I’ve been receiving so many questions from women who notice their hair is thinning or falling out more than usual. One of the most common causes of excessive shedding is iron deficiency.

When you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t produce the hemoglobin in your blood. Hemoglobin carries oxygen for the growth and repair of cells in your body, including the cells that stimulate hair growth.

I recently switched to an integrative/functional MD so that I can get my check-ups and blood work done by someone who truly knows what to look for (and interprets beyond the acceptable lab ranges that haven’t been reviewed or amended in ages!) I mentioned that as I get deeper into my 20s, I notice my hair coming out in the shower more than I’d like.

Rather than only ordering a ferritin test, he ordered Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC), Serum Iron, and (ding ding ding) Transferrin Saturation. While the rest of my numbers were perfect, my saturation was at 15%, even though I eat plenty of iron rich foods. Saturations of less than 20% indicate an iron deficiency.

If you’d like an example of how this can present in other ways, there is a study available on PubMed which looked at a 58-year old woman suffering from restless legs syndrome (RLS) for 12 years. Her ferritin and serum iron levels were perfect, but her transferrin saturation was a mere 9%. Six weeks after supplementing with iron 2x a day, her decade-long struggle with RLS improved immensely with compete resolution of daytime symptoms.

The time-released iron by Douglas Labs was given to me by my doctor (no affiliation). I’ve been on it for 2 months now, and I notice far less shedding, reduced scalp tenderness, and thicker hair/eyelashes which was an unexpected bonus.

If you’re suffering from hair loss, ask your doctor for a full iron panel including transferrin saturation. If any only if your blood tests show a deficiency, get a high quality supplement (like the one I linked) that your body can absorb! Iron is not something you want to supplement blindly, so always talk to your doctor first.

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  • dana says:

    So happy you read this point and it speaks to you! <3 - Dana @ Team Organic Olivia

  • Sunisa says:

    Hi there, I’ve been experiencing bad hair fall and shedding for the past 2 months in spite of eating healthy and taking vitamin supplements. I’ve got my Complete blood count test done last month and everything is normal, my hemoglobin level is 12.4 g/dL (reference value says 12-16, so it’s normal). I just have a question that if Hemoglobin is normal in my blood this means I have enough iron in my blood to produce it right? Or do I still need to have transferrin saturation test done to be sure? I’m just confused as to what is causing this hair loss. I’m currently in Thailand and I can’t get the time released iron supplement you linked. I’m also very very interested in your Mane magic, is that going to be ok to take and will it automatically just improve the iron deficiency problem if I have it?
    Thank you!!
    P.S I’m a big fan of your posts, I took your parapro and probiotics while I was in the US 2 years ago and love them!❤

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