Doctor advises what to eat to help an iron deficiency
Iron deficiency anaemia means the body is lacking in iron. This health condition could cause clumps of hair to fall out in the shower, or when you’re brushing it. However, there are other signs too.
The NHS said the four most common symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia are:
- Tiredness and lack of energy
- Shortness of breath
- Noticeable heartbeats (heart palpitations)
- Pale skin
Other symptoms can include: headaches, tinnitus, food tasting strange and feeling itchy.
Moreover, a person with iron deficiency anaemia may have a sore tongue.
The national healthy body adds that the condition can also lead to peculiar food cravings for non-food items, such as paper.
Less common signs of the condition include painful sores in the corners of the mouth, spoon-shaped nails or restless leg syndrome.
What causes iron deficiency anaemia?
For women of reproductive age, heavy menstrual bleeding can cause this health condition.
For post-menopausal women and men, it could be a sign of “bleeding in the stomach and intestines”.
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This can be caused by a number of reasons, including stomach ulcers, piles, cancer and swelling of the large intestine.
How iron deficiency anaemia is linked to hair loss
Medical News Today explained iron is an “essential component in an enzyme called ribonucleotide reductase”.
Ribonucleotide reductase helps cell growth, with research noting that hair follicle cells can be “particularly sensitive to decreasing levels of iron”.
Thus, hair follicle cells “may not be able to grow new cells as effectively when iron stores are low”.
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Fortunately, research suggests that iron deficiency hair loss “seems to be related to hair loss that doesn’t scar the hair follicles”.
This means that there is “promising” opportunity for hair regrowth once the underlying medical condition is treated.
Your GP can arrange a blood test for you to check your iron levels in your body.
Treatment for iron deficiency anaemia can include prescribed iron supplements.
“A person should always talk to their doctor before taking iron supplements because they can cause severe side effects,” cautioned Medical News Today.
If you’re found to be deficient in iron, the doctor may recommend iron injections.
Consuming more iron in the diet can also help to increase levels of iron in the body.
Iron-rich foods include:
- Leafy, green vegetables, such as watercress and curly kale
- Foods fortified with iron
The NHS also suggests cutting back on certain foods and drinks that can make it harder for your body to absorb iron. These include:
- Milk and dairy
“Hair loss caused by a medical condition usually stops or grows back once you have recovered,” said the NHS.
If hair loss isn’t due to an underlying medical condition, then the use of minoxidil is recommended.
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