Ferritin and Hair Loss

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Ferritin and Hair Loss

Iron Physiology 101

Most of us know that low iron makes you tired. This is because you have to have iron in order to make enough hemoglobin, which is the part of your red blood cells that binds and transports oxygen. There are several forms of anemia, but one of the most common is iron deficiency anemia. Too little iron leads to too little oxygen, which leads to exhaustion. 

But there are several steps in the iron pathway before red blood cell count and size begins to decline, indicative of full-blown anemia. Ferritin, which is the storage form of iron, can be an early indication of a problem. 

The Connection Between Ferritin and Hair Loss

Your hair follicles actually store ferritin. When your body is short on iron for its essential functions (such as red blood cell production), it will steal it from the ferritin stored in less essential parts of the body, such as the hair follicle. 

If your ferritin levels are sufficient, a single hair grows five years on average before falling out and being replaced. If ferritin is insufficient, this life cycle gets shorter. Low ferritin also affects the hair’s ability to grow, and may change the hair’s texture, rendering it weaker, more brittle, and more resistant to curl. 

The Connection Between Ferritin and Thyroid

Another major cause of hair loss is hypothyroidism. Iron is also one of the key nutrients required for conversion of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid) to T3 (active thyroid), and iron deficiency increases the body’s tendency to produce more of the inactive reverse T3, rather than the active T3 hormone. 

What this means is that it is possible for a patient with low ferritin to have hypothyroid symptoms (complete with hair loss) and yet appear “normal” according to the standard TSH and T4 thyroid labs.

Causes of Iron Deficiency

  • Decreased absorption and depletion. This can occur with proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole, as well as prolonged ingestion of aspirin or NSAIDs. It can also occur with ingestion of too much coffee, black tea, manganese, fiber, calcium, magnesium, or phosphates (soda). This is why, if you take an iron supplement (see below), it’s important to do so on an empty stomach.
  • An hidden bleed. It’s always worth checking for this. Occult bleeds often show up in the GI tract, and screening may include a stool culture, colonoscopy, and/or an endoscopy.
  • Menstruation. Menses = iron loss, which means menstruating women are more likely to be at risk for ferritin-related hair loss. Women who bleed heavily are at even higher risk; if this is you, you’ll need to get your estrogen-to-progesterone ratio balanced as well.
  • SIBO. Overgrowth of gut flora in the intestines can also rob your body of iron, as certain bacteria use iron in their life cycles.

Adequate Ferritin Levels

Ferritin levels are considered normal for women between 10-120 ng/mL, and between 30-250 ng/mL for men. However, about 50-70 ng/mL are required to stop hair loss and for adequate hair regrowth. 

Iron in Food

One of several reasons I don’t tend to favor vegetarian and vegan diets is because iron deficiency is so common in these patients. Although iron can be found in plant-based foods such as nuts, raisins, prunes, and whole grains, it’s difficult to eat enough of these to achieve adequate iron intake, compared to usual portion sizes and iron concentrations in meat and poultry. I simply advocate choosing free range and grass fed meat sources over agriculture-industry meats.

Should You Supplement With Iron?

Definitely not unless you’ve been tested and are definitively low. Iron is one of those nutrients for which overdose is both possible and serious if it occurs. It’s also relatively hard to absorb, so it helps if it’s given on an empty stomach, in a non-constipating chelated form, along with certain other nutrients like Vitamin C that will aid in its absorption. 

It will take at least a few months and sometimes up to a year with ferritin at adequate levels before you are likely to see significant hair regrowth, so do your best to be patient.

If you have the opportunity to see a naturopathic doctor, please do so. It is always best to have someone to coordinate your care. However, if you have had your ferritin tested, if it is below 70 and if you are losing hair, I recommend this form of iron: it is gentler on the stomach and easier to absorb. Always re-check your ferritin levels in another 3 months.

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By | 2016-12-13T14:35:53+00:00 July 18th, 2014|Categories: Articles, Supplements|Tags: , , , |64 Comments

About the Author:

Dr. Lauren Deville is board-certified to practice medicine in the State of Arizona. She received her NMD from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ, and she holds a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the University of Arizona, with minors in Spanish and Creative Writing. She also writes fiction under a pen name in her spare time. Visit her author website at www.authorcagray.com.

