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I have had hair thinning due to too much shedding for a number of years and never realised it had anything to do with iron. Finally i went to see a trichologist (hair/scalp specialist) as last april my iron was a 6 and my ferritin was 8. Apparently there is a new range for ferritin and it is now 35 (or there abouts) - 300. The trichologist said that now for normal hair growth without the excessive shedding you need to be 80 and above due to the new range and he wants to see my at 150.

He has put me on some very strong iron powder and it contains some other ingredients. This i take twice a day after meals, while 20 min's before those two meals i have to take a complex amino acid tablet. He is giving me 3months and then i have to get a blood test and if they find my levels have not climbed sufficiently then they will look into what could be stopping iron absorbtion by my body. There can be two reasons for this 1. gluten intolerance, 2. insufficient enzymes for digestion of food, which in turn affects stomach and liver.

One thing he did mention is that people who are anaemic for a long length of time can run the risk of damaging their thyroid. This is why blood tests for your iron/ferretin levels should always include a full test of your thyroid too, not just one of those general thyroid test most gp's get pathology to do.

He also said that it will take between 3 - 6 months to start seeing results, but that hair loss due to low iron levels is reversible. He didn't mention any other side effects of low iron apart from the thyroid issue.

I wish i had known about iron affecting hair lost years ago as my gp should have picked up on it from low levels 6 - 7 years ago, but he conveniently said all was fine, when even then i was scraping the bottom of the barrel when it came to iron/ferretin. Then i went to see a dermatologist who said there was nothing wrong with my hair. Times like this you truly realise how valuable the internet is along with healthboards like these. If you are worried about your hair loss and you know it's from low iron, then do something about it as it wont go away and the hair will keep shedding and shedding. The sooner you take action the sooner your are likely to get your hair back.
I never knew hair loss was connected to low Ferritin levels! I have been losing my hair for the past year, and have just been told my Ferritin level is 2 so am now on 670gms iron per day. My doctor thinks it will take about 6 months to get the levels back up. My haemoglobin is also low. I feel very tired too but this has been for the past 5 years or so which also commenced with an early menopause for which I use Serenity natural progesterone cream. In fact I couldn't survive without it....I would be so very tired. Without the cream I feel like a 66 year old instead of a 44 year old. Within days of starting it this cream helped me with breast discomfort, irritibility, feeling sad for no reason, falling asleep all the time and it keeps me rational. However I still have bad aches and pains in my joints so take anti-inflammatories too. I am due to have my Ferritin levels checked in a month so hopefully things will be better then.
[QUOTE=alwayshotroddin;2901635]I have been reading your posts on this topic. Does anyone know how long you can have low ferritin levels before your hemoglobin levels start to drop? I first found out my ferritin level was at 11.6 in January and since then it's dropped to 4.0 as of last week (this is also while I'm taking iron supplements). My iron saturation level is also low. Just curious to know what might happen next if my ferretin levels don't start to go up?[/QUOTE]
For those asking about ferritin levels and iron. The ferritin level measures how good your body is at extracting iron from food or supplements you are taking. If you are a vegetarian who eats no eggs, cheese or other dairy products, your source of iron is a plant source such as beets, etc. There is iron in vegetables, primarily root vegetables, potatoes etc. It is not heme iron, but it is iron. Then meats: beef, pork, chicken are the primary sources of heme iron, with eggs being a good source if you eat the yolk, that of course is an issue with some health considerations.
Either way you get iron, the body uses what it needs for daily functioning and stores the rest in a storage area for drawing on if you get food deprived. If you are nutrition deprived, you will lose your hair, primarily a protein loss issue, you finger nails will become brittle, break easily or will get streaks, you may get mouth sores easily. All of those symptoms are from not enough available iron. Ferritin again without any other information about your nutritional status means nothing. Usually, people will seek medical attention while they still have a little ferritin left because of other problems and symptoms. Thyroid problems can be silent too. Depression for any reason can make the body stressed out and not respond to available nutrition. It is not caused by what you think, the depression causes the way you may feel and your appetite may become picky or non-nutritious just at the time you need the food the most. I hope that will help you to understand. Some people can have a low hemaglobin and low ferritin and feel awful, some can have a normal hemaglobin and a low ferritin level and never know it. Some can have a low hemaglobin, be short of breath, and think they have a virus and they have been gradually dropping in iron all along and never connected it together.
Some people are always different than other people so that is what medical practice is all about, there are no definite answers except the one you believe.

More people are now finding out that their iron stores need to stay above 70 for at least 3 months to see a significant decrease in the shedding rate and for hair in the growing phase to be restored to its normal rate.

