Female Hair Loss: The Low Iron Connection

top view of woman's scalp, with thinning hair

By Caitlyn Vanderhaeghe, B.A., B.Ed.

While the media bombards us with countless advertisements for hair loss solutions for men, it’s disheartening to note that there are few options available for women facing the same issue. More than two-thirds of women experience hair loss, which can range from mild thinning to noticeable bald patches. One often-overlooked cause of hair loss in women is low iron levels.

Low Iron: The Silent Cause of Hair Loss

Low iron is a silent contributor to hair loss, and it’s important to note that you don’t have to be anemic to experience this problem. Even if your doctor assures you that your iron levels are within the normal range, having low-normal iron levels can lead to significant hair loss.

This phenomenon is particularly common in women after childbirth and during the perimenopausal years, when heavy menstrual periods may occur and after menopause when doctors stop checking iron levels. In fact, being a woman of childbearing age automatically places you at risk for low iron levels. Surprisingly, up to 60 percent of women have low iron, and it often goes undiagnosed.

We need approximately 20 mg of iron daily from our diet, but we are getting only about 8 mg.

Everyone needs approximately 20 mg of iron from their daily diet. However, most people only obtain around 8 mg of iron per day from their diets. Moreover, with a shift away from red meat consumption in recent years, even men, children, postmenopausal women, and seniors are now vulnerable to low iron. Heavy periods, digestive issues, vegan and vegetarian diets are associated with low iron requiring higher iron needs.

Understanding the Mechanism

Hair follicles (where the root of your hair is located) contain ferritin, a protein that stores iron. When ferritin levels in the hair follicles decrease, it can impact the hair’s ability to grow properly. This often results in thinning hair or hair loss, which is frequently mistaken for androgenic alopecia also called female pattern hair loss. Hair loss can manifest gradually over time or suddenly, taking you by surprise.

Low ferritin levels can also alter the hair’s structure, making it dry and more susceptible to breakage.

Recognizing Low Iron Symptoms

Knowing the connection between low iron and hair loss, it’s essential to be aware of other common symptoms associated with low iron, including:

  • Fatigue or breathlessness with minor exertion
  • Thin or peeling nails
  • Dark under-eye circles
  • Frequent colds and flu
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Hair loss
  • Dry, brittle hair
  • Restless legs
  • Hormone problems
  • Heavy periods
  • Depression or low moods

 

Requesting the Right Tests

It’s important not to solely rely on a “normal” test from your doctor. Request a copy of your iron blood tests, including hemoglobin and ferritin. Read the results: your hemoglobin levels should be above 140g/L.  Results below 140 g/L can lead to significant hair loss, even if they fall within the suggested normal range (117-160 g/L for women). Your ferritin test result, which reflects your iron storage, should ideally read above 100 mcg/L to promote hair health and thickness.

woman getting blood taken from her left arm for a blood test

The Solution: Take a Micronized and Microencapsulated Iron Supplement Every Day

To address low iron levels, take BioFe+ micronized and microencapsulated iron daily. BioFe+ liquid iron contains 15 mg of elemental iron per teaspoon and is deliciously sugar-free. This innovative supplement offers several advantages.

  • No Constipation: Unlike traditional iron supplements, BioFe+ iron does not cause constipation, making it more comfortable to use. 
  • No Digestive Upset or Stained Teeth: BioFe+ contains iron that is micronized (designed for absorption) and microencapsulated (coated), which helps to prevent greying teeth, nausea, and digestive upset while making sure the iron gets to the receptors in the small intestine, so they increase hemoglobin and ferritin. 
  • Great Taste: Many common liquid iron supplements have a metallic, unappealing taste. The microencapsulated iron ensures BioFe+ tastes excellent.

Dosage and Results

For optimal results, take 1-2 teaspoons of BioFe+ Liquid Iron daily, which provides up to 30 mg of elemental iron. Hair improves when iron levels increase.

Regain Control of Your Hair Health

Hair loss in women is a distressing condition and understanding the link between low iron levels and hair loss is the first step toward regaining control of your hair health. Monitor your iron levels and take BioFe+ for healthier and fuller hair.

cartoon image of Caitlyn Vanderhaeghe

About the Author

Caitlyn Vanderhaeghe, B.A., B.Ed., is a health advocate, licensed teacher, and CEO of KidStar Nutrients. Caitlyn’s experience spans more than a decade of supply chain and ingredients sourcing in the natural products industry. As a mother of three daughters, Caitlyn’s mission is to help educate parents about kids’ nutrition and provide clean nutrients for kids and families.

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