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Old 10-23-2013, 10:03 PM   #1
 
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Default Iron supplement - working for me

I've suffered with a lot of shedding for years now. A lot of it was stress-related, and I was able to disengage from a huge stressor 6 mos ago, but I know it can take a year to see change in your hair after long-term stress. My hair isnt nearly as thick as it was 5 years ago, but I'm hoping it will improve with time.

to get to the point of this post, I do not have low iron levels that I'm aware of. I get my blood tested yearly now & everything comes back normal. However, for the past 6 mos I was having terrible fingernail issues. Dry, peeling off, very short, brittle nails. I was also getting balding spots above my temples on my crown. I'm in my mid-twenties, I knew something was not right--I should not be balding! My mom watched something on tv about iron and knew I had all the symptoms of a person who needs iron, so I started taking a daily iron supplement. Within 2 weeks I saw hair growth in those balding spots and my nails are doing better...still not great, but better definitely.

So even if you don't have low iron levels, try taking a low dose iron supplement and see if your problem changes any.
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Old 10-24-2013, 02:01 PM   #2
 
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Mmm bad and possibly dangerous advice.

Doctors don't normally test ferritin levels.

Plus the reason for low iron levels may not simply be dietary.
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Old 10-24-2013, 02:09 PM   #3
 
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I wouldn't suggest taking iron without a recommendation or prescription from the doctor. I had dry brittle and cracking nails, but I take iron-free vitamins and calcium everyday and my nails are now very strong. Iron can make some people sick, as it's not very easy on the stomach sometimes.

I wouldn't follow this general advice for brittle nails and balding spots without a proper diagnosis.
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Old 10-26-2013, 01:59 PM   #4
 
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Yes, by all means you should talk with a doctor! I just wanted to post this because it's been working for me for the past month and a half. Calcium didn't correct the problem for me. If you're having similar issues, bring it up with your doc & see what they say. I don't eat much, and I rarely eat red meat which contains iron, so I'm sure mine is a dietary lacking.

If you take iron (or zinc for that matter) on an empty stomach it can cause nausea. I take it a half hour after eating breakfast because sometimes if I take it right after eating, I still get a little nauseated...and sometimes I don't. It depends on the day. Majority of the time, I'm fine.

Disclaimer!
I would hope every piece of advice on any forum is taken with a grain of salt. Our bodies are all different, and different things work for different folks. I just wanted to post about this because it may help someone. Thanks!
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Low-Poo: Kenra Volumizing shampoo, AG Fast Food shampoo
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Also: Aloe Vera juice or Alba Leave-in. Weekly ACV rinse.
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Old 10-26-2013, 03:20 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CurlyCowgirly View Post
Yes, by all means you should talk with a doctor! I just wanted to post this because it's been working for me for the past month and a half. <snip>
Stress, thyroid problems, pregnancy, Vitamin D deficiency,.... I could go on - all cause hair loss.

A doctor should conduct a full medical history and do a range of blood tests to check what someones specific issue is.
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Old 10-26-2013, 06:40 PM   #6
 
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Hi OP,
Great that your hair is doing better. I do believe iron can build up rather quickly in those who don't need it, so that's probably why the ladies here were suggesting that people check with their doctor first before trying iron supplements. Iron overload can cause organ damage and eventual failure.

I'm currently taking prescribed iron 3x a day for anemia. I'm on week 3 and haven't seen a difference in my hair. It's probably too early to tell. I keep reading that ferritin (iron stores) should be at or above 70 before the hair condition improves. My ferritin is a 3! I have a ways to go.

My main hair issue is inexplicable dryness and brittleness. Seriously, my hair comes out at the *root* brittle. I'm not entirely convinced that iron deficiency is causing any of this, but we'll see.
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Last edited by biloxi; 10-26-2013 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:28 AM   #7
 
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biloxi - did your doctor work out why your ferritin level was so low? While the it's fine taking supplements if the cause of the deficiency isn't worked out then you either won't reach a sufficient level or once you stop your ferritin level will decrease again.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:33 AM   #8
 
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Hi Blueblood,

It's funny you ask that as I've been wondering whether the iron supplements are even working. I don't feel much different physically, mentally or emotionally (my doctor says IDA can cause neuropathy). I do see nice, subtle changes in my skin tone and lips (redder), though.
But my doctor seemed a little confused: some of the parameters on the CBC didn't "add up." She actually thinks I have the thalassemia trait, but the low ferritin/hemoglobin/RBC count/etc. is why she decided to give me iron supplements as a trial. Once I finish, we will see where I'm at. I hardly eat red meat - that would most likely cause iron-deficiency anemia, right?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but can a dysfunctional thyroid cause low iron, also? She checked it and my THS was 2.4-2.6, which she said was perfectly normal. However, I've been reading that hypothyroidism is still possible with a normal TSH reading. Isn't brittle, weak hair a common sign of hypothyroidism?
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:01 AM   #9
 