64 Comments

  1. Pat October 19, 2016 at 11:26 am - Reply

    This article came as a Godsend to me. I have HCT and my Ferritin recently (June) dropped to 27 via my routine phlebotomy. My hair has been falling out and the texture changed dramatically as well. I had no idea why until I realized my Ferritin had dropped much lower than usual and found your article. Typically, I keep it between 50-70. Mystery solved. I’m obviously slowing down on my production of iron and will monitor my phlebs so I don’t get my Ferritin that low again. I don’t have to go bald to manage my HCT.

    Thank you

    • Dr. Lauren October 19, 2016 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      You’re very welcome Pat, glad to help! 🙂

  2. Tara October 23, 2016 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    i just found out i am anemic and my ferritin level is 3. my hair is falling out really bad and i am so tired. i started taking ferrous sulfate 325mg but i was wondering if there is something i can take to raise my ferritn levels fast to help with hair loss. Thank you

    • Dr. Lauren October 26, 2016 at 5:30 pm - Reply

      Hi Tara, I would see your doctor about iron injections. It will get your levels up much faster.

  3. Nate October 24, 2016 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Hi Dr. Lauren,

    I’m a 29 year old healthy male who has been on a clean paleo/bulletproof diet for almost five years now. However, my last blood test came up with ferritin levels of 240ng/ml which I know is on the high end.

    I don’t supplement with iron or use cast iron cookware but do take vitamin C regularly. I have long hair and have noticed small amounts coming out in the shower and when brushing. I love my hair and want to do everything I can to keep it on my head!

    Are iron levels this high a concern for hair loss? I know deficiency gets more attention but I have also read iron overload can contribute as well.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Dr. Lauren October 26, 2016 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Hi Nate, if you’re not taking iron and your ferritin is that high, I’d recommend asking your doctor to screen you for sources of inflammation–ferritin is what’s called an “acute-phase reactant,” meaning it can go high when the body is stressed out. Not saying there’s necessarily anything to find, but it’s worth further investigation. The high iron itself most likely won’t cause hair loss, but if it’s a sign of inflammation somewhere else, then the underlying cause might.

  4. Bapsy October 25, 2016 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Wow, why did I not find this article before? I’ve been battling hair-loss for the last 3 years. My doctors don’t seem to care much. They have tested me for thyroid, hormone imbalances and such but they just call and say normal. I am going through the specific available numbers that I do have and my ferritin was 12.1 ng/mL in 2013 and 6.8 ng/mL in 2015. How in the world did they not pay attention to these levels? 6.8 is an extremely low number!! I’ll do my best to up my intake of iron strong food.

    • Dr. Lauren October 26, 2016 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      Hi Bapsy, definitely increase your iron foods, and with those levels, you probably are gonna need to supplement with it too! I’d ask your doctor to monitor your ferritin every few months as you supplement to see your progress.

  5. Yami October 27, 2016 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    I was told by my doctor that I was anemic and my iron was low. They gave me iron pills. Not only that I also was diagnosed with aloepcia. A few months I noticed I had a bald spot and when I take a shower my hair falls out a little and when I brush my hair a few hair falls out as well. Is this normal because of my iron and Aloepcia? When will my hair start falling? I am growing hair back on my bald patches.

  6. Yami October 27, 2016 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    I meant that when will my hair STOP falling. Is their anything I can do to help my iron and hair hair. It is stressful to see my hair fall out.

    THANK YOU. PLEASE HELP

    • Dr. Lauren October 30, 2016 at 7:07 am - Reply

      Hi Yami,

      If the cause of alopecia is JUST low iron, then your hair will stop falling out when the ferritin levels (iron stores) get above 50. So it depends on how low you were to begin with. Sometimes it can take months, so be patient! I would also ask your doctor to check your ferritin level every few months to see your progress.

      It’s also possible to have multiple causes of hair loss–if that’s the case, then you’d need to get other causes (hypothyroidism, autoimmune alopecia, high androgens) assessed and addressed as well!

