Is your hair's volume and thickness reducing by the day? If you've been noticing increasing hair fall, it could be a sign of iron deficiency.
"Iron is one of the most essential minerals that promote stronger and thicker hair growth, while its deficiency can result in anemia, followed by frustrating hair loss ,’’ says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
This article will help you determine if you are experiencing hair loss caused by iron deficiency. Also, check out prominent Ayurvedic ways to promote hair regrowth by nourishing your hair with iron naturally.
- Can Iron Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?
- What Does Iron Deficiency Hair Loss Look Like?
- Ayurvedic View Of Iron Deficiency Anemia
- Types of Iron Deficiency anemia And Their Symptoms As per Ayurveda
- How To Stop Iron Deficiency Hair Loss And Regrow Hair With Ayurveda?
- Will Your Hair Grow Back After Treating Iron Deficiency?
- What Should Your Iron Levels Be To Ensure Hair Growth?
- Who Is At Risk Of Iron Deficiency?
- What Happens If You Take Too Much Iron?
Can Iron Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?
Your body needs adequate iron to synthesize hemoglobin, which carries oxygen across tissues in your body, enabling them to function properly. Thus, hemoglobin delivers oxygen to your hair growth cells, stimulating the production of your hair strands.
The deficiency of iron leads to reduced oxygen-carrying capacity in your blood. In such a scenario, your body channels the available iron stored in non-essential tissues such as your hair bulb and vital organ tissues such as the heart, lungs, etc.
Without adequate ferritin (iron protein) in your hair bulb, the anagen (growth phase) of your hair growth cycle shortens, eventually leading to premature hair fall before reaching the maximum length.
What Does Iron Deficiency Hair Loss Look Like?
You may find hair loss due to iron deficiency similar to female or male pattern hair loss as your hair starts to shed off unusually. You may be experiencing iron deficiency hair loss if you have short, wispy hair strands around the hairline and temple region. You may also notice bald spots across your scalp in severe cases.
Ayurvedic View Of Iron Deficiency Anemia
As per Ayurveda, any disease is the manifestation of imbalance occurring in the three vital life energies: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas. In Ayurveda, iron deficiency can be correlated with the disease called 'Pandu'.
‘’Factors like extreme exercising, alcohol consumption, irregular sleep cycle, improper diet, etc. can hamper the dosha balance in your body. Especially, it elevates your digestive Pitta, causing indigestion and malabsorption of nutrients such as iron in your body. This, eventually results in issues like iron deficiency anemia and hair loss,’’ says Dr. Zeel.
Types of Iron Deficiency anemia And Their Symptoms As per Ayurveda
1. Vatic anemia is caused due to disrupted Vata dosha in your body, which is accompanied by dryness of the scalp and skin, black discoloration, tremors, reduced urination, etc.
2. Paittic anemia is caused due to disrupted Pitta dosha in your body, which is accompanied by yellow discoloration of the skin, severe thirst, diarrhea, fever, tingling sensation, etc.
3. Kaphaja anemia is caused due to disrupted Kapha dosha in your body, which is accompanied by white discoloration of the skin, nausea, oedema, drowsiness, heaviness, etc.
4. Tridoshic anemia is caused by vitiation of all three doshas and you may have mixed symptoms of the three types of anemia.
Hence, it is crucial to understand the condition of your Ayurvedic dosha levels to evaluate the causative factors and choose appropriate herbs to treat your iron deficiency hair loss.
How To Stop Iron Deficiency Hair Loss And Regrow Hair With Ayurveda?
Start combating your iron deficiency hair loss by opting for Ayurvedic hair oil and shampoo with iron-rich herbs that bring balance to your elevated doshas. Below are some of the most efficient Ayurvedic herbs you can seek in your hair care products that help you reverse iron deficiency hair loss.
A. Yashtimadhu (Licorice)
Yashtimadhu balances Vata and Pitta doshas. Besides nourishing your scalp tissues with iron, Yashtimadhu imparts a soothing effect on your scalp and reduces scalp irritation and infections.
B. Bhringraj (Eclipta Alba)
Bhringraj balances Vata and Kapha doshas. With rich iron levels, Bhringraj strengthens your hair follicles and prevents premature greying too.
C. Japa (Hibiscus)
Japa balances Kapha and Pitta doshas. It promotes healthy hair growth as well as stimulates new hair growth with its rich iron nourishing capabilities.
D. Amalaki (Indian gooseberry)
Amalaki balances all the three doshas, especially Pitta dosha. It increases blood circulation in your scalp tissues while the vitamin C in it enhances the iron absorption in your follicles.
E. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
Brahmi balances Vata and Kapha doshas. It treats dry and damaged scalp problems while providing deep nourishment to your scalp tissues.
F. Musta (Nutgrass)
Musta balances Kapha and Pitta doshas. It works on your sebaceous glands and boosts your hair regrowth.
G. Krishna Tila (Black sesame)
Krishna tila balances Vata, but aggravates Pitta dosha. Along with stimulating new hair growth by exceptional iron nourishment, it promotes melanocyte activity in your follicles.
H. Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)
Ashwagandha balances all the three doshas, especially Vata and Kapha doshas. With rich antioxidant and hormone balancing properties, Ashwagandha relieves you from hair fall issues and promotes new hair growth.
I. Triphala (Haritaki+Vibhataki+Amalaki)
Triphala balances all the three doshas. Besides restoring iron levels, it balances your scalp pH and promotes healthy hair growth.
