Hair Loss & Iron Deficiency

Hair loss is quickly becoming a growing (no pun intended) and major concern for many women and men. The truth is that hair loss can cause a great deal of insecurity within the person having the experience.

The bottom line truth is that hair loss is usually caused by some form of deficiency occurring within the body. It is not a “normal” thing that comes with getting older. Most people shed 50 to 100 strands of hair daily. With about 100,000 hairs in the scalp, this amount of hair loss shouldn’t cause noticeable thinning of the scalp hair.

One of the most common causes of hair loss in pre-menopausal women is not hormones, but a nutritional deficiency, with depleted iron stores being the most important factor. However, there are many factors that can contribute to hair loss in both men and women.

Iron is a mineral that is a necessary nutrient needed in the blood. The most important function of iron in the human body is helping the production of both hemoglobin (the substance that carries oxygen within red blood cells) and myoglobin. Myoglobin is a form of hemoglobin found in muscles. Iron is also involved in the oxygenation of your body’s red blood cells.

It is understood that levels of iron play a significant role in various body functions however, it is also essential for the normal growth and maintenance of hair. If the amount of energy used up by the body is not replaced by food intake, then other non-essential stores will be used up. Unfortunately, this means the hair cells, as they are not a vital part of living.

In order to maintain an adequate balance of iron in the body, the amount excreted must be replaced by the amount ingested. When the amount of dietary iron absorbed is insufficient, a negative iron imbalance occurs, and consequently, iron stores are called upon to make up the deficit.

The fall of iron stores normally passes through several stages: lowered iron stores, iron depletion and iron deficiency anemia.

  1. Lowered iron stores: This is indicated when the iron stores are reduced but not exhausted. No clinical effects are detected.
  2. Iron depletion: Shows up in laboratory tests. Hemoglobin concentration may be well below ‘normal’ for that individual’s reference range. If the patient increases their iron intake, the hemoglobin may respond by increasing.
  3. Iron deficiency anemia: No iron is left remaining in the bone marrow. Hemoglobin production falls to the point where concentration is well below the reference range. It is important to note therefore that iron deficiency (low iron stores, i.e. low ferritin) can occur even if the patient is not clinically anemic and has normal hemoglobin levels.

Excellent natural sources of iron are

  • Red meat
  • Egg yolks
  • Dark, leafy greens (kale, spinach, collards)
  • Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
  • Iron-enriched cereals and grains
  • Mollusks (oysters, clams, scallops)
  • Turkey or chicken giblets
  • Beans, lentils, chick peas
  • Liver
  • Artichokes

Your body is better able to absorb iron if you eat these foods along with foods that provide.

Author: Denika Carothers, Natural Hair & Hair Products available on Amazon. http://www.gethealthyhairnow.com

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