  7. Kristen November 5, 2016 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    My hair has been falling out dramatically for over a year now. My ferritin was just tested at 63……my TSH 3.65…. I noted from your above comment that hair should stop falling once ferritin hits 50. Does this mean that my cause isn’t ferritin ?

    • Dr. Lauren November 11, 2016 at 5:37 pm - Reply

      Hi Kristen — yes, that’s correct, though above 70 is necessary for re-growth. TSH at 3.65 sounds like thyroid is the issue — most people at that level are symptomatic. (I shoot for 0.5-1.5 and ignore reference ranges, but I also check fT3 and fT4 to confirm.)

  8. Kimmie November 13, 2016 at 4:10 am - Reply

    My hair has been shedding for over a year now, I was told telogen effluvium, my ferritin was 17 in November 2015 and was given an eight week course of iron but I have not been tested for my ferritin since, do you think my ferritin can still be low ??

    • Dr. Lauren November 14, 2016 at 7:43 am - Reply

      Almost certainly you still are low. 17 is definitely low enough to account for hair loss, and it takes at least 90 days to get stores back up (the life cycle of the red blood cell). If you’re that low it might take more like 6 months. I’d definitely get it re-tested.

      • Kimmie November 14, 2016 at 12:22 pm - Reply

        Thankyou….I struggle to get my doctors to do these tests, it’s so frustrating they just don’t seem to care that I’m losing my hair. I went to a trichologist who also says telogen effluvium and she gave me iron tablets and I have changed my diet to be more healthy, can you advise if I should be doing anything else ? My biggest fear is female pattern hair loss, but trichologist said definitely not, but I still fear this, I am 42 x

        • Dr. Lauren November 23, 2016 at 5:20 pm - Reply

          It depends on how long you’ve been on the iron tablets. It takes awhile to get stores back up. I know some labs will allow patients to just walk in and pay cash for tests they want done so they don’t have to have a doctor’s orders — you might google around for one of those in your area to check ferritin. If it’s still well below 50 then I’d stay the course and re-check in a few months. If it’s not coming up with iron tablets, then I’d do more extensive testing — find out if you’re not absorbing, if you have some kind of organism eating up all your iron that you need to kill, etc.

  9. Pat November 14, 2016 at 9:07 am - Reply

    I’m glad to see renewed interest in this topic, in part, due to my initial comment on October 19, 2016 to your article written in 2014. It’s now nearly a month later and I can see improvement already, hair has stopped shedding and texture is improving. I had originally stated my Ferritin went down to 27, well, it was actually 21. Due to my HCT, the iron will build on its own and I will closely monitor it going forward. My main reason for this follow-up is tell others to be patient and they will see results. Ferritin is usually slow to rise and they may need additional help with iron supplements.

    Lastly, having been diagnosed with HCT > 25 years ago, I’m sill amazed that I did not know Ferritin was stored in the hair. I thought I knew everything about this disease and its critical components. I’m happy to know how closely related it is to hair health and how I can manage it more closely to keep it in the proper range to keep my hair healthy and growing and my thyroid functioning well too. Thanks again for your important article.

    • Dr. Lauren November 14, 2016 at 11:21 am - Reply

      Thanks for the follow up, Pat! So glad you are seeing results!

  10. Melissa November 17, 2016 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    My hair has been falling out drastically over the last 6 months, I have lost over 50% of my hair. I had my ferritin tested and it came back at 42. My doctor prescribed me iron polysaccharide 150mg once a day. After a month of taking these I had my ferritin tested again and it had gone down further to 38. Why would it go down when on iron supplements? Are these levels low enough to be the cause of hair loss? I have been taking them for 1.5 mo this now and have not seen any improvement at all in my hair loss. How long should I wait before considering another type of supplement?

    • Dr. Lauren November 23, 2016 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      My suspicion would be malabsorption. I would do a stool culture (to find out a) if you’re not absorbing, and b) if there’s an organism causing it), and would also send you for iron shots at this point — because yes, that is low enough to cause hair loss for sure. I’m assuming you’ve also been worked up for your thyroid and you aren’t having a ton of stress (adrenal fatigue) that might also be contributing factors.

