Hair loss is a problem that affects many people. While hair loss can be caused by genetics, stress, diet and lifestyle factors, high iron levels may also be a possible cause of hair fall.
High levels of iron can occur from medical conditions, certain medications or from taking too much iron either as medication or as an over-the-counter supplement. It’s important to understand the possible causes of hair loss in order to find the most appropriate treatment for your individual condition.
This guide will explain how high iron can cause hair loss, what treatments are available and how to prevent hair fall due to excessive iron levels.
What is Iron?
Iron is an important mineral that is part of hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to the cells of the body. It is also essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and providing energy.
In this article, we’ll discuss the role of iron in hair health and if having too much iron can cause hair loss.
Role of Iron in the Body
Iron is a mineral found in living organisms, including humans. It has several important roles in the body and is primarily responsible for forming hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body. Iron also helps ensure our muscles and brain work correctly and helps with energy metabolism and forming connective tissue.
The body gets iron by eating meat, eggs, grains, nuts and certain vegetables. Too much or too little iron can be dangerous. Hyperferritinemia (high levels of ferritin) or hemochromatosis (iron overload) can present with symptoms such as unusual fatigue, abdominal pain, joint pain, infertility in men or hair loss. Low levels of iron lead to anemia – a condition where there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body efficiently – which causes fatigue, weakness and more serious symptoms if left untreated.
Sources of Iron
Iron is an essential mineral that plays a role in transporting oxygen throughout the body via red blood cells. Iron absorption and use are regulated by the amount of iron stored in the body, as well as by dietary intake of iron and other minerals and substances.
Foods high in iron can provide our bodies with the required levels of this mineral. Sources of iron vary greatly, from plant-based foods to animal sources, with many forms found naturally occurring in a variety of foods. Plant sources include lentils, beans, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, quinoa and tempeh. Animal foods such as chicken liver, oysters, beef and pork are also good sources of iron. Fortified baked goods such as cereals can provide additional iron to our diet too.
Keep in mind that there is more than one type of iron; heme (animal source) and nonheme (plant source). Heme iron is more easily absorbed than nonheme iron and therefore can help prevent anemia due to dietary deficiency. Increasing your intake of vitamin C may assist with absorption as it helps convert nonheme iron to its more absorbable form so it can be used by the body more effectively.
Iron Deficiency and Hair Loss
Iron deficiency can be a contributing factor to hair loss. Iron is a mineral that is essential for the body to produce hemoglobin, which is a protein that helps to carry oxygen to the cells throughout your body. When you don’t get enough of this mineral, it can result in your body not getting enough oxygen. This lack of oxygen can cause the cells in your scalp to die, leading to hair loss.
Let’s look more closely at how iron deficiency can lead to hair loss:
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency, a common nutritional disorder, is the lack of an essential mineral in the body. It is one of the leading causes of hair loss. When a person has an iron deficiency, their body does not have enough hemoglobin and myoglobin which are proteins that help with the utilization of iron in the body. The lack of these proteins leads to decreased oxygenation from red blood cells to scalp and hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.
Other symptoms of iron deficiency include:
- Pale skin
- Brittle nails
- Heart palpitations
- Dizziness or feeling light-headed
Iron deficiencies can usually be resolved quite quickly with dietary changes and supplementation if caught early on with proper diagnosis by a health professional such as a physician or dietician. Iron can also be obtained naturally through foods that are high in dietary iron such as spinach, red meat (especially organ meats like liver), quinoa and dark chocolate to name a few. If you feel like you may have an iron deficiency it is important to be properly assessed before proceeding with any corrective action or supplementation.
Causes of Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies and can lead to a range of health issues, including hair loss. Iron is an essential mineral for our bodies; it helps transport oxygen in red blood cells and plays a role in energy production and immune system functioning. Without enough iron, our bodies can’t produce hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen from our lungs to every other part of our body.
