Low Ferritin - How to Increase It

Discussion in 'Hair Loss Causes' started by Sad b/c of hair loss, May 13, 2010.

  1. I recently had my ferritin level checked. I'm a 10. Which I was told by my endocrinologist and physician is normal. I was told the normal range is 6 - 110. Quite a range. Clearly, even if I am 'normal' I am on the low end of normal. Tom Haggerty's website (google Tom Haggarty & hair loss) suggests getting ferritin up to a 70 for a speedier TE recovery. My question is -- can this be done simply be eating more lean red meat? I have no problem increasing my comsumption of steak - just wondering is it POSSIBLE to increase from diet alone or would I need supplements? Thoughts? My problem is drug-induced TE from Zoloft, Trazadone and Klonopin. I took these drugs for just under 2 months and stopped them about 1 month ago. I am having diffuse hair loss all over - A LOT - 200 per day on the days I wash (which is every other day). I am told this will go on 3-6 months; probably more like 2-4 ... am very concerned about the amt I will lose before this is all over and regrowing. Any thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. lisas

    lisas New Member

    Sources of Iron

    Are you a vegetarian? If not, try to get your iron from meat sources. There are two types of iron- heme and non-heme. Heme is generally absorbed more easily by people but you can only get it from animal sources. If your are a vegetarian, you can try taking Ferrous Sulfate 325 mg once a day. It can upset your stomach ( I drink Ginger tea prior to it so that it doesn't and take it with a meal) and it doesn't always work for everyone. I had to start eating meat again once a week because I don't absorb non-heme iron as well.

    Good luck!! :)
  3. I am not a vegetarian. In the past I'd have red meat maybe 2x per month. Not too often. But lately I've increased it to once per week. And now I'm trying to make it 2x per week. How often do you think I should eat it? Would 2x per week be enough to make any significant difference, do you think?

    What other foods are high in iron? And is it true that red wine harms the absorbtion of the iron? b/c when I make steak my hubby always likes to have red wine, which I'll have too --- but in my googling today I read that could be bad - absorbing wise. ?????
  4. lisas

    lisas New Member

    Sources of Iron

    Two times a week should be enough. I started eating red meat once a week and after a couple of months, my ferratin had increased to 36 (I started at 4). I know that spinach, kale and other leafy green veggies have iron but it's not absorbed as well. Peanut butter and other nuts have some- again not absorbed as well. And fortified grains (breads, cereal etc). Again, all of those sources are generally non-heme (or veggie) sources of iron so they're generally not absorbed as well.

    I haven't read anything about red wine decreasing the absorption of iron but avoiding it wouldn't hurt.
  5. meggie

    meggie New Member

    Iron Supplements

    I have extreme hair loss from being on generic Synthroid for 6+ months. I stopped the medication Feb. 1st but am still experiencing hair loss. I went to the dermatologist who said my iron level was 20 and she put me on Fergon 27mg twice a day. I take it with a Vitamin C capsule and it has not bothered my stomach at all. I have to wait a few months to see what my levels have increased to (hopefully they will have increased) and then see if that is what is now causing the hair loss. My PCP put me on Buspar for anxiety (from the hair loss) and I'm wondering if this is what is continuing the hair loss. This is so confusing-----not knowing and not getting straight answers.
  6. lisas

    lisas New Member


    the American Hair loss Association has a website that lists drugs that have been known to cause hair loss commonly. The problem with that is that they can't possibly know or list every drug that causes hair loss in all people. Currently I'm going through somewhat of the same thing. I'm trying to get off of Paxil and levothyroxine (both of which I believe have caused/ and or worsened my hair loss) and at the same time I'm starting to take Wellbutrin. There is no known hair loss side effect with either one so I'm hopeful that we'll both be okay. I've never heard of Fergon so I looked it up.. It's supposed to be fantastic- high potency with very little stomach upset. I actually might buy some of that so that I take it on a more regular basis. Iron itself upsets my stomach so much that I sometimes skip it. :)

