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I have been noticing hair thinning for about 2 years and went to see doc 1.5 years ago and she did a blood test and said my vitamin D was low so to take it. I have been doing that. Hair was still thinning. About three months ago I noticed pretty chronic fatigue, went to see gyno two months ago and she ordered blood test, came back with slightly low platelet count. I noticed this and went to see my regular doc and she said no prob, just slightly low and should be fine. I told her about my fatigue and she ordered more blood tests, did not tell me to take anything. I started taking iron on my own about 6 weeks ago, was only taking the regular daily dosage (25mg Gentle Iron Byglisincate or whatever you call it), hair was still thinning, still tired. Noticed more hair thinning about a month ago, yikes! I already have very thin fine hair. YIKES. Went back to doc, now very annoyed, said my hair is falling out and I am tired. She did more blood tests and almost as an afterthought said, "oh, maybe we should also check your ferritin, yea lets check that". She calls back a few days later and says the level is 19 and to just take iron daily (did not tell me how much, what kind, did not advise me of what not to take with it that would negate absorption), and to eat iron rich foods and come back in three months for another blood test. This was about three weeks ago. I have doubled up on the iron and am taking 100 mg of the Gentle Iron daily along with vitamin c and Andrew Lesserman;s healthy hair skin and nails, two of those. I called the doctor back and said I wanted my level retested at the month mark because I my hair is still falling out YIKES and I want to know if this darn iron is getting absorbed, she said she does not Recommend doing it again so soon and that I should wait 3 months. I am going crazy with this hair loss. I read online that Proferrin (the heme iron supplement) gets your levels up much quicker and is recommended to women athletes so I ordered some of those and will take two of them and am hoping that don't mess with my stomach because the gentle iron is fine for the stomach. I guess my question is this, what more should I do or not do at this point. I am freaking out, I am still losing my hair One thing I have noticed in the past three weeks, I have waaaaaaaay more energy, the fatique is gone but still losing hair. Help meeeeeeeeee, any replies would be appreciated.
Some thoughts from an increasingly experienced iron-deficient anemic: I once read a post mentioning that the associated hair loss won't resolve until ferritin climbs higher....maybe in the 30 range if I recall the comments correctly. It can take a while to reach those levels when the body is depleted, as it doesn't have the luxury of storing iron to increase ferritin reserves when the iron is going to the RBC production the body needs for daily maintenance. Little by little the ferritin increases through ongoing iron therapy....has taken me a long time (6-8 months) to move the dial even a few points (from one number in the teens to another number in the teens....will be retesting soon and can report back). It's likely that as you improve your stored iron levels (ferritin), the hair loss will improve and even as you make some baby steps towards those increased levels, before reaching desired target, you will likely see some incremental improvement in the hair loss quantity/frequency. You may not really need to take the healthy hair/nails supplement, as the lower ferritin level is likely the most explanatory and thus most influential factor in managing/containing hair loss. You are moving in the right direction in that the first improvement you've noted is energy levels / fatigue etc. I think that nurturing hair follicles is a comparatively low priority for red blood cells, and they only attend to that after the major functions of the body which RBCs serve (oxygenation of the blood!!!) are being addressed. So not surprising that you would see those improvements first. I take 130 mg of iron (65 mg 2x/daily) so you may have room to increase your dose or possibly also change your type of iron. Vitron C is ferronyl iron and absorption-wise, i believe it has worked better for me (2x/daily) than ferrous sulfate varieties I had been trying. Also 2x daily therapy (130 mg) - approved by my ob/gyn - of Vitron C will give you more iron overall than you are getting on your 100 mg regimen per day. You are spot on to include Vitamin C to increase absorption; it is included in the Vitron C tablet. Also, avoid tea (and possibly coffee, not as sure) within two hours of taking iron. The polyphenols in tea majorly interfere with absorption (caffeine is not the culprit). I do experience loose stools, and sometimes constipation, but won't blame this on Vitron C specifically...have been supplementing for extended basis (different brands) and have potentially irritated