Iron is an essential mineral that plays many important roles in the body including aiding healthy hair growth. But how much iron is ideal for optimal hair health? While needs vary based on age, gender and health status, getting adequate iron can make a difference in combatting hair loss.
How Much Iron for Hair Growth?
The recommended daily intake of iron for hair growth is 10-18 mg for women aged 19-50 years, and 8-11 mg for men aged 19+ years. Consuming iron-rich foods or taking supplements can help prevent deficiency.
Women aged 19-50 years should get 18 mg of iron daily. After menopause, needs drop to 8 mg per day.
Men only need 8 mg of iron per day from age 19 onward. Needs are higher during puberty.
Pregnant women have increased iron needs of 27 mg daily to support hair health.
How Iron Promotes Hair Growth
Here’s how getting adequate iron supports healthy hair:
Iron is needed to produce ferritin, which carries reserves that hair follicles draw from.
Iron enables red blood cells to carry oxygen to nourish hair follicle cells.
It plays a key role in the metabolism and ATP synthesis that fuels hair growth.
Some research suggests iron may help extend the anagen growth phase of hair.
Signs of Iron Deficiency
Symptoms of inadequate iron intake include:
Excessive shedding, thinning and slowed growth.
Lack of oxygen transport leaves you feeling weak and tired.
With less oxygen-carrying capacity, skin loses color.
Oxygen deprivation can make you feel lightheaded.
Who May Require Iron Supplementation
Those at higher risk for iron deficiency leading to hair thinning include:
Women of Childbearing Age
Blood loss from menstruation raises needs.
Increased iron supports mother’s and baby’s health.
Intense training can deplete iron stores over time.
Vegans and Vegetarians
Following a plant-based diet limits iron absorption from food.
The Bottom Line
Consuming adequate iron from nutritional food sources or supplements helps nourish hair follicles and prevent excessive shedding and thinning associated with deficiency. Aim for 10-18 mg daily for women and 8-11 mg daily for men to support your best hair growth.
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