When mother-of-three Mary Corrigan began losing her hair, she was naturally devastated.
The 43-year-old was so embarrassed about her bald patches that she wouldn’t go out without a hat.
Yet despite visits to her GP and a trichologist, she was told there was no cure. So the housewife, a former chef with a background in nutrition, decided to find her own solution.
Healthy hair: Mrs Corrigan now has a full head of hair after she started following her own iron-rich diet
And after lengthy research, she came up with a ‘grow-your-hair-back diet’ – featuring iron-rich fare such as cockles, venison and leafy green vegetables.
Within four months of adopting it, her hair had not only grown back, but was thicker and stronger.
Her GP is so impressed with the results that she passes on Mrs Corrigan’s details to others.
Hair loss: Mrs Corrigan's condition began four yeas ago with two small patches of alopecia and left her embarrassed to go out without covering her head with a hat
‘My hair loss began four years ago with two small patches of alopecia on the back of my head,’ said Mrs Corrigan, who is married to IT consultant Mark, 45, and has three daughters aged 12, ten and seven.
‘But within a few months I was horrified to notice the patches were spreading all over my head. I was distraught. My red, thick, curly, long hair really was my crowning glory.’
Over the next two years Mrs Corrigan, from Bromley in Kent, visited her GP several times. But as routine blood tests came back normal, her condition was put down to stress.
Growing back: Mrs Corrigan's hair is shown here in 2008 as the effects of her diet started to make progress
Then Mrs Corrigan, who had also lost hair from her eyebrows and was ‘virtually bald’, began her research and discovered the importance of serum ferritin, a protein responsible for the storage of iron.
Low levels of the substance in the body – below 40mg – can apparently cause hair loss and Mrs Corrigan was found to have a ‘startling’ 19mg.
‘Many trichologists believe it should be as high as 80 for hair follicles to function optimally,’ she said.
Crowning glory: Mary's hair is back to how it was before the condition struck and she now hopes she can use her diet to help others
Unable to find an iron-rich sugar-free diet specifically to correct hair loss, she devised her own. And within a month she felt velvety patches of hair growth on her head.
The average woman needs 15mg of iron a day, she said.
Her sample menu is: fortified cereal plus orange juice for breakfast, a ham sandwich on wholewheat bread plus salad for lunch, and a dinner of cockles and seafood paella or venison burger and a salad of watercress, lettuce, peppers, tomato and pumpkin seeds.