  11. Michael November 30, 2016 at 2:13 am - Reply

    Dr. Lauren thank you for all your information on this article. I am 22 year old male who recently past year just started noticing more and more hair fall in the shower. My hairline naturally had a little notch in it but it has gotten a lot bigger, with some thinning overall as well. No one on either side of parents is bald, I know deep down inside it isn’t just male pattern baldness, but as a human it is hard to sometimes not jump to the worst conclusions. I have been vegetarian since age 16 and admittedly haven’t eaten the greatest. Gut feeling, I think it might just be years of poor eating habits catching up to me and now as a late bloomer am finally having bodily changes that maybe require higher iron stores in my body. I got a blood test and my ferritin was 21 and my doctor started me on iron supplements at my suggestion. It has been about 4 weeks don’t really notice much but now after reading what you said I will give it a much larger timeline and try not to stress about it. Also I find it very interesting what you said about the red blood cell 90 day life cycle, I never really thought about it like that.

    But I am commenting because I was wondering a couple things. One being, seems everything I’ve read on internet has to do with premenopausal women. Can I be effected by low ferritin hair loss as well? So in your opinion do you think I can possibly recover and regrow some of this lost hair from hairfall, or at least just get it to stop? Like other comments above mentioned, my doctor seemed to just brush it off. I genuinely appreciate all your feedback and taking the time to answer these comments.

    • Dr. Lauren December 2, 2016 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      Hi Michael — post-menopausal women definitely have issues with ferritin, but men can as well. It just gets less attention because male pattern baldness is a more common cause in men. I’d get your ferritin re-checked in at least another two months (three total) to make sure you’re headed in the right direction. You also might consider something like this: https://shop.drlaurendeville.com/products/hair-effects, because if your diet has been poor, there might be other nutrients at play in your hair loss. (Bonus: this product also helps to block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is implicated in male pattern hair loss.)

  12. stephanie perrett December 8, 2016 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    Hi Dr. Lauren!
    I have been losing hair for several months now. I have seen a dermatologist, internist, rhuematologist about the hair loss and low vitamin D levels. The hair loss is continuing despite taking supplements such as biotin, vitamin D, b12.
    During all of my blood work I have had a ferritin level of 400 on 4 occasions. It is consistently at that level on all blood work from all of the dr.s
    My questions is, could it be what is causing my hair loss?
    The Dr.’s say it is a sign of inflammation but all auto-immune tests came back fine. They do not seemed worried about it.
    I am unable to give blood due to one of the prescriptions they have me on for hair loss(propecia) without orders from a Dr.
    I am a 52 year old female, hysterectomy 5 years ago.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks so much!

    • Dr. Lauren December 14, 2016 at 11:25 am - Reply

      Hi Stephanie, Ferritin is an acute phase reactant, meaning it elevates in the presence of inflammation. Most of the time, if it doesn’t mean you’re acutely sick, it means there’s fatty liver disease (http://www.drlaurendeville.com/articles/obesity-nonalcoholic-fatty-liver-disease/). I’d ask your doctor for an ultrasound of your liver to check for this. Since NAFLD almost always is associated with insulin resistance, I’d check fasting insulin levels too. This can disturb hormones and potentially cause hair loss. That would be my guess.

  13. Navneet kaur December 8, 2016 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Since last three months, i am having pain in scalp like inflammation and massive hair fall but with no visible sign. I have used special dandruff treatment still no results, pain is less but not gone even after three months of treatment. Yes, my ferritin was really low, like 5. I started tablets a month ago and it waa improved but I still don’t know the cause of my scalp pain. Please suggest

  14. Marie December 10, 2016 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Hello Dr. Lauren,
    Thank you for this valuable information. I have been experiencing hair loss for a few years and was previously diagnosed with anemia and prescribed a course of ferritin. My iron stores went up and I was advised to discontinue the treatment. But my hair continued to fall out. I recently had blood tests and see that my ferritin level is 6. In explaining the results the Dr said my other anemia markers were perfect so I should not be concerned. After reading this article and other material online, I am alarmed. It all makes sense that my hair continues to fall out. Should I go back and ask for iron shots even though I technically don’t meet the criteria for Anemia? I am relatively healthy and will be adjusting my diet to eat more iron rich food in a way that would enhance absorption. But with such a low ferritin level I think I need a strong boost.
    Marie

    • Dr. Lauren December 14, 2016 at 11:28 am - Reply

      If I were you, at bare minimum I would continue iron supplementation orally, but if you were my patient I’d say you are a candidate for shots, yes. Ferritin of 6 is VERY low.

