Iron Deficiency & Women's Hair Loss


One of the most common causes of hair loss in pre-menopausal women is not hormones, but a nutritional deficiency, with depleted iron stores being the most important factor.


In a study, one hundred and fifty three women who were diagnosed with telogen effluvium from 1995-1998 were examined. Seventy two percent (n=75) of women in the premenopausal group were found to have iron deficiency as the cause of telogen effluvium. Iron deficiency is defined as having a ferritin level of under 40ng/ml or iron percent saturation under 20%. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of telogen effluvium in premenopausal women. Although medications are the most common cause of telogen effluvium in postmenopausal women, iron deficiency should not be ruled out. (Janet L. Roberts Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR, USA)


Besides being a possible trigger for telogen effluvium where a lot of hair shedding occurs, iron deficiency could also be the most likely underlying cause when hair loss is subtle; slowly thinning out over many months or even years. This is common among women of childbearing age due to menstruation and pregnancy. Iron is found mainly in the blood, and according to Dr Michael Sharon, author of Nutrients A-Z ‘During one period, a woman will lose around 10-15 mg of iron, while throughout a pregnancy around 600-1000mg will be lost.’


Iron is the mineral that occurs in the greatest amount in the blood. The most important function of Iron in the human body is helping the production of both hemoglobin (the substance that carries oxygen withing red blood cells) and myoglobin. Myoglobin is a form of hemoglobin found in muscles. Iron is also involved in the oxygenation of your body’s red blood cells. It is understood that levels of iron play a significant role in various body functions, however, it is also essential for the normal growth and maintenance of hair. If the amount of energy used up by the body is not replaced by food intake, then other non-essential stores will be used up. Unfortunately, this means the hair cells as they are not a vital part of living.


In order to maintain an adequate balance of iron in the body, the amount excreted must be replaced by the amount ingested in the diet. When the amount of dietary iron absorbed is insufficient, a negative iron imbalance occurs, and consequently iron stores are called upon to make up the deficit.


The fall of iron stores normally passes through several stages: lowered iron stores, iron depletion and iron deficiency anemia.

1) Lowered iron stores: This is indicated when the iron stores are reduced but not exhausted. No clinical effects are detected.

2) Iron depletion: Shows up in laboratory tests. Hemoglobin concentration may be well below ‘normal’ for that individual’s reference range. If the patient increases their iron intake, the hemoglobin may respond by increasing.

3) Iron deficiency anemia: No iron is left remaining in the bone marrow. Hemoglobin production falls to the point where concentration is well below the reference range.

It is important to note therefore that iron deficiency (low iron stores, i.e. low ferritin) can occur even if the patient is not clinically anemic and has normal haemoglobin levels

There may be a number of reasons why the amount of iron absorbed is not sufficient. Firstly, only about 10% of ingested iron is absorbed into the blood each day, and this is dependent on the type of food in the diet. Certain foods may inhibit the absorption of iron, such as tanins found in tea and coffee, also bran and egg albumin. Whereas other foods may be enhance the absorption of iron, i.e. vitamin C, alcohol, and flesh foods. In general you can loose iron by: intestinal bleeding, excessive menstrual bleeding, poor digestion, long-term illness, ulcers, and heavy use of anti-acids.

Nutritionist Angel Dowden advises ‘You can maximise your iron absorption by eating a combination of iron-rich foods such as red meat,green, leafy vegetables, shellfish, egg yolk, nuts and cereals with food or drinks that are high in vitamin C for example, a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Avoid tea until at least an hour after eating as it contains tannin, which interferes with iron absorption.

One method of controlling iron deficiency in the body is to stimulate the liver to synthesise ferritin, the protein that stores iron in order to maintain the correct balance. Hair follicles are known to contain ferritin, and when the circulating stores of ferritin decline then these stores are called upon to ensure support for more essential cells, such as bone marrow. The loss of this ferritin from the follicle cells can effect the ability of the hair to grow. This leads to the development of vellus (non pigmented fine hairs) which can be an early indication of deficiency. The presence of vellus hairs is easily mistaken for minaturized hair seen in androgenic alopecia. We should note here that Iron deficiency hair loss could therefore mimic the pattern of androgenic alopecia hair loss.