There are several causes of iron deficiency which includes inadequate dietary intake, malabsorption disorders, blood loss (internal or external), surgical treatment or pregnancy. People with diets comprising vegetarian sources of iron are also more susceptible to iron deficiency as the absorption rate from these forms is much lower than that found in animal sources. Additionally, age, poor diet choices and health issues such as leaky gut syndrome can make it more difficult for the body to absorb iron properly. Signs and symptoms associated with ongoing low levels of iron include fatigue, frequent infections and brittle nails; severe cases can result in hair loss as well.
Discussing your individual diet with a healthcare professional will help determine if you should take a supplement like ferrous sulfate or increase your consumption of dietary sources such as beef liver, beans, spinach and nuts/seeds. With appropriate medical care and adequate intake it’s possible to reverse hair loss caused by low levels of this mineral – but early intervention is key!
How Iron Deficiency Can Lead to Hair Loss
Iron is an essential mineral for human health and is required for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen within the red blood cells. Iron also plays a major role in energy metabolism and cell growth and development.
When your body does not get enough iron, it may cause a condition known as iron deficiency, or anemia. This can lead to hair loss as a symptom of this condition since our hair follicles need adequate nourishment from oxygen-rich blood to produce healthy strands of hair.
Iron deficiency can be caused by any combination of several factors such as poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal disorders or excessive blood loss associated with heavy menstrual cycles. Other types of anemia may also lead to hair loss due to lack of nutrients needed by the scalp and hair follicles. Regardless of the cause, untreated iron deficiency can have serious consequences including:
- Cognitive impairment
- Hair loss
If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with iron deficiency or have noticed thinning or excessive shedding of your hair then it is important to consult with your doctor right away for proper diagnosis and treatment. A thorough medical history will be taken along with blood tests to detect levels of hemoglobin, iron, vitamin B12 and folate which may help identify underlying causes for your symptoms including hair loss associated with iron deficiency anemia.
High Iron Levels and Hair Loss
High iron levels in blood can result in hair loss and even alopecia. Iron is a very important mineral for a healthy body, however too much of it can be damaging, leading to hair loss. It is important to understand the connection between iron levels and hair loss in order to take the necessary steps to prevent hair loss.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the relationship between high iron levels and hair loss:
Symptoms of High Iron Levels
High iron levels can be symptomatic of an underlying medical condition, such as hemochromatosis, and should always be checked by a medical professional. In addition to hair loss, other common symptoms of iron overload include:
- Skin discoloration (bronzing of the skin due to too much iron)
- Weight Loss
- Abdominal Pain
- Joint Pain
- Impaired Cognitive Functioning
- Diabetes (in extreme cases)
- Low Thyroid Functioning
- Intolerance To Alcohol (in extreme cases)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in combination with hair loss, it is essential that you seek medical advice and have your iron levels tested. Your medical provider may also recommend other tests such as liver and thyroid function tests, in order to rule out any other potential causes for your symptoms.
Causes of High Iron Levels
High iron levels, also known as Iron overload or hemochromatosis, occur when the body absorbs and stores too much iron. This excess can damage organs, including the liver and heart, as well as cause fatigue and joint pain. In some cases, high iron levels can be linked to hair loss.
The most common cause of excessive iron in the body is hereditary hemochromatosis (HH), which is an inherited disorder that causes more iron to be absorbed from food than normal. Other causes include:
- Multiple blood transfusions
- Genetic defects that cause increased absorption of dietary iron
- Taking certain medications such as oral contraceptives and antacids with added elements like aluminum hydroxide or calcium carbonate.
- Liver disease can also increase the amount of heme-bound iron in the blood due to disturbed metabolism.
Since high iron levels are linked to many health concerns, it is important for individuals who suspect that they have an Iron overload to see a doctor for advice on what steps need to be taken for diagnosis and effective treatment.
How High Iron Levels Can Lead to Hair Loss
High iron levels can lead to hair loss by decreasing the amount of an enzyme called ferritin in your body. Ferritin is important for keeping the hair follicles healthy and promoting natural hair growth. By decreasing the levels of ferritin, high iron levels can cause excessive shedding of the hair follicles and promote accelerated thinning of the hair.
