WEDNESDAY, May 31, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Could iron deficiency be key to baldness?
The answer is yes, according to researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, who reviewed scientific literature on the connection published over the past 40 years.
"If doctors can understand fully the relationship between iron deficiency and hair loss, then they can help people regrow hair more effectively," study leader Dr. Wilma Bergfeld, head of clinical research in the department of dermatology, said in a prepared statement. "We believe that iron deficiency may be related to many forms of hair loss and that people may need higher levels of iron stores than previously thought to regrow hair."
The review of data suggests that iron deficiency may be linked to several of the most common kinds of hair loss. However, there is not enough evidence to suggest universal screening for iron deficiency in hair-loss patients and further research is required, the researchers said.
The findings appear in the May issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Iron deficiency is the world's most common nutritional deficiency. It can be caused by inadequate dietary intake of iron, excessive menstrual bleeding, and other forms of blood loss. Treatment includes adequate dietary intake of iron and, when appropriate, iron supplements.
Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic routinely screen for iron deficiency in patients with hair loss. If iron deficiency is detected and treated in the early stages, patients may be able to grow hair more effectively, the researchers said.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about hair loss.