Hair Today. Gone…

Posted by on Sep 8, 2008 in hair loss | 2 comments

Have you been seeing a few extra hairs in your comb or brush? Thinning hair and bald spots (also known as alopecia) occurs in roughly 37% of postmenopausal women. Although declining levels of estrogen play an important role, researchers now say that low iron levels before menopause fully sets in is an important risk factor.

In a recent study published in the European Journal of Dermatology, investigators evaluated hair loss in 5,110 women between the ages of 35 and 60 years. They also collected blood samples and measured the level of a protein called serum ferritin, which is a determinant of overall iron levels stored by the body. In this study, “excessive” hair loss was described as losing lots of hair during washing, brushing or towel drying, and/or finding lots of hair on the pillow or on clothing).

The findings showed that a majority of the women (57%) who were affected by excessive hair loss also had low iron stores (serum ferritin <40 micrograms/liter).  Conversely, low iron stores affected only 23% of postmenopausal women. These findings remained after adjustments for factors such as age, use of oral contraceptives or IUDs, and levels of red blood cells.

Iron is important for maintaining growth of hair follicles. Consequently, it appears that maintaining adequate iron stores may be critical to prevent hair loss after menopause.

However, too much iron can increase risk of developing certain diseases such as diabetes or cancer. So, in the interest of maintaining a beautiful head of hair, it’s important not to overdo it. Recommended daily allowance is 8 mg daily for perimenopausal women, and 14 mg if you’re also a vegan.

Two types of iron can be found in food: heme iron, which is easily absorbable and present in red meat, seafood and poultry, and non-heme iron, which is less absorption. and found in fruits, vegetables, grain and nuts. However, adding vitamin C to non-heme sources and increase absorption up to six-fold. Fortunately, if you prefer the vegetable route, those rich in both nutrients (e.g. broccoli and bok choy) can help to insure better absorption. You can find a complete listing of iron in a variety of foods here.


  1. 9-11-2008

    I was losing tons of hair and finally my Dr. put me on thyroid meds and it’s stopped falling out. She told me that’s one of the signs of low thyroid even if you don’t test low because the range is so big. She goes by the symptoms.

  2. 9-22-2008


    I have done a lot of research into hair regrowth and strengthening and have posted some articles on .

    There is one section under the products for hair loss page that goes into details about what vitamins and minerals your body should have to maintain and grow your own hair.

    Check out the site and let me know if you people find it informative or not.

    Hope this helps you out

    Simon Miller

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