Many studies have pointed to the connection between iron deficiency and hair loss. Hair loss is an unpleasant condition for both genders. The very hair loss is medically known as alopecia. The condition most commonly features with loss of hair from the scalp but even the hair from other body parts such as eyebrows;eyelashes etc may be equally affected. It is estimated that a person normally loses around 50 to 100 strands of hair per day. Everything above this number eventually leads to noticeable loss of hair and the areas which are normally covered with hair become hairless.
A variety of factors are associated with hair loss in women. Some of them are dandruff, stress, emotional disorders, contraceptive pills, childbirth, menopause etc. The condition also occurs due to certain illnesses such as anemia, hypothyroidism, and lupus and in some cases cancer. However, iron deficiency is definitely considered one of the most common causes of hair loss in pre-menopausal women.
Association between Iron Deficiency and Hair Loss
Ferritin is a protein normally found in the intestines, liver and spleen. It represents a storage form of iron. The concentration of this protein in the blood is related to the available amount of iron in the blood. The amount of ferritin reflects the long term body iron status. So, in case of iron deficiency there is obviously lack of ferritin and its level is way below 40ng/ml.
Now let's see the connection between the iron deficiency and hair loss. It is known that iron is necessary for production of hemoglobin, a protein normally found in red blood cells responsible for transfer of oxygen. Iron is also essential ingredient of myoglobin, an iron and oxygen-binding protein normally found in the muscles. Being important for proper supply of oxygen to all the body cells makes iron essential for proper growth and maintenance of hair. Insufficient amount of iron does not only cause hair loss but it also affects the quality of the hair. People suffering from iron deficiency commonly face hair thinning.
Prevention of Hair Loss Caused by Iron Deficiency
The easiest way to prevent iron deficiency and subsequent hair loss in women is to maintain desirable balance of iron. Imbalance of this element is usually caused by an inadequate diet although it may be also related to its improper absorption from the intestines. Hair loss due to iron deficiency is reversible and it can be properly treated with sufficient intake of iron. This is successfully achieved by consuming foods rich in iron such as red meat, dried fruit, broccoli, raisins, shellfish, egg yolk etc. Furthermore, a person suffering from hair loss due to iron deficiency should stay away from tea during meals since tea contains tannin, a substance that may affect iron absorption. In more severe cases of iron deficiency patients are given iron supplement pills and the amino acid l-lysine.