J. Daruharidra (Indian Berberi)
Daruharidra balances Kapha and Pitta doshas. It also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that keep your scalp and hair away from various infections and irritants.
2. Home Remedies
Soak a few tsp of fenugreek seeds in water overnight and grind it into a smooth paste the next morning. Apply it to your hair roots and wash it off after 20 minutes.
B. Onion Juice
Dip a cotton ball in onion juice and dab it across your scalp. Then, massage your scalp for 2-5 minutes and leave it for 20 minutes before rinsing it off with an Ayurvedic shampoo. Repeat this on alternative days for the best results.
C. Garlic Juice
Extract juice by squeezing a few garlic cloves. Apply it to the hair thinning regions on your scalp and massage gently for 2-5 minutes. Then, wash it off thoroughly using normal water.
D. Ginger Juice
Grate ginger and extract 2 tsp of juice. Mix 3 tsp of olive or sesame oil into it and massage your scalp with it for 2-5 minutes. Leave it for half an hour before rinsing it off with water.
E. Black Pepper
Add 1 tsp of black pepper powder into 2 tsp of olive oil and apply it to your hair roots thoroughly. Massage your scalp for a few minutes and rinse it off using an Ayurvedic shampoo.
Ayurvedic practitioners recommend the following formulations based on your elevated doshas and severity of the illness to treat iron deficiency anemia:
A. Navayasa loha churna
B. Dhatri loha
F. Mandoora vatakam
K. Saptamrit loha churna
N. Punarnava mandoora
O. Punarnavashtaka kwatha
4. Foods To Eat And Avoid
Ayurveda focuses on a balanced diet to treat your iron deficiency. Depending on your elevated doshas, include the following foods, which are rich iron sources, in your regular meals.
- Dry fruits
- Seeds such as pumpkin, hemp, sesame, and flax
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach
- Whole grains
- Vegetables such as tomato, beetroot, beans (especially lima beans), peas, etc.
- Fruits such as apple, banana, pomegranate, etc.
- Red meat
- Organ meats, such as liver
Also, include vitamin C foods such as citrus fruits in your diet as it increases iron absorption in your body.
Avoid the following foods which make iron absorption harder in your body if you have iron deficiency:
A. Egg white
D. Tea (You can take herbal teas)
E. Soy protein
F. Foods with fiber content
Vedix Tip: We recommend vegans to strictly include foods with vitamin C in their diet as it improves the absorption of iron from plant foods. Also, vegans should avoid black tea as it interferes with iron absorption from plant sources.
Will Your Hair Grow Back After Treating Iron Deficiency?
"Definitely. Your hair starts to regrow normally once your iron deficiency is treated. However, it will take a few months to notice the regrowth of hair that is lost due to lower iron levels," says Dr. Zeel.
What Should Your Iron Levels Be To Ensure Hair Growth?
You will require a minimum of 50-70 nanograms of ferritin (the protein that stores iron) per milliliter serum in your body  for healthy hair growth.
Who Is At Risk Of Iron Deficiency?
In general, we can see that the people belonging to the following categories having an increased risk of iron deficiency:
Menstruation, childbearing, and delivery make women more susceptible to iron deficiency anemia.
Recent studies  have shown that about 59% of non-menopausal women experience hair loss caused by iron deficiency.
2. Infants and Children
Infants who were born prematurely, with a low weight, or were not breastfed enough are at higher risk of having iron deficiency. The same applies for children who lack a healthy and varied diet.
People who do not eat meat are more vulnerable in terms of sufficient iron levels in the body.
4. Frequent Blood Donors
Frequent blood donations depletes the iron stores in the body.
5. Poor Absorption Capacity
Certain medical conditions and intestinal diseases may interfere with iron absorption by diminishing the gastric acid production in your body.
What Happens If You Take Too Much Iron?
Consuming iron in exceeding levels may result in the following disorders:
1. Iron Poisoning
Excessive iron absorption in your body can have a corrosive effect on your gastrointestinal mucosa, which in turn results in abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Sometimes, this could also be fatal due to significant fluid and blood loss.
2. Hereditary Hemochromatosis
This is a genetic condition which results in over absorption of iron in the body. The over accumulation of iron harms the tissues of organs such as the heart, liver, pancreas, joints, skin, etc.
3. African Iron Overload
It is similar to hereditary hemochromatosis while the excess iron gets predominantly stored in the spleen, bone marrow, and liver.
4. Increased Risk Of Infections
Increased levels of iron in your body may raise the risk of infections as it can stimulate microbial growth in your body. Also, studies suggest that heme-iron overload may elevate the risk of colon cancer.
Gastrointestinal issues and constipation problems may arise when you take iron supplements directly. Hence, please consult your doctor to evaluate the need for taking supplements to resolve your iron deficiency. Also, we recommend you to consult your doctor before implementing any of the remedies discussed in this article to cure your iron deficiency hair loss.
The Last Word
Among the essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to your hair growth, iron has a significant role as it carries oxygen to your hair growth cells in the form of hemoglobin. The deficiency of iron not only causes hair loss but also results in a variety of complications in your body. Ayurveda brings you a collection of effective and iron-rich herbs which naturally promote voluminous and stronger hair growth. At Vedix, we customize the Ayurvedic hair care regimen for your unique hair needs by evaluating your dosha levels.Know Your Dosha Now