by Mary Wolff
We all know that our hair is effected by our overall health. When it comes to the effects of iron deficiency on hair, this statement has never been more valid. Doctors have been researching the link between lowered levels of iron and hair loss for years, and the findings might surprise you. Let’s take a closer look at effects of iron deficiency on hair.
What is iron deficiency?
Iron is an important part of the function of the human body. When you consume foods rich in iron, the body breaks it down into hemoglobin which is needed to carry oxygenated blood cells throughout the body. Iron deficiency is when a person has a hard time carrying out this process or absorbing the iron in the first place. The symptoms of this condition range from fatigue to chest pain. It’s never recommended to try to self-diagnose this condition. If you suspect you have it, your first line of defense is to talk to your doctor.
How does it affect hair?
When it comes to the effects of iron deficiency on hair, the most common concern is hair loss. The lack of iron absorption for people dealing with an iron deficiency makes it harder for healthy cell turnover needed to generate new growth. It also makes it harder for the follicle to be retained meaning hair is prone to falling out. An iron deficiency can also affect hair by making it brittle and prone to breakage which doesn’t help if you are already struggling with hair loss. Iron issues are common problem for many women, especially as women age and the body adjusts to changing hormone levels. This makes it even more important to see a doctor when you see signs of low iron playing a role in your hair. “If you have a healthy woman losing hair it is most likely due to iron deficiency,” says dermatologist Deepali Bhardwaj, M.D., which further solidifies the impact of this nutritional element.
Are there ways to combat hair loss from low iron levels?
If your doctor diagnoses you with an iron deficiency, there are a few ways to combat the hair thinning or hair loss factor. You can add iron supplements into your diet, eat more sources of iron such as red meat, and make sure you maintain proper nutrition. For example, the body needs adequate levels of vitamin C to help with the absorption of iron so a well-balanced diet is key. Hair can only regain strength and thickness when the body is getting enough essential nutrients such as the aforementioned iron and vitamin C.