  15. […] often results from autoimmunity, hypothyroidism, or deficiency in the storage form of iron, called ferritin. Women may also suffer from androgenic hair loss, often associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome […]

  16. Ragini Darji December 17, 2016 at 10:49 am - Reply

    I’m Ragini, my ferritin level is 10 my hair is lots of falling out really bad and I am so tired. I started taking ferikind folic acid tablets what can I do to increase my ferritin level fast to help with hair loss. I’m tensed because hairfall. Please help me..

    • Dr. Lauren December 17, 2016 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      Hi Ragini. If you want to get your levels up fast, I’d see your doctor and request iron shots. It’s much faster than oral supplementation.

  17. Sarah December 20, 2016 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    Hello Dr Lauren
    My hair had been gradually thinning all over scalp for around 9 years I didn’t know but id been suffering from low ferritin after a big operation 9 years ago! I’ve not supplemtented in all of that time as I didn’t know I had too?! I suffer from ovarian cysts can these cause excess androgens?! my ferritin has just started to climb and last testing was 68. The shedding has stopped but my hair is still very thin and has a cotton candy texture …. There is new growth but doesn’t seem to be growing much in length yet?! I had my thyroid tested also and had high reverse t3 and t4 was 4.25 –
    I don’t know where to start with it all and want to make sure I’m on the right path ?!

    • Dr. Lauren December 23, 2016 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Sarah — glad you’re getting your ferritin up. Yes, cysts can cause excess androgens, so I would get those tested, and reverse T3 is also an issue! I’d check this out (http://www.drlaurendeville.com/articles/wilsons-syndrome-treating-slow-metabolism/) and try to see a naturopath near you to help you sort it out.

      • Sarah Youngman December 24, 2016 at 3:03 am - Reply

        Hello Dr Lauren
        Thank you for your reply ! If it is androgen driven is there anything I can do to reverse the thinning?!
        Is there anything natural I can take to prevent the androgens binding to the follicles ?! The thinning is diffused?!
        Thank you for your reply X
        I have read about Wilsons syndrome but not sure who in the UK could and would prescribe t3
        Also doesn’t sometimes low progesterone cause low Basel body temp?’ I had read this somewhere?!

        • Dr. Lauren December 27, 2016 at 1:38 pm - Reply

          If it’s androgen driven there are prescription meds and also things like saw palmetto that block them, but you’d also need to treat PCOS because that is likely the cause if you have high androgens. Progesterone does increase heat generation but not enough to have a significant effect — it’s only a few tenths of a point. The problem there is likely thyroid. If you go to Dr Denis Wilson’s website you should be able to find practitioners near you who can treat Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome.

  18. Hana December 25, 2016 at 12:03 am - Reply

    Hi dear doctor ..
    For about 2 years i have problem with my stomuch (erosive esophagitis and mild esophageal candidiasis )but now i loss most of my hair especialy on the top.
    Do you think the coz belong for stomach broblem ?
    Now i am using nexium 20mg twice
    Help me to resolve this problem
    Best regards

  19. pallavi Chaudhari December 27, 2016 at 3:23 am - Reply

    My hemoglobin level was 6.5 and my hairs are falling faster day by day it has became 1/3 my hairs are falling from root what precautions should I do to prevent it and what diet should I take to prevent it faster..plz help me out

  20. Claire January 8, 2017 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    Hi

    I wasn’t feeling great and noticed some hair loss Feb (2016) so went to the dr who did blood tests. My ferritin level was at 8 so Dr prescribed me ferrous fumarate 210mg which I take 3 daily. In May my levels were 36. I went to a hair specialist who advised to take boots multi vitamins as well as the iron supplement. In August my levels were 40 and November 52. Levels are rising which is the main thing but very slow. My hair is still falling out but not sure if it’s shredding the same. I am worried that I will loose all my hair as the front has receded by an inch and very thin throughout! How long will my hair take to start growing in and will I loose all my hair?

