Evaluation of serum ferritin, vitamin B12 and vitamin D levels as biochemical markers of chronic telogen effluvium in women


  • V. A. Belgaumkar Department of Skin and V. D, BJGMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India
  • R. B. Chavan Department of Skin and V. D, BJGMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India
  • N. S. Deshmukh Department of Skin and V. D, BJGMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India
  • P. Patil Department of Skin and V. D, BJGMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India
  • N. Bhatt Department of Skin and V. D, BJGMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India
  • K. Agrawal Department of Skin and V. D, BJGMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India




Chronic telogen effluvium, Serum ferritin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12


Background: Diffuse hair loss is a common complaint encountered by dermatologists in clinical practice and can be alarming to the patients. Chronic telogen effluvium (CTE) is characterized by an abrupt onset of diffuse loss of scalp hair persisting for more than six months, predominantly affecting healthy women in their fourth to fifth decade of life. Although CTE is considered to be associated with various nutritional deficiencies, currently the evidence to substantiate this assertion is conflicting.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 100 adult non-pregnant women with CTE to document serum ferritin, B12 and vitamin D levels in an attempt to validate their role as biochemical markers using Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 25:0 and Fisher’s exact test.

Results: Mean ferritin level was 31.17 ng/dL. 23% patients had serum ferritin levels lower than the normal range (13-150 ng/dL). Vitamin D levels (normal range 5.2-60.4 ng/ml, mean 21.41 ng/ml) were low (deficiency range) in 2%. Vitamin B12 levels (normal range 191-663 pg/ml, mean 239.79) were low in 35.7% patients. Other parameters like duration, family history, past history of treatment did not demonstrate any statistically significant correlation.

Conclusions: Our study detected low levels of serum ferritin and vitamin B12 in approximately one-fourth and a third of females with chronic telogen effluvium respectively with vitamin D deficiency found in only a small proportion. Although a statistically significant correlation could not be established between these nutrients and participant age or other parameters; we concur with most authors who recommend that all females with diffuse hair loss deserve a thorough screening for nutritional deficiencies to facilitate prompt recognition and timely supplementation.


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