Iron is a mineral that the body needs for growth and development. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that binds to oxygen so that it can be carried around the body.
- People with premature androgenetic alopecia (AGA) have significantly lower ferritin (protein that stores iron) levels than people with adult-onset AGA, however, it has not been determined whether supplementing with iron can help with hair loss outcomes.
- Multiple studies looking at the relationship between iron and alopecia areata do not support an association between the two.
- Many of the studies determining a relationship between iron levels and hair loss are on women which may be confounded by changes in iron levels that occur during menstruation.
- The in vitro evidence suggests that iron may enhance the growth of cultured human keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and melanocytes (the cells that provide keratinocytes with pigment).
- The in vivo (in mice) evidence suggests that a topical iron treatment once daily for 30 days can induce hair growth faster than a control or minoxidil treatment, however the overall hair growth was less pronounced than minoxidil treatment. Furthermore, the treatment reduced the number of (non-growing) telogen follicles and increased the number of (growing) anagen compared to the control, however the findings were not as pronounced as after minoxidil treatment.
- A retrospective study analyzed 138 patients with nonscarring alopecia that were treated with supplements including iron. The researchers found that there was no statistically significant association between targeted supplementation and hair growth.
- Our experience tracking members: by itself, iron alone is not enough to improve hair loss outcomes.