    I am exercising 3 times a week and eating more fruit, meat, veg, spinach and cereal. Is there anything else I can do to speed things up?

    Also is it safe to colour my hair as I’m afraid it will make more hair fall out.

    Many thanks in advance

    • Dr. Lauren January 13, 2017 at 4:28 pm - Reply

      Hi Claire, You are at the level where hair should stop falling out (50) because of ferritin. If you’re still losing hair, and especially if you’re having receding hair in the front, you probably have another issue: my guess is, androgens. I’d ask your doctor to check testosterone (free and total), DHEA, DHT, LH and FSH. Hair regrowth should begin once you’ve corrected all the underlying issues. If you color your hair, I’d definitely go with an organic color.

      • Claire January 17, 2017 at 1:54 pm - Reply

        Hi,

        Thank you, my hair is pretty much thinning all through just more noticeable at the front. There are little fine hairs popping though but not sure if that’s new growth or not.

        Can I ask is it ok to take spirulina as a supplement as well as the iron tablets I am on. I believe spirulina is a natural remedy full of goodness. My only concern is will I be taking too much iron?

        Many thanks.

        • Dr. Lauren January 20, 2017 at 5:12 pm - Reply

          I’d be more concerned about the total amount of iron you’re taking (as an iron tablet) than the amount you would get in food or in a whole food supplement like spirulina. I wouldn’t be concerned that spirulina would push you over the edge.

  21. Wasi January 12, 2017 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Hi dr lauren i am 25 male and i just complted my tuberculosis 9 month of treatment 3 month ago. And now id did blood test and my hemoglobin was normal but mcv mch was slightly low so i did again ferritin test and it is 41 while normal lab range is 29 to 250. And my hair are thinning badly and sheding also and prenature greying as well. Please help me that 41 ferrtitin is the main cause of sheding and thinning . Thnnx alot

    • Dr. Lauren January 13, 2017 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Wasi — sounds like you have more going on, if you just completed a TB treatment. While ferritin is too low, I suspect there are underlying causes to your hair loss. I would ask your doctor to run more comprehensive tests, ask about side effects to meds you have been on, etc.

  22. James January 13, 2017 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    Hi I’ve been experiencing hair loss over the past few months. I got blood test done and they came back with serum ferritin results of 563 ug/L. Is this high enough to cause hair loss? What is the optimum min and max level for hair growth?

    • Dr. Lauren January 20, 2017 at 5:09 pm - Reply

      Hi James, You should have further tests done — ferritin is an acute phase reactant and can indicate inflammation somewhere else in your body. It might be that the underlying cause of the inflammation is your issue…

  23. Judy January 27, 2017 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Hi, Dr. Lauren:

    I have been suffering from hair loss. As a result, I decided to go to the dermatologist. She sent me to do some blood-work and I did. When I went back to her office, she told me that the results were normal.She gave it to me. I see that my ferritin level is 25 NG/ML.

    I went to my general doctor to do some blood-work and my doctor told the results were normal. I see that hemoglobin is 12.2 from a scale of (12.0-16.0 G/DL). In addition, I see that the RBC is 3.93 in a scale from (4.20-5.40 M/UL) This means that my red blood cells are low.

    I went to the dermatologist to do a skin biopsy and she called me for the results. She told “You have some type of mild androgenetic alopecia” I don’t know. My family does not suffer from hair loss. My father and my mother have hair.

    I am thinking it is my iron. Since my hair loss began, I started to have chapped lips. Now I am taking ferrous fulmate, an iron supplement, and the problem with the chapped lips is gone. Now I haven’t see results in my hair shedding. At the beginning I noticed changes because I was taking two pills daily, but then I stopped taking the supplements.