What a lot of people dont know is that levels need to be between 125 - 150 for optimal metabolic and liver detoxification functioning.[/QUOTE]

Audrey B:

I am one of those who never got a satisfactory answer to the hair loss problem. I am being treated for hypothyroid and since I was still extremely fatigued, decided to raise my ferritin levels. In the course of my research on the topic I saw the hair loss-iron connection.My hair loss started when I was pretty young, and has always been a source of upset for me, since it is so thin.

I went to a dematoligist years ago who gave me a cursory exam and said it was male pattern baldness. I recently went to a hematoligist who said my ferritin of 18 (9-?) was fine (no other low values, except MCV at lowest value 80) and in fact recommended specifically that I NOT take iron.

I would like to ask if you know whether if I raise my ferritin levels up, if there is any chance that the hair will improve, i.e. fill in, or has it been too many years of hair loss? Incidentally, I am very careful with my diet and supplements, so I hope the nutritional levels there are ok. :)
Hi Sparkles, well i'm not a doctor, but from what i have found out is that ferritin is the important one, but in general doctors and people alike tend to refer to the levels in a general way by simply saying "iron levels". When i get my blood test results there are always seperate figures for iron itself and ferretin and my specialist always says that the ferretin is the one to keep an eye on.

My levels had increased during my last blood test, but my specialist will not hear of my going off my iron supplement until i'm close to 150. He wants me up so high so that if i fall dramatically again i wont fall so far that it will take forever to get back up again and i wont go through the hair loss trauma. So if your ferritin is only up to 18 now i would not be stopping any additional iron supplementation and i have no idea where on earth your doc is coming from in giving you advice to not take any further iron supplements. The problem is which iron supplement to take as some of them are not that strong and you could be on it forever and not see much of a difference. An over the counter iron supplement i was on for a whole year didn't do that much for me and my specialist told me i could double or triple the dosage easily without overdosing. I'd never double or triple any medication without consulting a doctor, but that simply goes to show you how weak some of the supplements out there really are. Unless you find a great doctor who truly is interested in your cause, i feel none of us stand a chance.

The problem with having continuous very low iron levels is that for some people it can cause an irreversable thyroid condition and that is something you dont want to end up with on top of the hair loss. mention that your low iron hasn't affected your hair, but you have problems with running. For me, no matter how low my iron got, it didn't affect my general daily stamina nor my skin or nails. Low iron levels affect everybody in different ways. I would only feel overwhelming tiredness after breakfast on the weekends, but the rest of the day or my weekdays i was on the go with no problems and my nails were healthy, which surprised my doctor, but i had been sufferent the ongoing cycle of hair growth and quick fall out since January 2001.

The one thing which i feel may also be helping me is that my specialist has me on an Amino Acid Complex tablet twice per day which i take 20 mins before breakfast and dinner. It basically helps the body absorb vitamins and minerals much better.

If you want to read up on more info you can ****** the name Anthony Pearce Trichologist and he writes some very easy to understand info on hair loss which might be of benefit. You just have to remember that there is no magic wand and it takes quite a while for things to start happening.
[QUOTE=Audrey-B;2955394] So if your ferritin is only up to 18 now i would not be stopping any additional iron supplementation and i have no idea where on earth your doc is coming from in giving you advice to not take any further iron supplements.[/QUOTE]

I have seen at least 5 drs over the years. All say its either fine or its low, but ok. Interestingly, I saw a very highly regarded hematoligist...waited months for the appointment. It was he who said, [I]not[/I] to take iron! All I can say is thank god for the internet. There is a whole world of literature out there that flatly contradicts his "advice"

[QUOTE=Audrey-B;2955394] The problem with having continuous very low iron levels is that for some people it can cause an irreversable thyroid condition and that is something you dont want to end up with on top of the hair loss. [/QUOTE]

I have thyroid disease, just diagnosed in the last year. Again, overlooked by drs for many, many years. I had heard that some thyroid people have anemia/deficiencies, but I have never heard of it [I]causing[/I] thyroid problems. Do you remember where you heard it? I would be most interested to read it. :)
I didn't read the info about long term iron defficiency possibly leading to thyroid disorders in some people, my trichologist told me about this. Each time i have a blood test to see where my levels are up to he also gets a blood test for my thyroid. He also gives me a VERY indepth letter to give to pathology so that they do the appropriate tests as many gp's simply get a very basic blood test done for thyroid.

The problem is that constant low iron, or low anything for that matter, will not have the same side effects for every single person out there. Often you will only pick up on side effects after you have had the problem for a long time.

The trichologist i visit has written a number of articles which you can read on the net. If you do a search using his name and profession you will find it easily enough. Do a search under Anthony Pearce Trichologist. He doesn't sell anything via the net, so dont worry that it's a marketing site. It's not like that and he only gives facts on hair loss details.

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