Iron Deficiency And Hair Loss

If a person's body doesn't have enough iron or isn't able to correctly use iron, they will suffer from iron deficiency anemia. Hair loss is not a very common sign of iron deficiency anemia, and the more well-known ones of shortness of breath, exhaustion, and chest discomfort. Hair loss in adults is most often caused by genetics, although other factors may also play a role. Iron deficiency, which may lead to hair thinning and loss in both men and women, is a common cause of hair loss in both genders [1]. Some persons with hair loss and low iron levels are a mystery to doctors. While this is still a mystery, researchers know that iron is required for the enzyme ribonucleotide reductase to function correctly, which aids in cell proliferation. When iron supplies are low, some evidence suggests that hair follicle cells may be more vulnerable to iron depletion and hence less able to produce new cells as efficiently [1]. Discover how hair loss and iron deficiency anemia may be linked together and how you can cure them both. This article will look at the relationship between iron and hair and several ways to avoid it and deal with it.

Meet the expert

Dr. Reena Jogi is a dermatologist who specializes in PRP Hair Restoration in Houston, Texas.


Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Hemoglobin, a substance necessary to the body's ability to function, is made possible by iron, a mineral that plays an integral part in iron metabolism.

Among the warning signs of iron deficiency anemia are the following:

  • Brittle nails
  • Severe exhaustion or a lack of vitality
  • Pounding heart
  • Lack of pigmentation
  • The feeling of being out of breath
  • Bad breath

Hair loss is not a common sign of iron deficiency anemia, although it may happen to specific individuals [2].

Diagnosing An Iron Deficiency

Consult a healthcare provider if you believe your hair loss is due to an iron deficiency before taking matters into your own hands. The temptation to self-diagnose and take an iron supplement may seem alluring, but the risks outweigh the benefits.

A doctor's appointment typically includes a discussion of your medical history and current symptoms. Iron levels in the body are easily measured through a blood test that is performed following a physical examination.

Your healthcare provider may also test your hemoglobin and hematocrit levels. It is widely accepted that these and iron tests are the most efficient and cost-effective means of diagnosing iron deficiency [1].

The exact cause of your iron deficiency may be determined by further testing if it has been established that you are suffering from hair loss. Fortunately, iron deficiency anemia is usually treatable [1].

Anemia Caused By Iron Deficiency And Hair Loss

Women's hair loss is the focus of most research on iron deficiency anemia and hair loss. Women's most prevalent hair loss is female pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia. The hairline on the forehead may also thin or recede in those with this pattern of hair loss [3].

According to a recent study, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that iron deficiency anemia causes hair loss in both men and women. A lack of iron has been linked to hair loss in certain studies, although there is no evidence that this is the root reason.

According to a study, iron deficiency may be linked to hair loss that does not scar the follicles. This indicates that the bristles haven't been significantly harmed and may be capable of regrowing hair [2].

How does Iron Deficiency Causes Hair Loss?

Male pattern baldness isn't the only cause of hair loss. Food deficiency can also be a factor in this. You can't produce hemoglobin in your blood if you don't have enough iron in your system. Cells in your body, including those that stimulate hair growth, are supplied with oxygen by hemoglobin.

Blood oxygen transport is made possible by hemoglobin, a metalloprotein of which iron is a critical component. The cells that promote the development of your nails and hair are difficult to get oxygen to when your iron levels are low.

This may lead to hair thinning and shedding. As with hormonal hair loss, iron deficiency causes hair loss in the center of the head, the crown, and the hairline, much as hormone-induced hair loss [4].

With iron deficiency, you'll notice a few extra hairs on your brush or pillow or in the catch of the shower after washing your hair if you're suffering from hair loss.

When your hair is damp and in a brightly lighted place, you could see more of your scalp if you have severe iron deficiency hair loss.

It's better not to worry about iron deficiency straight away if you find that your hair is beginning to fall out. Iron deficiency is the cause of just a tiny fraction of female hair loss, which is almost exclusively due to hormonal factors [5].

It's recommended to consult with your doctor if you're concerned that an iron shortage causes your hair loss. Using a blood test, they'll be able to diagnose you with iron deficiency.


Hair loss with iron deficiency may need different treatments for certain people. There are a variety of therapies that doctors might offer to those who are suffering hair loss, including:

  • As a topical solution, minoxidil is available. This medicine, according to researchers, keeps hair in the growing phase for a more extended period.
  • Finasteride (Proscar) is an example of a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor medication. Enzymes that these medications elevate aid in hair development.
  • If other treatments fail, a person's hair may be restored via surgical methods such as hair transplantation [6].

Doctors are always looking for novel ways to regrow hair. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as a therapeutic is one example. Platelets are extracted from a blood sample using specialized equipment and then injected into regions of the scalp where hair loss occurs.

Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any other symptoms indicating low iron levels in your body.

A ferritin blood test can be used to determine how much iron you have in your system. An essential protein within your body, ferritin, is where iron is stored. If your ferritin level is low, your blood test will show that you are anemic.

Researchers think platelets contain many growth factors that may aid in the stimulation of new hair growth. After six months of PRP injections, one research indicated that the density and thickness of women's hair had improved. To verify PRP's efficacy, additional research is needed [6].

How To Prevent Iron Deficiency?

Make sure to monitor your iron intake if you suspect iron deficiency anemia as the cause of hair loss.

Consume foods high in iron, such as meat, poultry, and fish, as part of a well-rounded diet. Legumes and leafy greens like kale, broccoli, and collards, as well as other plant-based iron sources, are excellent choices for vegetarians and vegans. Cereal, bread, and pasta are all examples of iron-enriched foods that can be found on grocery store shelves [7].

There are many foods high in vitamin C, such as grapefruit and oranges, which are known to aid in the absorption of iron, and potatoes high in vitamin C. Iron supplements may be necessary for hair regrowth and prevent further hair loss in cases of severe anemia.

The Food and Nutrition Board's Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is a handy resource for determining how much food you should eat each day to stay healthy. Nutritional requirements for healthy individuals are defined by the RDA, which is based on an individual's average daily intake [7].


If you have iron-deficiency anemia and are experiencing hair loss, you may consider taking iron supplements. However, the research does not support this claim [7].

There are, however, a plethora of additional options for regrowing hair. Consult your physician about treatment options if you suffer from hair loss.

A person with low iron storage is likely to feel better if they increase their iron intake [8].


Doctors are currently studying hair loss and iron deficiency anemia. This is because various reasons, including hereditary, may cause hair loss.

On the other hand, doctors are aware that anemia may play a part in hair loss since many patients losing their hair have lower iron reserves than those who aren't.

Hair growth and iron deficiency anemia symptoms should improve if a person's iron levels are increased.

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