the gastro lining over time. I will perhaps need to evaluate the intramuscular iron injections ultimately, but my bet is that many can tolerate the Vitron C tablet (enteric coated) without getting into my GI situation, as I have intestinal issues to begin with. I also recommend blackstrap molasses (Plantation brand makes one with 20% RDA Iron in one teaspoon, or maybe it's one tablespoon...I don't care for the taste so much, and so combine it with a protein drink mix to dilute its taste) and of course red meat (heme iron). Non-heme iron (spinach, other greens) is not as readily absorbed by the body, though cooking is thought to increase the amount of iron available in dark greens (and would also consider adding lemon juice for Vit C mix-in to any cooked vegetables). I have also learned that not all red meats are created equal in terms of iron content. On the back of the packaging of the grass-fed red meat I buy is a chart showing nutrient values of all beef products.....for iron, it shows that only three varieties of grass-fed beef products contain 15% of RDA for iron [Chuck Blade Roast, 80% lean/20% fat, and 90% lean/10% fat] . Other grass-fed beefs are 8-10% of the RDA for iron, whereas grass-fed Ribeye steak is actually 0% RDA of iron, not sure why that is. Unsure whether these figures translate equivalently for non grass-fed beef product (I try only to consume grass-fed when possible) but I do feel beneficial effects from eating the 90/10 beef within an hour of eating usually. Of course there is also liver, but I can't stomach the taste. If you don't want to eat meat, oysters are a very good source of iron and of zinc. You can also cook eggs (2 large eggs contain 2mg iron, which is not a lot but good as part of iron-rich diet plan)/other foods in a cast iron skillet so that you are consuming iron via that added channel as well. Hope some of these ideas may help!
Thank you so much for the reply. If any doctor tells a woman that a ferritin level of 19 will not make her hair start falling out, they are very very wrong I tell you. Many of them just don't know what they are talking about and it is frustrating to me. Without this board I would know NOTHING about ferritin levels or iron depletion and I'm sure it would take me way longer to deal with this problem without all the valuable information here. This board his been such a great help to me. Yes, my energy is way way up since I started iron supplements several weeks ago and since I already ordered the Proferrin I will just try to take that once my first bottle of Gentle Iron is gone (in a few days) and see if it agrees with me and possibly try the Vitron C if the Proferrin does not work out. I have been scouring the internet and came upon a forum that was mainly visited by female runners and the topic of low iron was very prevalent for them and someone on the site, it sounded as if it was a trainer or nutritionalist, not sure, talked about the proferrin supplement and how it is made from just the Heme iron and is only 12mg per pill but taking two pills daily could get the ferritin way up in about 30 days, so I am going to try it. It is expensive. I ordered it from the Naturalhealthyconcepts website and there are several very favorable reviews of it. I don't except results as quick as 30 days, I'm not crazy, but I would rather not wait a whole year if it is not necessary, Jeeees I already have really thin hair and don't want to keep losing it :( However, the excellent news is that I have already started to get quite a few little hairs growing out near my center part (mainly in front), but my longer hairs are still falling out more than usual. I am just delighted to see more hair growing in so I feel hopeful that this will resolve over time. I know it will take awhile for the iron stores to get up there to where the hair will stop falling out and it makes so much sense that when the levels are low the first thing that more iron goes toward is daily maintenance rather than your hair. One of the things I am trying to figure out is how long I should wait before I demand to get my levels checked again because the doctor said she would only do it every three months and she, of course, didn't seem at all concerned about my hair loss problem. Not sure if I can wait that long. I have been eating red meat and oysters and as many iron laden foods as I can. I have also been doing blackstrap molasses in smoothies in the morning (minus the yogurt or dairy) and they are tasting good. Please let me know what your levels are with the Vitron when you go back to get them checked. I think I am going to keep taking the Andrew Lesserman vitamins as well because, like I said, I already had fine/thin hair and since I am already seeing growth I just want to keep with the iron and Andrew Lesserman and see where they take me. Thanks again and good luck on your anemia journey :)





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