The Reference Nutritional Intake (RNI) for iron is 14.8mg in women and this should supply you with enough iron for your daily needs. The problem is that not enough women are achieving this value and are therefore becoming deficient. This is, however, easily treated. Vitamin supplements are available which can boost your iron intake on a daily basis, and help reach the normal level within a few months. As soon as the required level is reached hair growth should return to normal. It is preferable that a patient should take iron supplements under a doctor’s supervision, too much iron could also cause hair loss, and even worse, could be toxic.

To diagnose iron deficiency anemia, CBC -complete blood test- is used. Other common lab tests are serum ferritin or serum iron, which examines the proteins involved in the storage and transport of iron through the body, stool occult blood test and TIBC -total iron binding capacity- These tests will determine whether a person has an iron deficiency and the degree of its severity.

No diffuse alopecia (thinning of the hair) should ever be ignored. It can be an early manifestation of several underlying conditions. It is important to realise that an imbalance in iron does not necessarily mean you have anaemia, a serious condition where the ability of the blood to carry oxygen around the body, is reduced. All it means is that your body is not getting enough iron in the diet and is therefore taking it from somewhere else. Another point to remember is that this type of hair loss, caused by deficiency, is also easily treated.

A lot of dermatologists may not agree to the fact that iron deficiency could be a major cause of hair loss, however most of them dont deny that it is an important contributing factor, besides, a lot of hair loss treatments may not work efficiently with low iron stores. Rushton suggests that serum ferritin concentrations of 40 ng/mL or greater are required for maintaining good hair while 70ng/ml is required for regrowth (Rushton DH. Management of hair loss in women. Dermatol Clinic)

1) an article by Angela Mason, School of pharmacy, University of Portsmouth
4) the institute of trichologists
7) An article by By Tony Pearce RN, Consulting Trichologist, National Trichology Services
(and a lot more..)

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Female Hair Loss: Vitastim Serum Re-Growth System For The Treatment Of Women


The treatment of hair loss has been largely a men’s market up until now.  The stigma of hair loss in women is still great.  The estimated numbers of 30 million women suffering from hair loss are likely low as many women don’t acknowledge it’s happening to them until it’s too late.  We at The Hair Centre realised there was a great need for earlier awareness and treatment for “female pattern” hair loss.  

Our Female Hair Loss Vitastim Serum Re-Growth System of treatment for Women has been engineered to allow women to address “female pattern” hair loss early, comfortably and above all successfully. 


Minoxidil remains the only topical FDA approved hair loss treatment available for women, yet many have been hampered by the irritation of alcohol-based minoxidil, the only formulation available until present. 

Our Laboratories has successfully addressed the limitations of traditional minoxidil with true groundbreaking technology. Vitastim Serum is the only topical hair re-growth product for women to contain a provern Re-Growth stimulant like the FDA approved minoxidil and it is alcohol free.  Utilizing exclusive patented technology, Vitastim Serum delivers a vasodilator like minoxidil that is clinically proven to go deeper and last longer than traditional minoxidil solutions without the irritation and redness.

Vitastim Serum is formulated on a professional level to enhance the look and feel of thinning hair while working to maximize hair re-growth. Vitastim Serum Re-Growth System for Women redefines treatment options for women of all ages combating the frustrations of hair loss.

Our Laboratories are based in Surrey and have been pioneering unique Trichologically formulated professional grade hair loss treatments that utilize a variety of groundbreaking technologies and delivery systems for the past 35 years.

For more information on Vitastim Serum Re-Growth stimulant visit us online at or contact us directly on 020 7966 6868.


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Female Hair Loss: What Causes It?

