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Do Iron Pills Stimulate Hair Growth in Women?

by
author image Nina K.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.
Do Iron Pills Stimulate Hair Growth in Women?
Profile of girl with beautiful hair. Photo Credit Anton Maltsev/iStock/Getty Images

While iron deficiency is one possible cause of hair loss in women, Harvard Medical School reports that taking iron supplements is not proven to help women regrow their hair. In addition, taking iron pills can be harmful to your health -- it's not recommended without a deficiency, and even then supplementation should not be attempted without a doctor's supervision.

Iron and Hair

Lack of iron can lead to alopecia, or hair loss, in some women. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends eating plenty of iron-rich foods such as soybeans, pumpkin seeds, clams and oysters to help prevent a deficiency. Harvard Medical School notes that vegetarians or women with heavy menstrual periods may be especially prone to iron deficiency, and notes that supplements may be recommended in certain situations.

Iron Pill Risks

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, taking iron supplements when you don't need them can harm your health. Side effects may include gastrointestinal discomfort, bowel irregularity and upset stomach. UMMC also states that high iron stores may be linked to breast cancer, Alzheimer's disease and cardiovascular illness, and taking iron supplements for an extended period of time may lead to a dangerous condition called hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis can cause diabetes and liver damage.

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