Decreased Serum Ferritin is Associated With Alopecia in Women

    November 2003 in “Journal of Investigative Dermatology
    Jonathan Kantor, Lisa Kessler, David G. Brooks, George Cotsarelis
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    TLDR Low iron levels may be linked to some types of hair loss in women.
    In 2003, a study involving 106 women with hair loss and a control group of 11 women without hair loss found that women with androgenetic alopecia (AGA, n=52) and alopecia areata (AA, n=17) had significantly lower serum ferritin levels, indicating a potential link between iron deficiency and these types of alopecia. However, those with telogen effluvium (TE, n=30) and alopecia areata totalis/universalis (AAT/U, n=7) did not show this association. The study suggested that low iron stores might lower the threshold for developing alopecia, especially in those with a mild genetic predisposition or other factors. It also indicated that iron levels should be considered in clinical trials for alopecia treatments and that correcting iron deficiency might help in evaluating treatment efficacy. Despite its modest sample size, the study was the largest of its kind at the time and called for further research, including trials of iron therapy and investigations into the role of iron in male alopecia. The researchers concluded that understanding iron's role in hair loss is important for new treatment development and elucidating alopecia's biochemical mechanisms.
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