The protein that stores iron for the body when needed is known as ferritin. Several parts of the body have ferritin, including blood, the liver, spleen, and the hair follicles.
When the ferritin count in a person is low, their iron level will equally drop. Since ferritin is present in hair follicles, some people think that boosting their iron and ferritin levels will revive healthy hair.
Nonetheless, it is essential to get an accurate diagnosis, and medication from a medical expert, especially since too much iron can cause some health complications. A ferritin test may be used by doctors to check for iron levels in the body.
Hair growth and Ferritin
Iron supplements may be prescribed to patients by doctors if they suspect the cause of hair loss is low ferritin. Iron plays a vital role in several critical bodily processes. The body would not be able to create enough red blood cells without iron.
Oxygen is transported around the body by the red blood cells. The body may have difficulty transporting enough oxygen to its organs and tissues if there are not enough red blood cells available. This can lead to a range of health complications, including hair-loss and anemia.
A recent study showed that in general, hair loss in people proved that they had lower levels of iron than people who didn’t experience hair loss.
This claim has been backed up by other smaller studies. For instance, it was discovered that women who experienced hair-loss had reduced serum ferritin levels, which qualified them for iron deficiency.
A summary of why reduced iron levels cause hair loss is that when there is a reduced level of iron in the body, it transfers the ferritin stored around the hair follicles to use elsewhere in the body. This causes hair loss as the hair itself is weaken due to the absence of enough ferritin in the hair follicles.
Iron is an essential nutrient that the body can’t produce by itself but can be gotten through our diet. People who don’t consume the required iron-rich foods put themselves at the risk of having reduced levels of ferritin.
An unbalanced diet can lead to low iron levels in the body. Other things that may cause ferritin levels to drop include:
- Serious blood loss
- Heavy menstrual flow
- Gluten intolerance or celiac disease
When a doctor diagnoses low levels of ferritin, patients are typically advised to adjust their diet and focus on supplementing their iron deficiency until the levels are normalized.
Increasing levels of ferritin
A doctor would generally prescribe iron supplements once they suspect low ferritin levels as the cause of their patients’ hair loss, after which they begin to monitor the symptoms.
If the hair loss is directly linked with reduced ferritin and iron levels, then naturally, boosting iron intake should restore the ferritin present in the hair follicles. This step typically leads to improved and healthier hair.
Nevertheless, improving ferritin levels will not boost hair growth in a healthy person who has normal levels of ferritin and iron. It is also necessary to note that there can be side effects to having too much iron, such as organ and tissue damage or iron poisoning.
Hair changes and ferritin
As well as a loss of hair, a person with reduced levels of ferritin might experience other visible hair changes. The individual might notice thinner and weaker hair.
They may also experience that their hair breaks easily. Some individuals say they feel as if their hair has stopped growing. If the reduced level of ferritin causes hair loss, replenishing iron levels may be enough to reverse ferritin levels.
Nevertheless, hair growth is slow, so growing new healthy hair might take some time. People with normal levels of iron who experience hair loss are unlikely to notice much improvement in their hair growth, even when they maximize their levels of iron.
People who fall into this category should consider discussing with their doctors about other possible causes and treatments.
Diet and ferritin deficiency
Doctors would recommend a dietary adjustment to a person who is experiencing hair loss with low levels of iron and ferritin. They’d advise that patients include foods rich in iron to their diet to help maximize their iron and ferritin levels.
Nonetheless, further tests might be needed to check for other possible signs of other health issues, such as hormonal imbalance, hypothyroidism, or nutrient deficiencies.
If improving iron intake doesn’t elevate symptoms, other options, such as treatment for hair loss or other likely underlying conditions.
Risks and precautions
Medicating on too much iron for a prolonged period at a time could cause health problems, even when a person has lower levels of iron.
Too much iron in the body can cause any of the following;
- Abdominal pain
- Low blood pressure
- Fast heart rate
- Black or bloody stools
Iron can be categorized as an oxidant. This means that it can react with any other molecules in the body.
Excess iron in the body can result in serious health issues in the liver as well as other organs. Periodically, this can lead to organ failure, and in worst cases, death.
You must run a blood test as soon as you suspect your iron level is low. This is the surest way a doctor can accurately determine whether someone has low levels of ferritin.
Immediate diagnosis is required once a person notices hair loss or changes. There is a connection between hair loss and low levels of iron.
When a doctor finds a reduced level of ferritin in a person who’s experiencing hair loss, they may be advised to boost their intake of iron to help correct their health issues. Treatment may be needed once a doctor discovers other underlying conditions.
Improvements to hair growth and health of your hair take time. In this case, patience is vital. It’s not uncommon for improvements to be noticed after some months. In spite of this, correctly treating reduced levels of ferritin might help recover a patient’s natural, healthy hair.
Have you ever heard of ferritin? Have you had any experience with hair loss? If yes, what steps did you take in restoring hair loss, low levels of ferritin, and low levels of iron? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.