    So much of this we have to research on our own and hope that someone will have an answer or that we'll stumble on something that works.. Doctors aren't stupid, they just don't have all of the answers. Your doctor is clearly trying something that they think will work. If I were you, I would also take a b-complex vitamin (make sure it's high in biotin) to help reduce the stress that you are feeling from this. It may not make you grow hair instantly but it can help prevent further loss. :>
  7. Does anyone know whether lamb is a decent source of iron? From what I understand beef is best, but does lamb rank?
  8. ForeverBlue

    ForeverBlue New Member

    Meggie...Medications for anxiety CAN cause hair loss. I've had horrible anxiety and panic attacks for years, but will not take medication for it because hair loss is a side effect from all the medications. If i get really bad, i will take a pill for that day, but that's about it. The problem is that all the medications we need to help us, cause hair loss. It's so dam frustrating. I won't put anything in my mouth any more without first checking to see if hair loss is a possible side effect from it. I'm amazed by how many things cause hair loss.

    Thyroid medication is the worst of all. Your hair starts to fall out because you have thyroid disease, then you take medication for it, and the medication makes your fall out worse.

    I've always believed prescription medication was poison to our bodies. The more i hear about horrible side effects people get from taking them, the more i think i'm right !!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. meggie

    meggie New Member

    I'm just wondering if my hair will ever grow back. I have an appt. with a female dermatologist in July (the earliest she could see me) and I'm hoping that eventually it will come back. As the days go on, though, I still see hair falling out and nothing but scalp! It has sent my emotions through the roof and just don't know what the future holds. I've been praying like mad but then I wonder if this is something I should pray for since it concerns vanity. Oh well....... Thanks to all of you for replying to me.
  10. lisamarie001

    lisamarie001 New Member

    Iron Supplementation

    I have had a low thyroid issue for a few years now. I alo had low ferritin (which seems to go hand in hand with low thyroid) and of course the hair loss. I started to try to raise with ferrous sulfate but my numbers went from 31 to 61 in 4 months of taking 200mgs/day. Kind of slow. I switched to chelated iron (no stomach issues or constipation at all :)! In a little over one month ferritin went from 61 to 96! I take 4 pills of the 29mgs from Nature's Basics at lunch with vitamin C and 4 pills at dinner. I do not think you can raise that fast with food alone. I will have to wait a couple of cycles to notice any real growth from the raised iron but I will post then and let everyone know! I am so excited about the fast raise!!! I am going to continue until I get to about 125 than slow down. Thank goodness my doctor is on board!:D

    P.S. I read the normal range is 10-300!
  11. NYCGirlie

    NYCGirlie New Member

    Low Ferritin Questions??

    :confused: My hair has slowly been thinning all over for almost 2 years. It has recently been shedding alot in the shower (as well as on my clothes and floor). I have just been diagnosed with chronic TE due to low ferritin level. Im at 16. I thinmk this may be because of heavy menstrual periods and more cardio than iron intake in my diet. My doctor said I need to get to 70+ to see results in my hair and put on 2 iron pills a day (along with a multivitamin and 5000mg biotin). Does anyone know how long it takes to go from 16 to 70+ ferritin level?? How long after taking iron pills will I notice decreased shedding? How long until it grows back to normal? Also the texture of my hair has changed...it was spiral curly but now its less curly/just slight wavy. Will restoring iron also restore my hair texture? Can iron deficiency also cause more gray hair (seems I have more than before but am not sure if this is aging or iron-related)
  12. NYCGirlie

    NYCGirlie New Member

    I have recently been researching this after being diagnosed with low iron ferritin. Iron rich foods include red meat, chicken, turkey, organ meats (like liver), kidney beans, dried prunes, dried apricots, broccoli, dark leafy greens. White wine and vitamin c help iron absorption (red wine inhibits iron absorption). Hope this is helpful!
  13. meggie

    meggie New Member


    It took me approximately three to four months to go from 20 to 65 in my ferritin level. I was on Fergon once a day. It took a few more months to stop the shedding and I took the iron pills with supplements also. The shedding has completely stopped and my hair is growing back in. Good luck!
  14. lisamarie001