    Any advice … Also, I didn’t went to pick up my scalp biopsy results because I was so depressed!

    I am only 22 years old and I am too young to suffer from this.

    • Dr. Lauren February 5, 2017 at 2:50 pm - Reply

      Hi Judy- yes, definitely sounds to me like iron is your problem! You are overtly anemic and ferritin of 25 is much too low to stop hair loss. Stick with it!

  24. ISHAQ January 29, 2017 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Hi, im ishaq age is 24, last 4 years hair fall problem…per day 50-100 hair is lefting…last weak i have consul a doctor…he will check it and said ferritin level is low…and the stage of hair fall is 2-3…but i would not continue with the doctor prescription because consulting fee is soo high im from poor family…that y im asking to you…what are the medicines i want to take and what are all foods i want take to improve the ferritin level…please help me

    • Dr. Lauren February 5, 2017 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Ishaq, if your ferritin is low then you will want to consume iron rich foods (mostly found in animal products) and probably supplement with iron, asking your doctor to monitor ferritin levels about every 3 months.

  25. prami January 30, 2017 at 3:26 am - Reply

    hello mam my ferratin level is 9 der is a severe hair fall follicles have become so weak daily 200
    to 300 hair shredding i am so tensed wat should i do mam doctor gave me iron capsules even though i am using der is no use i am getting bald all r laughing at me plz reply to me mam i request u its my humble req

    • Dr. Lauren February 5, 2017 at 2:54 pm - Reply

      Hi Prami — with ferritin that low, you’ll have to stick with supplementing iron for months before you see results I’m afraid. Ask your doctor to re-check about every 3 months!

  26. Vlady February 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    Dear Dr.Lauren.I am so happy that I’ve found this forum. My story: I am 59 y.o. male who had the best ,thickest hair for 54 years without any sign of MPB.In january 2011 at age 53 my ferritin level was 129 (20-380), in sept.2011 for no reason I started having diarrhea which could not be stopped until 6 mo later. I don’t have ferritin results for every year after 2011.but I will show what I have .Jan 2012-HEMOGLOBIN 12.9(13.2-15.5), Dec.2013 HGB11.0 (11.5-16.5)
    Jan 2015 HMG 10.5(13.2-17.1)MCV 73.5(80.0-100.0),MCH 22.6(27.0-33.0),MCHC 30.8(32.0-36.0),RDW17.4(11.0-15.0)
    Apr.2015 ferritin 20(20-380), Jan.2016 ferritin 16(20-380),May 2016 ferritin 22(20-380)
    In March 2012 I began TRT. Sometimes in 2013-2014 I started to notice my hair loss,it was a shock, I checked all my hormones levels many times over last 5 years and everything was within normal. my DHT was between 29 and 38(16-79),I had 2 hair transplant surgerys done in oct.2014 and oct 2015.I tried Rogaine,Nizoral shampoo.Biotin and I still losing my hair. Now THANKS to you,I understand why!To make things worse I kept vegetarian diet for almost 1.5year.LOL. Dear doctor Lauren please answer on a few of my questions.Do you think when I will get my ferritin level over70 my hair will start to regrow? If it will start to grow,wil all of my hair come back? Does hair die or just asleep? Does the time period of hair loss 4-5 years in my case make a difference?How long will it take to get all of hair back in my case? Sorry for the long post and THANKS a lot for opening my eyes! Not a one doctor told me that low FERRITIN is a reason for a hair loss,Vlady

    • Dr. Lauren February 5, 2017 at 2:59 pm - Reply

      Hi Vlady, I’m glad you found it helpful! Hair regrowth usually does begin over 70, and unless you have some other cause for hair loss, it should come back. The time period shouldn’t make a difference unless, again, you have some other cause in addition to low iron. Sometimes it can take months or even up to a year, so be patient and keep checking your ferritin and CBC to make sure the anemia is corrected as well!

