Could an Iron Deficiency be the cause of your Hair Loss?
The Iron in our diet plays an important role in the body, including in the health of our hair. Iron is used in the production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen around your body. Low iron levels can lead to anaemia, which is when your red bloods cells and haemoglobin levels drop below your body's needs.
Anaemia can leave you short of breath from simple day to day tasks like climbing a flight of stairs. Anaemia sufferers will also feel tired sooner than normal. Healthy hair growth will also suffer due to Anaemia.
According to NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), 14% of non-pregnant women in the UK suffer from Anaemia and this rises to 23% in pregnant women. This is due to pregnant women needed a greater daily source of Iron to maintain the necessary bodily functions.
Women are at a greater risk of having an iron deficiency due to losing blood regularly with periods. Because of this, a greater iron source is needed. Anyone with conditions that affect the body's ability to absorb nutrients, such as Crohn's disease is also at risk. And lastly anyone following a strict diet, such as vegetarians and vegans, are also at a greater risk of suffering from an iron deficiency.
If you think that you might have an iron deficiency, it is imperative you consult with your GP immediately so they can conduct a blood test. These blood test will be able to tell your ferritin (iron) levels and your haemoglobin count. If you are iron deficient your GP will be able to prescribe high strength Iron supplements. Over the course of a few months your Iron levels will increase to a healthy level.
Outside of taking Iron supplements, making changes in your diet can help to raise your iron levels. The following foods are great sources of iron:
- Red Meat
- Liver and other organ meats
- Green leafy vegtables (Eg.spinach, kale)
Ultimately any hair loss caused by low ferritin (iron) is completely reversible. Regular hair growth will resume once iron levels are back to the necessary levels. Unsure on the best next step for you? Consult with your GP or your local Trichologist for advice on the best treatment for you.