Clinical Studies

Iron deficiency: The most common cause of hair loss in women

Iron deficiency is more common in women of childbearing age than men and postmenopausal women. In this case, the blood doesn’t have enough red blood cells which transport oxygen to the cells and give you the energy that you need. What fuels your body is also needed to boost hair health.   

When hair follicles grow, they require a lot of iron. Women who regularly have heavy menstrual periods are at a high risk of becoming iron deficient. This makes iron deficiency one of the most common causes of hair loss among women.  Your doctor may ask you to get blood level of hematocrit checked, which reveals how much of your blood is made up of red blood cells. In most cases, an iron deficiency is detected only when the levels fall really low and when you see symptoms like extreme fatigue, paleness, shortness of breath and anxiety. By this time, the deficiency may have already affected your hair health.   

Iron deficiency can be assessed by getting your hemoglobin levels checked. For women, it should be between 9 and 11. The ideal is 12. For men, the range lies between 11 and 13. Besides this, you may also have to get other tests like Total Iron Binding Capacity and Serum Ferritin. If you have a healthy woman losing hair it is most likely due to iron deficiency. You should also get your Vitamin D and iron levels checked, these deficiencies can also cause hair loss.     


Biotin, part of the vitamin B complex, is another nutrient associated with hair loss. Biotin is required for a number of enzymatic reactions within the body, and is necessary for the proper metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Over time, poor metabolism of nutrients can contribute to undernourished hair follicle cells. Although rare, a biotin deficiency results in skin rashes and hair loss. A study conducted at Harvard University suggests that biotin is one of the most important nutrients for preserving hair strength, texture, and function.  

Vitamin C
One of vitamin C’s major functions is to help produce and maintain healthy collagen, the connective tissue type found within hair follicles. Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant and protects both the cells found within follicles and cells in nearby blood vessels. A daily dose  of vitamin C is recommended for hair and skin care.    

Selenium is necessary for iodine metabolism. Case studies have indicated that selenium deficiency can lead to cancer, heart disease, and poor hair growth. Supplementation of 25-50 mcg of selenium per day is the recommended dosage.   

Zinc is essential for DNA and RNA production, which, in turn, leads to normal follicle-cell division. Zinc is also responsible for helping to stabilize cell-membrane structures and assists in the breakdown and removal of superoxide radicals. Zinc intake is generally low. Topical applications of zinc have been shown to reduce the hair loss activity of 5-AR type II.       


L-Methionine, one of four sulfur-containing amino acids, supports hair strength by providing adequate amounts of sulfur to hair cells. Sulfur is required for healthy connective tissue formation. Hair requires sulfur for normal growth and appearance. 

L-Cystein - supports hair strength by the provision of sulphur.  Skin, nails and hair are high in L-Cysteine. There is evidence that defficiency may be a factor in hairloss. Supplementing the diet accordingly may be helpful. 

L-Lysine - It is interesting to note that male pattern baldness is less common in Asians than Americans. Is this in part due to he Asian diet being rich in L-Lysine -an enzyme inhibiting amino acid in vegetables and herbs affecting 5-alpha-reductase in some way.   

A single strand of hair is made up of protein fiber which means that it requires an adequate dose of protein to grow.  If you do not consume enough protein, your body will ration the quantity available by cutting off the supply to the hair follicles. If you don’t eat enough protein, your hair is likely to become dry and brittle. Every cell requires protein for life; they are needed for tissue repair and for the construction of new tissue.   

At a particular time, about 90% of your hair strands are in the growing phase which can last for two to three years. Once this phase is over, they enter into a resting phase for another three months and finally they shed and are replaced by new strands. If you don’t have enough protein in your diet, a large number of strands may enter the resting phase at the same time and hair loss may become evident.   

Folic acid
A decrease in folic acid may contribute to decreased hair-follicle cell division and growth. Folic acid is also essential for the maintenance of healthy methionine levels in the body. Signs of folic-acid deficiency include anemia, apathy, fatigue, and graying hair.

Note: feme hair and feme skin were created to meet the hair and skin requirements.