Five Common Causes of Hair Loss in Women, Part 4: Iron-Deficiency
Posted February 12, 2013 by Paulina
Nutrient deficiencies are a common cause of hair loss and poor hair growth (thin, weak, brittle, slow-growing), with iron-deficiency being the most common in women of child-bearing age.
If your body doesn’t have adequate iron, it’s unable to produce sufficient oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in your red blood cells. This is known as iron-deficiency anemia, and can occur with:
• insufficient dietary intake of iron
• decreased absorption of iron from intestinal tract due to gut inflammation (e.g., irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colitis, celiac/gluten sensitivity)
• increased loss due to bleeding (chronic loss from regular heavy menstruation, undetected gastrointestinal bleeding, or acute loss such as from giving birth, surgery, or trauma)
Without adequate oxygen, the hair follicles (along with all the other cells in your body) are unable to function optimally. This results in slower hair growth that is progressively thinner and weaker, and can lead to eventual hair loss.
There are two types of iron in the diet, heme and non-heme. Heme-iron is from animal sources and is easily absorbed, whereas non-heme iron is obtained from green leafy vegetables, nuts, and fruits, and is more difficult to absorb. Taking vitamin C alongside non-heme iron sources (or your iron supplement), has been found to greatly enhance absorption. A test for ferritin can be done to determine if your iron stores are low and whether supplementation is indicated.
Once the iron deficiency has been corrected (which can take several months), hair regrowth will typically resume. Using a hair-healthy dietary supplement such as Hair Essentials* can also help to revitalize your hair follicles and speed regrowth. Learn more here:
*Note: Hair Essentials™ does not contain iron and is not intended to replace iron supplementation.