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Anaemia is a condition that is characterised by the body’s inability to produce enough haemoglobin or red blood cells. Your body uses haemoglobin to carry oxygen around your body, and if there is a lack of this protein, not enough oxygen can get to your tissues or organs.

How does anaemia cause hair loss?

Anaemia means that not enough oxygen gets to the cells that need it, hampering their ability to fulfil their functions. In the case of hair follicles, this means that they will not be able to produce hair. 

As a result of anaemia, there isn’t enough haemoglobin in the blood to properly carry oxygen around the body to the tissues that need it. This severely impacts the ability of cells to do their jobs and can lead to a variety of effects on the body. Your body needs to preserve the function of crucial organs and functions, therefore diverting oxygen away from non-essential cells, such as hair follicles. 

If hair follicles are unable to fulfil their function, then once they enter the resting phase of the hair life cycle, they are unable to then move into the growth phase because they lack the oxygen required to create energy and therefore produce the hair. This creates a net hair loss.

Hair loss as a result of anaemia may first appear in a similar style to both female and male pattern baldness. A study that was published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science found that haemoglobin may not only play a role in hair loss, but it may cause hair to fall out in a fashion similar to that of genetic male- and female-pattern baldness.

If you think you are suffering from hair loss as a result of anaemia, consult your GP. Your doctor will be able to measure your iron levels and diagnose you appropriately.

How do you stop hair loss from iron deficiency?

Hair loss from iron deficiency isn’t permanent, so the best way to treat it is to fix the underlying problem. Once you have your iron levels under control, your hair will grow back.

If you are diagnosed with anaemia, your doctor may also prescribe you with iron tablets. These can be helpful to get back to normal levels of iron in the blood.

Is hair loss from iron deficiency reversible?

Hair loss from iron deficiency is reversible. Once haemoglobin levels have returned to normal, the body will start carrying oxygen back to hair follicles, promoting hair growth.

You may find that your hair will be slow to grow back once it has been lost.

Can low B12 cause hair loss?

Vitamin B12 is one of the essential vitamins required for hair production and growth. Without it, hair follicles are unable to produce the hair follicles, which results in hair loss.

One cause of low B12 in the body is a type of anaemia. There are two types of anaemia, and one of them is called Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia. This is characterised by the typical anaemia symptoms of having low levels of haemoglobin in the blood, but these low levels are caused by a lack of Vitamin B12 being produced in the body.

There are also other causes for a lack of Vitamin B12 in the body, such as conditions that affect the intestines (for example, Crohn’s disease), the effects of some medications, and even vegan and vegetarian diets.

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