04.02.2009 in FEMALE HAIR LOSS


It seems hard to believe but women can suffer from hair loss too. If you think old men are the only ones plagued with depleted scalps, think again. Female hair loss is very much a reality.

Female Pattern Baldness

In the medical field, female hair loss is most commonly known as female pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia. Surprisingly it has been discovered that in America, the ratio of women who have it those who don’t is 1:4. Although female hair loss can’t kill in itself as a condition, it can be troubling.

Females have always been traditionally viewed by society as creatures who should have full heads of beautiful hair. A woman who has a condition of female hair loss would therefore be seen as unusual.

Normal Hair Cycle

Hair resting and growing phases characterizes a normal hair cycle. In the anagen or growing phase, the hair develops healthily for a couple of years. After this, it will enter the telogen phase in which it will begin to rest for a number of months before falling off. Normally, 80%-90% of the hair is in the anagen phase, leaving only a comparatively small fraction in the telogen and shedding phase.

Among women who have female hair loss, it is obvious that a lot more than 10% of their hair strands are in the telogen phase. In female hair loss, something disturbs the normal cycle.

Cause of Female Hair Loss

- Female Hormones – Hormones play a big part in female hair loss. As some of us already know, both men and women have testosterone, a hormone which men normally have more of. In androgenetic alopecia, this hormone is acted upon by enzymes in the scalp that convert it into dihydrotestosteron (DHT).

The presence of DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink. This will eventually result to the loss of hair and the inability to grow new strands. In women, the action of DHT is regulated by the hormone estrogen. Female hair loss therefore normally occurs when a woman is in a state of hormonal imbalance. This can happen when a woman is in the menopausal stage or when she has just given birth. The condition can also strike when a woman is receiving hormonal treatment for an illness.

Pattern of Hair Loss

Although there is a similarity in the reason behind male and female hair loss conditions, there is a marked difference in appearance. Men usually develop bald spots. We are very much familiar with men eventually losing all hair strands on a particular area such as the top of the scalp. Female hair loss however is different. Women usually only have diffuse balding. This means that there is an observed general thinning of the hair strands resulting in some parts of the scalp becoming more noticeable through the remaining strands. A woman who develops bald spots like men may have a more serious condition that deserves medical attention.

Hair Loss Solution

Women with female hair loss now have the option of choosing from different effective products. Now that you know what causes the condition, the best solution is to find a product that can provide extra nutritional support to the female scalp and hair. Nutrients that have been discovered to be good for female hair loss are vitamin B6, biotin and magnesium. Of course, it also makes sense to take care of your health through proper diet and good lifestyle habits.

Learn the causes of female hair loss. Get the best female hair loss treatment now!

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The main cause of female hair loss

04.02.2009 in FEMALE HAIR LOSS

The external factors that may cause hair loss are an illness, medications, childbirth, trauma surgery and some other diseases. Exposure to chemicals and some elements may also be a cause, but such cases are rare and can almost always be diagnosed immediately.

Natural causes of female hair loss
People naturally shed hair every day of our lives. Our hair has a growth cycle of approximately two to six years, with one strand may grow continuously and are finally at the end of the cycle after a short rest. The natural cause of female hair loss is the end of the cycle in which the strands fall out. The follicles will grow another strand of hair and the cycle continues. The growth cycle for each strand is different, which is why we always have their hair every day of our lives.

Another cause of female hair loss may be the way women use their and dress it every day. They tie their hair in tight pony tails, hair can aggravate with the constant pressure of pulling the hair and cause these hairs to start dying out. This source can be easily remedied by giving your hair a break and just wearing it loose.

Another cause is a natural birth. In many cases, the pregnant releases hormones, the strengthening of women’s skin and hair. After birth, the loss of these hormones is the cause of female hair loss. Some women experience  a huge amout of hair loss and may lose several strands of hair at a time, while for others, it is minimal, and they will not even notice.

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