Who says that healthy hair growth is all about proper hair care? What you are consuming on a daily basis is equally important too. While external care is critical to the growth and development of our mane, we also can’t ignore the way nutrients are influencing its overall health. Iron is one of such essential nutrients that promote our hair growth while taken in moderation. Studies have found that the deficiency of iron in our body can lead to poor hair follicles, which prevent the healthy growth of the strands and eventually make them fall out. So, in this post, we are going to talk about the hair benefits of iron, how it should be taken, and the possible side effects of an overdose. Keep reading:
How Does Iron Help In Hair Growth?
It is said that healthier hair is ensured by stronger hair roots. If you want to grow out your hair healthy, you have to take great care of the roots so that they become able to hold on the shafts and let them develop over time. Nutrition plays a vital role in strengthening our hair roots and among all other nutrients, iron is the key. The deficiency of iron in our body is called anemia and it is extremely common, especially in women, across the globe.
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The blood of an anemic person lacks a sufficient number of Red Blood Cells (RBCs) due to a variety of reasons, such as less consumption of iron-rich foods, poor iron absorption in the body, heavy menstruation, pregnancy, hemorrhage / blood loss, chronic ailments, etc. When the number of RBCs becomes low, the hemoglobin (a globular metalloprotein containing iron) present in them also goes lower. Being the primary oxygen transporter in our body, hemoglobin is known to carry oxygen to our hair roots along with other essential nutrients in order to keep the functions of the follicles intact and ensure the overall growth and wellness of our locks.
However, as the RBC counts go lower in our blood during anemia, the hemoglobin levels fall under normal so as the level of iron. As a result, the hair follicles on the scalp don’t get enough nutrients and oxygen to stay active, which stops hair growth and eventually causes hair fall.
How To Take Iron For Hair Growth?
There are two ways to include more iron in your regular diet for the growth of hair:
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- Iron-Rich Foods: The easiest way to increase iron levels in our body is to consume iron-rich foods in adequate portions. It might be a bit challenging sometimes as the iron we get from foods are not always absorbed well. Here are some of the best natural dietary sources of iron for your consideration: red meat, lean beef, chicken liver, egg yolk, fish eggs, oysters, clams, kidney beans, lentils, nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.), green leafy vegetables (spinach, parsley, etc.), dry fruits (raisins, peaches, prunes, apricots, etc.), broccoli, potatoes, squashes, beetroots, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, molasses, cereals, chocolate (in moderate quantity), and so on.
- Iron Supplements: When consuming enough iron-rich foods becomes tough due to some reasons, iron supplements can come to your rescue. There are pills and tablets that can provide plenty of the mineral to our body cells including hair roots and promotes the growth of hair to a great extent.
In order to make the most of the mineral iron for hair growth, you should receive it both dietary and supplemental ways. Consult a professional and get your blood tested to confirm iron deficiency. You may need to undergo Ferritin, TIBC (Total Iron Binding Capacity), Transferrin Saturation, and Serum Iron tests to find out and analyze the levels of iron in your body. Based on the reports and your requirements, the doctor will prescribe you the best foods and supplements to combat anemia and stimulate your hair growth. Also, try to take your iron pills along with any form of vitamin C as it will increase the absorption of the mineral, thereby helping us reap the maximum benefits.
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Risks Of Iron Overdose
When it comes to supporting hair growth with iron intake, the right dosage should always be followed. The recommended daily dose of iron for an adult woman is 14-15 mg. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a woman with proven iron deficiency should consume 60-120 mg of elemental iron daily to replenish her iron stores. But, do not consume too much iron or continue the treatment for more than 6 months (by this time, the hemoglobin concentration in our blood usually gets improved) as an overdose of the mineral might be dangerous for you. Studies have found that an iron overdose can cause tissue damages, upset stomach, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fibrosis, liver damage, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular issues, hemochromatosis, diabetes, and so forth.
Increasing iron consumption is an effective way to stimulate hair growth when done carefully. So, get yourself diagnosed for iron deficiency and grow your hair longer.