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How important is Iron for your hair?

Iron is an incredibly important nutrient is our diet and plays a vital role in our body, including for our hair growth. Iron in our diet is used to produce red blood cells, the transport unit for oxygen around the body. Red blood cells also transport the Carbon Dioxide waste product away from the cells and back to the lungs. Oxygen is a base requirement for any basic cell function and carbon dioxide is a by product created that needs to be removed.

An iron deficiency is actually more common then you might think, and when you are deficient of any vital nutrient, your body will prioritise your vital organs to keep the body going. Unfortunately for your hair, your body will class it as one of the least important organs. Over time low iron levels can lead to anaemia.

Sufferers of anaemia can often be left short of breath, even during the most simple of every day tasks like climbing a flight of stairs. This happens becomes the body is unable to transport oxygen around the body as well as it needs to. Your heart and lungs need to work harder therefore to make up for this.

The statistics on Anaemia from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), can shock you as to how common Iron deficiencies can be in women. In the UK 14% of non-pregnant women suffer from a degree of Anaemia, but this rises to 23% of pregnant women. Pregnant women are most at risk of Anaemia as there daily need of all nutrients increases beyond their normal levels.

Other people whop are more at risk of suffering from Anaemia are those with any health conditions that effect their ability to absorb nutrients. The most common would be any one suffering from Crohn’s disease. The last at risk demographic is anyone following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet. Meat is one of the best sources of iron, so removing from that from your diet means you need to up intake of Iron from other sources.

It’s not all bad news for the non-meat lovers amongst us, as there are plenty of other sources of iron that you can easily add into your diet to bump up your iron intake. Spinach and kale are great sources of iron, with a half cup of cooked spinach containing 3.21mg of Iron. Adult men should be aiming for 8mg Iron intake per day, with women at 18mg of Iron per day. Dark chocolate is another rich source of protein, with 80g of the stuff containing a massive 6.5mg of Iron!

If you think that you may have a Iron deficiency or that you have Anaemia then it is imperative that you visit your GP or Healthcare Practitioner, so that they can conduct a blood test to test your Iron levels. If you are deficient then they will be able to prescribe a high strength Iron supplement to help bring your iron levels back up to a healthy level.

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