Hair loss due to high iron levels is a condition known as telogen effluvium, which is characterized by excessive shedding of approximately 50–100 strands per day. Other signs may include:
- Scalp tenderness and itching
- Abnormal dryness or greasiness of scalp and dandruff
- Lumps or nodules on scalp/hairline
- Redness or inflammation on scalp
- Flakiness/scaling around bumps on scalp
- Receding hairlines
In order to prevent any further hair loss due to high iron levels, it is important to understand what causes them in the first place and make some dietary changes accordingly. Eating foods that are rich in Vitamin C such as oranges, kiwis, strawberries and spinach will help you absorb more iron from your diet without putting too much strain on your digestive system. Additionally, regular exercise can also help you keep your blood flow regulated better so that excess amounts of iron do not accumulate in the system. Lastly, it is important to keep a close eye on any cosmetic products that contain heavy metals such as panthenol or glycerin; they have been shown to have an increased risk with high-iron-content products when used in combination with other treatments such as perms or coloring agents.
Treating high iron levels can help reduce hair loss caused by iron overload. To begin, you should implement lifestyle changes, such as reducing alcohol consumption and avoiding iron supplements. To help reduce iron levels in the body, you may also be recommended to take chelating agents or even undergo an iron-removal procedure. All of these treatments are generally safe and provide effective results.
Let’s explore these treatments in more detail:
Treating Iron Deficiency
Treating Iron Deficiency to Prevent Hair Loss – Iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss. If you’re low in iron, your doctor may recommend a dietary supplement. Eating a healthy diet or taking an iron supplement can help correct the problem and help slow or reverse hair loss due to low iron for some people. Your doctor may also treat anemia associated with an iron deficiency by prescribing additional supplements such as vitamin B12 and folate. Additionally, they may recommend increasing your intake of foods that are rich in these vitamins and minerals:
- Red meat
- Dried fruit
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Beans and peas
- Whole grains
If you’ve been diagnosed with an iron deficiency, it’s important to remember that any reversible cause of hair loss must be treated first before treating the hair loss itself. Even if you are eating a balanced diet that provides adequate levels of nutrients, supplementation may still be necessary depending on the severity of the deficiency. Your physician or healthcare provider can best advise you on which treatments will be most effective for you.
Treating High Iron Levels
Treating high iron levels is best done under the guidance of a qualified healthcare provider. It often involves regular blood tests and following a prescribed regimen of dietary modifications and/or medications to reduce excess levels of iron in the blood.
Dietary modifications include avoiding or significantly reducing your intake of foods high in iron, such as red meat, organ meats, seafood, poultry, fortified breakfast cereals, breads and pastas. Medical treatments may include taking an oral medication known as deferoxamine (Desferal) which helps to clear excess amounts of iron from the body or undergoing a procedure called phlebotomy in which small portions of blood are removed from the body at regular intervals over time. In some cases, a liver biopsy may be ordered to evaluate the status of your liver health.
Following your physician’s treatment plan is important since if left untreated, very high levels of iron can lead to serious medical complications such as organ damage and even death. In addition to treatment for hematological imbalance, it will also be important for your healthcare team to recognize any potential underlying causes that may be contributing to your elevated iron levels. Treatment will vary depending on those underlying causes thus emphasizing the importance of working closely with your healthcare provider throughout the process.
The evidence on whether high doses of iron can lead to hair loss is still inconclusive. There are some studies suggesting a connection between high iron levels and hair loss, but the findings have not been consistent. As with any medical issue, it’s best to check with your doctor before making any major changes or assumptions about your health.
Your doctor may want to order blood tests and other evaluations to accurately measure the cause of your hair loss. If your doctor determines that elevated iron levels may be causing your hair loss, there are several steps you can take to reduce them, such as:
- Limiting red meat consumption
- Eliminating alcohol or taking vitamin B supplements
- Exercising regularly
- Decreasing stress levels
- Ensuring adequate hydration
- Taking a multivitamin daily with healthful levels of essential vitamins and minerals
Making lifestyle changes and strictly adhering to dietary recommendations given by your healthcare provider can help reduce symptoms associated with high iron levels and assist in restoring healthy hair growth.