Hair Loss and Iron Deficiency

by | Jun 17, 2022

Low Iron is a common cause of hair loss! The great news is, we typically see shedding cease within the first month on the protocol for many people suffering from hair loss. We have also seen men and women have regrowth after fixing their iron deficiency; lashes, eye brows, and leg hair too! 

I often see the question, “What level does my Ferritin need to be to fix my hair loss?” Well, what’s the goal of The Iron Protocol? You have to treat your iron deficiency fully, which is why the goal of The Iron Protocol is to maintain a Ferritin number of AT LEAST 125 for at least 6 months. Many, like myself, will need to maintain much higher Ferritin for much longer (my “optimal” during physical recovery is over 200).

“The decreased serum ferritin level is a very specific finding of iron deficiency. Serum ferritin is regarded as the most valuable laboratory test for iron deficiency [8]. Within this study, the mean serum ferritin level was significantly lower in patients than in healthy individuals. Furthermore, a low serum ferritin level was observed more frequently in patients than in the control group. Our results indicate that serum ferritin concentrations may play a role in the etiopathogenesis of diffuse hair fall.”

“Since we have demonstrated significantly low serum levels of ferritin and 25(OH)D in the patient group, we suggest that serum iron and vitamin D status should be evaluated in all patients with diffuse hair loss prior to further treatment. Vitamin B12 and zinc deficiencies were determined in a few patients. Therefore, it does not need to be mandatory to check vitamin B12 and zinc levels routinely in every patient complaining of diffuse hair loss.”

I personally am not knocking B12 or Zinc as causes or potential causes of hair loss.

“The results obtained from this study reveal that serum ferritin and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are generally low in patients complaining of hair loss. Therefore, serum ferritin and vitamin D levels should be evaluated and supplemented prior to treatment in all patients complaining of diffuse hair loss.”

I am pointing out that ferritin and Vitamin D are very relevant to hair loss. Remember, when the body begins to sense a deficiency, it starts to ration out where and how much iron it sends out, limiting the amount of iron to the least critical biomechanical processes, like hair and nails. This is why anemia (iron being sent to the bone marrow to create new red blood cells), is the last stage of iron deficiency- because it is the most critical and vital biomechanical process of iron.

So, your hair loss may be from an Iron Deficiency. Your hair loss may be from several deficiencies, or a stressful event. Your hair loss can be genetically caused. “Anything” can cause hair loss, especially an Iron or Vitamin D Deficiency. Iron Deficiency (low or sub optimal ferritin) can absolutely 100% cause hair loss, just like Vitamin D deficiency.

*Just like with any other symptom, not all symptoms are experienced by every person with an Iron Deficiency. One may not experience hair loss with an Iron Deficiency- perhaps their Vit D and genes are optimally functioning, or any other reason. It does not mean that Ferritin is not extremely relevant to the hair loss discussion.

*This also means, if your hair loss was caused by or contributed to by low ferritin (Iron Deficiency), that once it is treated, hair loss should cease. (Iron Deficiency recovery is totally dependent upon how long you were deficient and what other deficiencies you may be experiencing.)

For Hair Loss, make sure you test and have optimal levels in:

– ferritin & iron panel

– diabetes

– Active B12 (needs to be over 175)

– Serum B12 needs to be over 600, but can be falsely elevated for several reason, hence why Active B12 is a better marker than serum

– folate (usually needs to be higher at least around 20-50)

– Vit D (optimal is argued to be 80-100ng/ml or 200-250nmol/L)

– thyroid – TSH, Ft3, Ft4

– zinc (argued to need to be on the higher end to be optimal)

– make sure you’re eating enough protein a day and can digest/absorb it