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Ferritin and Hair Loss- How are they related?

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Ferritin is a type of protein that stores iron in the body, and this iron can be used as and when required. Several body parts contain ferritin such as the liver, blood, spleen, and hair follicles. A lot of people experience hair loss, which may be due to low levels of iron in the body. Thus, there is a direct relationship between ferritin and hair loss. Your doctor may also conduct a ferritin test to evaluate the iron levels in your body. 

We will also look at the different ways in which you can increase these levels and promote hair growth. So, let’s begin. 

Ferritin and Hair Loss

As we know, iron is an essential nutrient required by the body. It helps in the production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen around the body. In case there are fewer red blood cells, the body faces difficulty in transporting oxygen to the different body parts. And this leads to several ailments, including iron deficiency anemia. 

Now when the body is low in iron, it borrows some ferritin from the hair follicles and other sources that are relatively less important to the body in case of an illness. And this causes hair loss. Thus, it is important to consume an iron-rich diet to ensure that your body contains sufficient ferritin

There are several causes for low ferritin and hair loss in the body. The most common ones include:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Significant blood loss
  • Non-celiac gluten intolerance
  • Celiac disease
  • Consuming a vegan or vegetarian diet
  • Low thyroid or hypothyroidism
  • Heavy menstruation
  • Pregnancy

Symptoms of Low Ferritin

Having low ferritin levels in the body hampers its ability to produce enough red blood cells. And without it, the organs and the systems don’t work as they should.  

A lot of signs of low ferritin are comparable to that of iron deficiency. And the most common symptom of the two is hair loss. Hence, there is a strong relation between ferritin and hair loss. Apart from this, other symptoms include:

Ferritin And Hair Loss

Apart from hair loss, a person suffering from low ferritin levels may also experience noticeable changes in their hair texture. For instance, the hair may become thin, weak, and more prone to breakage. A lot of people may also experience diminished hair growth. 

If low ferritin levels are what causes hair loss in people, replenishing the iron levels through supplements and a good diet may be enough to reverse the problem. 

Boosting Ferritin Levels in the Body

If you complain of excessive hair loss or any other symptom of low ferritin, your doctor may conduct a ferritin test. Based on the results of the test, he may prescribe taking iron supplements while closely monitoring the symptoms.

If low ferritin and hair loss are directly related, then increasing the intake of iron should replenish the ferritin levels, leading to healthier hair. However, if a person has normal ferritin and iron levels in the body, increasing the intake of iron will not result in hair growth. And this will indicate that hair loss is due to some other underlying condition and not low ferritin levels. 

It is important to note that consuming too much iron can lead to serious side effects in people. For instance, it may cause hemochromatosis and tissue damage. 

Managing Ferritin Deficiency through Diet

If you visit a doctor in case you experience excessive hair loss due to low ferritin levels, he will suggest dietary changes. Consuming a diet high in iron will help to reverse the problem. 

Other than that, he may conduct further tests to look for signs of other underlying conditions, such as hormonal imbalance, hypothyroidism, and nutrient deficiencies. In case a doctor suspects intolerance to gluten, he will suggest more diagnostic tests to get to the root of the problem. 

But typically, these tests are undertaken if increasing the intake of iron fails to resolve the symptom. In that case, it means that there is no direct link between ferritin and hair loss


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