Iron Defficiency and Hairloss

Serum Iron and Serum Ferritin Tests.
Q. Does Serum Iron and Serum Ferritin (the biochemical state in which iron is stored in the body) relate to hair growth/loss?

An increasing number of trichologists recognise that iron deficiency is relatively common and that chronic iron deficiency due in part to a low intake of red meat in favour of white meat or vegetarianism can lead to the development of diffuse hair loss. The author – a practising UK trichologist since 1964 records that during his trials approx. 62% of  female patients aged 16 – 60 with diffuse terminal hair loss had serum ferritin 10 -17,  and that as this level rose the hair losses reduced significantly.
Red blood cells contain haemoglobin the oxygen bearing protein (an iron rich biochemical).
Iron is a fundamental requirement of body cells, especially muscle cells which contain myoglobin (another oxygen transporting protein similar to haemoglobin).

Iron distribution in the healthy human body:
65% in haemoglobin.
4% in myoglobin (in skeletal muscle).
30% stored as ferritin or hemosiderin in the liver, bone marrow and spleen.
1% is transient in association with Transferrin (syn. Siderophilin). This iron-transporting beta-globulin facilitates its transportation to the bone marrow and tissue storage areas, or is a component of enzymes in cells throughout the body.
Free Iron is reactive.

Low Iron levels can lead to anemia (inadequate production of red blood cells) and a consequential reduction in levels of essential oxygen transportation. Symptoms: pale skin, fatigue. So for the body in general, iron is important.

© Prof. B Stevens FTTS Contact the author