  27. Mark February 3, 2017 at 6:28 am - Reply

    Hi Dr. Lauren,

    I am happy I found this site. My beautiful wife of 19 years (she is 41) has been losing her hair for some time. Her hair isn’t getting thinner, it is just falling out. The texture seems the same, it isn’t wispy or thin (maybe a little brittle). It’s as if the hairs just decided to stop growing. I find it all over the place. And I only noticed this because her part is wider than it used to be. Her hairline has not changed although I do notice she seems to have a lot of shorter hairs at the hairline, maybe about an inch or two long, normal texture but it just seems strange they don’t seem to grow longer. She does have a history of low iron. This is a sensitive subject for her. Thank you.

    • Dr. Lauren February 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      Hi Mark — it’s a sensitive subject for a lot of women, I can certainly understand! Sounds to me like she needs to get her ferritin checked– I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if that is her problem.

  28. navneet February 7, 2017 at 2:36 am - Reply

    Dear Dr.Lauren, Thanks for your Ferritin suggestion. I have started iron supplements(dosage as per my GP) from last three months. I recently visited my home country India and hair fall stopped immediately now that I am back to Germany after couple of weeks, my hairfall is back too. I don’t understand why is it back because I am still taking my supplements. Looking forward to your help.

    • Dr. Lauren February 10, 2017 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      Hmm. That sounds like there’s more going on than ferritin — stress perhaps? A diet change?

  29. Charlie S. February 8, 2017 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Hello,

    Your article is great. I have been battling hair loss, chronic telogen effluvium as diagnosed by dermatologist, for 10 months. Shedding started w/ very large shed in April 2016 and has since continued. I am 26, exercise for a living (2-3x a day), eat a vegetarian diet, but a very clean diet. Have been trying to increase my fat by eating nuts (walnuts, hemp seeds) trying to get 50g fat daily. I get adequate protein, about 80-110 grams daily through eggs, greek yogurt, beans, protein powder. My ferritin was 11 at first, went on iron supplements to increase to 40/50ish, then stopped. I had a colonoscopy late December 15, hair fell out 3 months after that and changing my diet excluding greek yogurt and legumes, but since changing my diet back, still continues to fall out. All vitamin levels are normal, thyroid on low end but normal (my derm, internist and endocrinologist not concerned) and insulin normal, however, hormones like LH/FSH/estrogen are low. Also on the pill.

    Would you suggest this is a ferritin problem, am I stressing my body with exercise too much, not eating enough fat? I was wondering about ferritin too…after I got it up to 40/50, do I have to stay on supplement to keep it up? I also have IBS, making it hard to absorb such nutrients, correct? I have another ferritin test ordered today. If it has lowered or has stayed at 40/50, do you suggest going back on supplement w/ my doctor’s permission?

    I am worried this will not stop or be FPHL and not CTE… Your opinion is be GREATLY appreciated!!!!

    Best,
    Charlie S.

    • Dr. Lauren February 10, 2017 at 5:07 pm - Reply

      Hi Charlie — if you’re vegetarian, then yes, unfortunately chances are you’re going to have to stay on an iron supplement to keep your ferritin high enough to prevent hair loss. You’re also right that IBS may be contributing, especially if the cause is overgrowth of bacteria or yeast in your gut, as they will use what iron you do have in their life cycle. Birth control may exacerbate this process, since it predisposes you to gut flora imbalance. I’d suggest a comprehensive stool culture to see what’s going on in your gut, as well as monitoring your ferritin.

  30. Cheryl February 9, 2017 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Dr. Lauren –

    Very interesting website!! I am a 48-year old female, with significant hair loss all over my scalp, but especially noticeable at the temples and on the top and crown areas.

    My current ferritin level is 57 ug/L. Can you please tell me if Vitamin C and/or L-Lysine help the body absorb ferritin?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Dr. Lauren February 10, 2017 at 5:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Cheryl, Vitamin C does help absorb iron. Your ferritin is high enough that you shouldn’t be continuing to lose hair for that reason, though you’re not quite in regrowth range. Given the locations of your hair loss, I’d suspect more of a hormonal cause — particularly androgens. I’d suggest checking testosterone free and total, DHEA, DHT (dihydrotestosterone), and sex hormone binding globulin to see if you can ferret it out!

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