    lisamarie001 New Member

    Low Ferritin

    NYC Girl,

    I posted a while ago about this, I alo had low ferritin and of course the hair loss. I started to raise with chelated iron (no stomach issues or constipation at all :)! In a little over one month ferritin went from 61 to 96! I took 4 pills of the 29mgs chelated iron from Nature's Basics at lunch with vitamin C and 4 pills at dinner. I do not think you can raise that fast with food alone. You may have to wait a while after raising to at least 70, and over 100 would be better. Today my ferritin is 196! And I started out with 31. Now I take two iron pills 2-3 times a week to keep it high. Also ask your doctor to check zinc and manganese levels as raising these two trace minerals helped me very much. I hardly have any loss now. Be patient though, iron takes a while to kick in. I've been dealing with this about 6-9 months but you will get there if you hang in there like I did! I would take what I suggested above and check levels with your doc every 6-8 weeks. Good luck!!
  15. NYCGirlie

    NYCGirlie New Member

    Thanks for the information ladies! I finally know the reason and can start making it better! Sounds like I'll have to wait up to 6 months to see a difference in my hair?? Wow Lisamarie- you were able to raise your iron so quickly! Im on Fersol 2x a day but have changed my diet to include lots of iron rich foods. The sooner I can get my levels over 70 the better! I wonder once I achieve a better ferritin level, then what? My doctor said it could take from 3-6 months to raise the levels and see a difference in my hair (less shedding., more baby hairs). But he said I wouldn't have to take iron pills forever if I didnt want to. I don't see how I would be able to maintain that iron level on foods alone- I think my iron is low due to heavy menstrual periods and prior rigorous cardio workouts. Anyone know if iron levels can be maintained over 70 with foods alone? Any special diets? I've read about blackstrap molasses being a natural alternative to iron pills
  16. jbarks

    jbarks New Member

    NYC Girlie-- I also have hair loss due to a low ferritin level. My ferritin is 26. I've been taking HemaPlex, which has 85 mg of elemental iron. However, one of my doctors just prescribed me something called Fetron, which is about 300 mg. I have a follow up with my hematologist next week, and I plan to ask about iron infusions. With iron infusions, you can raise your ferritin level in several weeks instead of over the span of several months. I want to raise my levels as quickly as possible, so my shedding will stop!
  17. NYCGirlie

    NYCGirlie New Member

    Low Ferritin/High Cholestorol..what to eat???

    I have low ferritin (16) which has been causing hair shedding, but I also have slightly high cholestorol. My doctor said my good cholestorol is soooo good that its not an issue. BUT since I am now trying to increase iron in my daily diet, I fear using too much red meat may skyrocket the cholestorol. How much is too much red meat or eggs?? I am also trying to get iron through chicken, turkey, beans, veggies, cereal and blackstrap molasses. Any suggestions/diets/foods which serve both purposes- increase iron and lower bad cholestorol?
  18. arjhay101

    arjhay101 New Member

    You should eat leafy green veggies like brocolli, spinish, kale, etc and red meat like salmon, steak, etc. It's also advisable to drink orange juice or something else with vitamin C when you're consuming these foods as well to increase iron absorption.
  19. h crazy

    h crazy New Member

    Hair Shedding worse after iron supplements?

    I have been shedding mass hair amounts for two years. In that time I have been to several different Dr's, and finally put on an iron supplement for a ferritin of 31. After supplementing faithfully for two months, my ferritin dropped to 24! Finally I switched supplements, and learned the best ways to take, empty stomach, lysine, and vitamine c. Two weeks after I retested and my numbers were 56! Over six weeks into this, I am very discouraged because for the last 5 weeks I have more than doubled my shedding! I was wondering if anybody else experienced this. It might also be from my lowest ferritin of 24 a few months ago. But it's so rough. After two year's of this non-stop shedding, it feels like I am just getting worse! Eating well has alway's been important to me. So it doesn't matter sometimes how well you eat you can still have it sneak up on you. Especially when the Dr's you see tell you not to supplement with iron, that you will get an overload. I am so happy to have read some positive outcomes on this thread! It gives me hope.
  20. NYCGirlie

    NYCGirlie New Member

    hcrazy- I have never heard of iron supplements making hairloss worse. Are you sure low iron is causing your hairloss (maybe its something else like thyroid or hormones?)