Iron plays a vital role in many essential bodily processes. Without iron, the body cannot create enough red blood cells.
Red blood cells transport oxygen around the body. When there are fewer red blood cells available, the body has difficulty transporting oxygen to the various organs and tissues. This can cause a range of problems, including anemia and hair loss.
One study found that in general, people experiencing pattern hair loss had lower iron levels than those who did not.
Other smaller studies have backed up this claim. For instance, one study found that women with hair loss had low serum ferritin levels, qualifying them for iron deficiency. This was a small study, and more extensive studies might help to explain the correlation between the two.
One explanation for why reduced iron levels lead to hair loss is that when the body is low in iron, it takes the ferritin stored in the hair follicles for use elsewhere in the body. The reduced levels of ferritin in the hair follicles could weaken the hair itself and lead to hair loss.
Iron is an essential nutrient, meaning that the body cannot produce it and must obtain it entirely through the diet. People who do not eat enough iron-rich foods may be at risk of having low ferritin levels.
Diet is just one cause of low iron levels. Other causes may include:
- heavy menstrual flow
- significant blood loss
- celiac disease or gluten intolerance
When a doctor diagnoses low ferritin levels, they will typically advise the person to adjust their diet and take an iron supplement until iron levels normalize.
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