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Diet, Low Iron and your Hair

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Diet is often linked to hairloss or hair thining and the following information on iron and its link to hair loss is very interesting. Remember any particular cause of hair-loss can only be confirmed or eliminated by through testing by professionals including your doctor and or a trichologist.

Low iron levels are arguably the most common cause of hair loss in women. Over 70% of women who present with a slow thinning-out of hair from all over the scalp are found to be iron deficient and usually report a long-term history of their hair gradually decreasing in overall thickness. However, actual hair loss is not always obvious to the sufferer. Many women don't realise what requirements for iron their bodies have over a lifetime. Rapid growth into, and the activity of adolescence, an average 40 years of monthly 'periods', childbirth, family and career pressures all contribute to keeping iron stores low. If the woman is then vegetarian or consumes little red meat and tends to experience heavy periods, then she's at high risk to be iron deficient or even anemic.

Other symptoms of iron deficiency are tiredness, breathless on exertion, pale complexion, dry hair and even heart palpitations. Naturopathic indications include a bright red 'meaty' tongue, nails which are flat, square-edged, or thin with an upward 'spoon-like' curl. Iridologists would also note iris changes.

A blood test for Ferritin levels (iron studies) is the specific test whether or not hair loss is due to iron deficiency. And whilst the normal Ferritin reference range is between 15-165*, a woman's Ferritin level needs to be greater than 40 ug/l not to be causing hair loss.

The treatment for iron deficiency usually means increasing the consumption of lean red meat. The iron in animal protein is more readily absorbed than iron in vegetables or grains. Iron supplements taken with vitamin C help to increase absorption by reducing ferric to ferrous iron, which is used more efficiently. Zinc or vitamin E taken excessively can interfere with iron absorption.

If iron deficiency hair loss is suspected, consult a qualified Trichologist or your family doctor.

A certified trichologist is a non-medical specialist of hair loss and scalp problems.

Reproduced with the kind permission of Tony Pearce, RN, RPN.
Consulting Trichologist,

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