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Red muscle meat is not the best source of haem iron, organ meats like liver are far richer so you only need a small serving. Other good sources are certain fish and seafood like molluscs (oysters, clams). These are foods humans likely evolved eating on a daily basis (see 'Out of Africa' theory maps and shell midden archaeology), and all are packed with other nutrients.

Check out the Self Nutrition Data, you can search by nutrient/ food group and select serving sizes.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:33 AM   #10
 
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Oooo, I didn't know that about red meat. Liver, huh? I've never tried liver. My mother likes it; maybe I can convince her to cook it. I hope it's not a tough meat.
And it's been so long since I've had oysters that I've forgotten what they taste like. I may give them a try again.

Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:16 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biloxi View Post
But my doctor seemed a little confused: some of the parameters on the CBC didn't "add up." She actually thinks I have the thalassemia trait, but the low ferritin/hemoglobin/RBC count/etc. is why she decided to give me iron supplements as a trial. Once I finish, we will see where I'm at. I hardly eat red meat - that would most likely cause iron-deficiency anemia, right?
In the "average" woman it's having periods and not eating the right kind of foods that causes it.

However if you have Thalassemia trait she should send your blood to be tested to find out what kind it is as it gives strange blood results and may be linked to your anaemia.

I find it odd that your doctor didn't ask for this if she thinks you could have it - mind you with some of the family doctors I've encountered in the past 4 years I shouldn't be surprised.

Plus you should know for future planning if you want to have kids, or just in case something else goes medically wrong in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by biloxi View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but can a dysfunctional thyroid cause low iron, also? She checked it and my THS was 2.4-2.6, which she said was perfectly normal. However, I've been reading that hypothyroidism is still possible with a normal TSH reading. Isn't brittle, weak hair a common sign of hypothyroidism?
Testing for blood disorders like Thalassemia is cheaper to do and less complex than doing different tests for thyroid hormones.

Iron tablets do work however you need to cut out tea and coffee due to the tannins, avoid taking them before meals with dairy products or other foods with calcium, and avoid having them with grains and soya.

You should also note ferritin levels can take over a year to get to a decent level.
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:49 PM   #12
 
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Biloxi: some livers are tougher than others, also depends how they are cooked. Calves liver is considered the delicacy, I always have chicken liver. Pork liver is not supposed to be too nice.

Homemade pâté is gorgeous and creamy with loads of butter in, liver can be mashed and totally hidden in a Bolognese type sauce (traditional addition). I love it lightly fried in butter with garlic red onion, chestnut mushrooms and bacon, then served with an avocado mixed salad.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:56 PM   #13
 
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hi everyone,
I'm relieved to find out iron supplements are working for some of you. I just started taking them myself and am hoping they do the trick for me too.

Around 3 months ago I went vegetarian. Around that time I had a physical, all blood levels were normal, but in the last few weeks I've been noticing I am losing more hair than normal. This is why I switched to sulfate free (I am still in the transition phase as my hair is still greasy) and I still am losing hair, in fact more than before. So I've suspected iron as I ate a lot of beef before. There are plenty of veggie sources of iron but I might not be getting enough.

I have really thick hair, so you can't really tell yet, but I don't want this problem to get worse. So here's hoping for the best...(and yes I will make a doctor's appointment).

- Katie

Last edited by sweetsuns; 11-12-2013 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 11-13-2013, 05:38 PM   #14
 
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Firefox7275 & Blueblood - Thank you both for your help! I am apparently no longer "officially" anemic, as my hemoglobin stands at nearly 14 (up from 10-ish). I have no idea where my ferritin stands; I'm also not sure whether it's a good thing that my hemoglobin rose so quickly (in just a little over a month, I think). I'm wondering whether I should cut back.

Still no changes in my hair, but I'll give it some time.

sweetsuns - Are you getting enough protein still? In my experience, not enough protein can cause increased shedding. Sometimes simply changing your diet can cause shedding, too, or so I've heard. At your physical, was your ferritin checked? You can still have symptoms of anemia with an otherwise "normal" CBC if your ferritin is too low. HTH.
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