Anemia and Hair Loss: What’s the Connection?

Simply put, anemia is a condition caused by inadequate amounts of iron in the body. Anemia is characterized by various symptoms such as tiredness and fatigue, pale skin, headaches, getting breathless easily and many others. If left untreated, anemia could also lead to certain complications. Other symptoms of anemia can also be brittle nails and hair loss. In this article, we try to find the extent of relationship between anemia and hair loss.

The link between hair loss and anemia

Various studies have linked hair loss to anemia; i.e. identified iron deficiency as the underlying cause of some types of hair loss. Many experts screen patients for anemia when they come to them with reports of hair loss. Doctors and medical practitioners find that even if there is another underlying cause for the hair loss, the iron deficiency makes it worse.


In general it is found that women suffering hair loss tend to have lower iron stores in their bodies than do women with normal hair. Since hair is very fast growing it is possible that it needs more iron to grow. Women who have very heavy periods could have lower than necessary iron levels and may suffer from anemia and may also experience hair loss. Some nutritional deficiencies could be caused by some diets, such as vegan diets as well, some experts observe.

Can iron supplements be a solution for hair loss?

Many doctors use iron supplements as a solution for some types of hair loss. While simply having iron supplements will not reverse hair loss in every case, this treatment is known to help the body maximize its ability to re-grow hair when anemia had caused the hair loss in the first place. The supplements could have the beneficial impact of either helping to regrow the hair or arrest excessive shedding of hair.

It is always a good idea to try and increase the amount of iron that is naturally derived from food. Eat foods that are rich in iron such as lentils, spinach, lean red meat, raisins and so on. However it is not a good idea to presume that if you’re losing hair it is caused by iron deficiency because a proper diagnosis as to the real, underlying cause of hair loss is vitally important. And it is certainly not a good idea to start on an iron supplement without your doctor’s say-so. Too much iron build up in the body can actually be harmful and the supplements could cause other problems such as constipation, dark stools and so on.