Iron deficiency symptoms: The sign in your hair that could mean you’re lacking iron

Iron deficiency symptoms: The sign in your hair that could mean you’re lacking iron

Severe iron deficiency could result in anaemia, a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissues and if lacking in this vital vitamin, iron deficiency anaemia may ensue. This could leave a person feeling very tired and experience shortness of breath. The body often signals it’s lacking in essential nutrients by giving certain clues and noticing this sign in your hair could mean you need to up your iron.


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Iron deficiency anaemia occurs when the body doesn’t have enough iron to produce haemoglobin.

Haemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that gives blood its red colour and enables the red blood cells to do their job of carrying oxygenated blood throughout the body.

With the world gripped by the deadly coronavirus, finding natural ways to ensure the body is at tip top health is vital.

With shortness of breath being one of the main symptoms of the coronavirus and an iron deficiency symptoms also being shortness of breath, ensuring our iron levels are topped up is important.

Equally important is being aware when the body is lacking in certain nutrients and vitamins and noticing hair loss could mean an iron deficiency.

Hair loss is extremely common all around the world. In fact, up to 50 percent of adults report hair loss by the time they reach 50 years of age with men being the most susceptible to hair loss.

Having a diet rich in iron or taking iron supplements could help combat this problem.

Iron is a mineral involved in DNA synthesis, including that of the DNA present in hair follicles.

Too little iron can cause hair to stop growing or even fall out completely.

Meat, fish, eggs, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains are all excellent sources of iron.

Many supplements claim to prevent hair loss. Many of them contain a combination of the nutrients above, in addition to several others.

These supplements appear to boost hair growth and reduce hair loss in people with documented deficiencies in the aforementioned nutrients.

However, there is very limited research on the benefits of such supplements in the absence of a deficiency.


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What the studies say

In a study with the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, an association with alopecia and iron deficiencies in women was investigated.

The study involved a group of 11 subjects and looked at data of haemoglobin levels of women without hair loss and those in the alopecia group.

The study concluded the alopecia group could be lacking in essential iron. 

In another study the diagnosis of iron deficiency and its potential relationship to hair loss was looked at.

The study noted: “Iron deficiency is the world’s most common nutritional deficiency and is associated with developmental delay, impaired behaviour, diminished intellectual performance, and decreased resistance to infection. Several studies have examined the relationship between iron deficiency and hair loss and some suggest iron deficiency may be related alopecia.

“Although this practice is not evidence based per se, we believe that treatment for hair loss is enhanced when iron deficiency, with or without anaemia, is treated.” 

Causes of iron deficiency include:

Blood loss – Blood contains iron within red blood cells so if a person loses blood, they may lose some iron.

A lack of iron in the diet – The body regularly gets iron from the foods consumed. If a person consumes too little iron, over time their body can come iron deficient.

An inability to absorb iron – Iron from food is absorbed into the bloodstream in the small intestine. Having an intestinal disorder such as celiac disease could lead to iron deficiency anaemia.

Pregnancy – Without iron supplementation, iron deficiency anaemia occurs in many pregnant women because their iron stores need to serve their own increased blood volume as well as be a source of haemoglobin for the growing faetus.

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