Hair loss and Iron Deficiency, what do we need to know?

Hair loss and Iron Deficiency, what do we need to know?

Dr. Hamid HosseiniAuthor: Dr. Hamid Hosseini MD, MBioMed & PhD

(CEO & Founder of Hamita Biotech who discovered the unique formula of Dr. Hamid Hair Regrowth Products. A Clinician, Researcher & Immunologist who specialised in hair physiology & aesthetic medicine; Melbourne, Australia).

Hair loss is prevalent with various underlying causes, including genetics, malnutrition, aging, alopecia areata, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, postpartum, breastfeeding, chronic illnesses, certain hair care products, tight hairstyles, and hormonal imbalances (1).

One common and often overlooked cause of hair loss is iron deficiency, a widespread form of malnutrition worldwide. Research suggests that iron deficiency contributes to hair loss and can mimic the pattern of genetic male and female baldness. Iron plays a crucial role in the body by regulating the expression of hair follicle genes and supporting the production of hemoglobin, a protein vital for carrying oxygen to all cells, including those responsible for hair growth. Iron deficiency disrupts these iron-dependent processes, affecting the normal hair growth cycle.

To address hair loss associated with iron deficiency, it's essential to identify and treat the underlying cause. If you suspect iron deficiency is the culprit, consult your doctor, who may order a blood test to assess your ferritin levels, a marker for iron storage deficiency (<30 μg/L) (2).

Dr Hamid Hair Regrowth products employ advanced technology to deliver essential minerals, including iron, directly to your scalp and hair follicles without adverse effects to enhance treatment efficiency.

This article will focus on iron-rich foods suitable for everyone, including vegetarians and vegans. Iron is an essential nutrient that is pivotal in various bodily functions. A diet lacking in iron can lead to low energy levels, breathlessness, headaches, irritability, dizziness, anemia, and other health issues. Iron in foods has two forms: heme iron, found in animal products, and non-heme iron, found in plant sources.

Recommended daily iron intake is based on an average of 18 mg per day. Individual requirements vary by gender and life stage, with men and post-menopausal women needing around 8 mg per day, menstruating women requiring 18 mg per day, and pregnant women needing 27 mg per day due to increased iron needs (3,4).

The body less readily absorbs non-heme iron from plant sources than animal products. Consequently, the recommended daily iron intake for vegetarians and vegans is double that for meat eaters.

Here's a list of 21 iron-rich plant foods:

 

list of 21 iron-rich plant foods-legoms

 

Legumes

 Beans, peas, and lentils are excellent sources of iron. Soybeans (8.8 mg per cup), tofu, tempeh, and natto (1.7-2.1 mg per 100g) are rich in iron. Lentils contain 6.6 mg per cup, and other beans and peas, including lima, red kidney, navy beans, chickpeas, and black-eyed peas, provide 4.4–6.6 mg per cup cooked. Legumes also offer calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients important for hair growth (5).

 

list of 21 iron-rich plant foods-nuts and seeds

 

Nuts and Seeds

 Certain nuts and seeds are iron-rich. Pumpkin, sesame, hemp, and flaxseeds contain 1.2–4.2 mg per two tablespoons. Almonds, cashews, pine, and macadamia nuts have 3.5–5.6 mg per 100g. Derived products like tahini (2.6 mg per 2 tablespoons) and hummus (3 mg per half cup) also provide iron (6).

 

list of 21 iron-rich plant foods-Vegetable

 

Vegetable

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard, and beet greens offer 2.5–6.4 mg per cup cooked. Broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts contain 1–1.8 mg per cup cooked. These vegetables often have more iron per 100g than red meat and salmon (7).

 

list of 21 iron-rich plant foods-Fruits

 

Fruit

Some fruits are surprisingly rich in iron. Prune juice (about 3 mg per cup), olives (3.3 mg per 100g), and mulberries (2.6 mg per cup) are good sources. These fruits also contain antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients beneficial for hair growth (7).

 

list of 21 iron-rich plant foods- coconut milk

 

Additionally, coconut milk (3.8 mg per half cup), dark chocolate (11.7 mg per 100g), blackstrap molasses (1.8 mg per two tablespoons), and dried thyme (1.2 mg per dried teaspoon) offer significant iron content and other nutrients beneficial for hair growth (7).

 

Some tips about proper nutrition to prevent hair loss

 

To enhance non-heme iron absorption, consider these methods:

Avoid drinking coffeeAvoid drinking coffee and tea with meals, as they can reduce iron absorption by 50-90% (8).
Consume vitamin CConsume vitamin C-rich foods alongside non-heme iron sources to increase absorption by up to 300% (8).
legumes and quinoa for ironCombine iron-rich meals with lysine-rich foods like legumes and quinoa to boost iron absorption (8).
The effect of cast iron dishes on iron absorptionCast iron cookware can significantly increase iron content in foods (8).
Effect of cereal and legume sprouts on iron absorption

Soak, sprout, and ferment grains and legumes to reduce phytates naturally present in these foods and improve iron absorption (8).

Iron is crucial for healthy hair growth and maintenance (9). We've harnessed advanced technology to directly deliver iron and other essential nutrients to your hair follicles. For maximum benefits, especially for vegetarians and vegans, follow our dietary recommendations alongside using Dr Hamid Hair Regrowth products. Your well-being is our top priority (10,11).

References

References:

  1. Institute of Medicine (US) Panel on Micronutrients. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc [Internet]. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2001 [cited 2023 Dec 15]. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK222310/
  2. Naigamwalla DZ, Webb JA, Giger U. Iron deficiency anemia. Can Vet J. 2012 Mar;53(3):250–6.
  3. Trost LB, Bergfeld WF, Calogeras E. The diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency and its potential relationship to hair loss. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006 May;54(5):824–44.
  4. Auerbach M, Adamson JW. How we diagnose and treat iron deficiency anemia. Am J Hematol. 2016 Jan;91(1):31–8.
  5. Mudryj AN, Yu N, Aukema HM. Nutritional and health benefits of pulses. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014 Nov;39(11):1197–204.
  6. Szabó Z, Erdélyi A, Gubicskóné Kisbenedek A, Ungár T, Lászlóné Polyák É, Szekeresné Szabó S, et al. [Plant-based diets: a review]. Orv Hetil. 2016 Nov;157(47):1859–65.
  7. Lv C, Zhao G, Lönnerdal B. Bioavailability of iron from plant and animal ferritins. J Nutr Biochem. 2015 May;26(5):532–40.
  8. Piskin E, Cianciosi D, Gulec S, Tomas M, Capanoglu E. Iron Absorption: Factors, Limitations, and Improvement Methods. ACS Omega. 2022 Jun 21;7(24):20441–56.
  9. Shrivastava SB. Diffuse hair loss in an adult female: approach to diagnosis and management. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2009;75(1):20–7; quiz 27–8.
  10. Rushton DH. Nutritional factors and hair loss. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2002 Jul;27(5):396–404.
  11. Thompson JM, Mirza MA, Park MK, Qureshi AA, Cho E. The Role of Micronutrients in Alopecia Areata: A Review. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2017 Oct;18(5):663–79.
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