I am suffering from severe hairfall. What changes can I make in my diet and lifestyle to counteract this?

One of the hidden causes of hairfall that a lot of us miss is low ferritin levels. A simple blood test can reveal your ferritin levels. Ferritin levels are an indication of the amount of iron that is in storage in your body.

Low ferritin levels cause extreme tiredness, inability to work out and hair loss, apart from major issues related to thyroid function. There are four different blood tests you need to do before you supplement your diet with iron.

You can take pills or iron in the liquid form based on your current levels. But you will need to run a couple of other tests to solve the problem permanently.

Our body works with nutrients in a very synergestic manner so you should not only check serum ferritin levels but also serum iron levels, serum B 12 and also homocysteine levels. All of these nutrients work together to ensure that no deficiency symptoms like extreme fatigue, hair fall and thyroid issues occur.

Your serum ferritin should be at least 40, serum iron levels should be in the middle of the reference range, Serum B12 should be above 500 pg/ml. Without sufficient B12, proper absorption of iron will not occur. Lastly, homocysteine levels should be less than 9. This helps to diagnose cellular B12 levels. Based on the readings, you can start to supplement after speaking to your doctor.

If you are not into taking supplements, your best choices to improve ferritin levels are spirulina, chicken or beef, spinach and dark chocolate. Dark chocolate should always be about 75 per cent cocoa. However, if you’ve started to lose hair and you’re exhausted most of the times, start supplements after consulting your doctor at the earliest.

Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop