency progresses into anemia are often said to have “tired blood.”
You get short of breath easily. No matter how deeply you breathe, if your oxygen levels are low, you’ll feel out of air, explains Berliner. If you notice yourself getting out of breath doing things that you’d normally handle just fine — be it climbing a flight or stairs or knocking out your usual workout — iron deficiency could be to blame.