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Biotin for Hair Growth: All You Need to Know

Many of us dream of having strong, shiny, luscious hair but don’t know how to achieve it. Biotin has gained a lot of popularity as a treatment for hair growth, but does it really work? What does science say about the results of biotin for hair growth? Let’s find out.

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin, more specifically, vitamin B7. It’s also sometimes referred to as vitamin H, from the German words for hair and skin (haar and haut). This vitamin is involved in several metabolic processes inside our bodies.

Scientific evidence hasn’t found biotin to be beneficial for people who don’t have a biotin deficiency and who have normal, healthy hair. Despite this, many brands sell biotin supplements for better hair, skin, and nails, alleging benefits such as:

  • Stronger hair and nails
  • Clearer skin
  • Lower blood sugar levels for diabetics
  • Increased macronutrient metabolism

Some studies have found that biotin supplements can improve hair and nail growth for people who do have a biotin deficiency. However, most of us get all the biotin we need from our diets, and biotin deficiency is rare. There’s no evidence that supports the use of biotin in individuals who have healthy hair, and you should discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before starting biotin supplements.

As mammals evolved through the centuries, we lost the ability to synthesize biotin on our own. As a result, our bodies get the required biotin from food and the already existing biotin that’s bound to proteins. 

Although no signs of toxicity caused by biotin supplements have been reported, excessive biotin can lead to false results in certain laboratory tests.

The daily recommended adequate intake of biotin for adults is 30 μg/day, and most healthy adults get enough of it from eating a balanced diet. Despite this, an increasing number of individuals are taking up to 500–1,000 μg/day of biotin for hair loss through supplements.

Although no signs of toxicity caused by biotin supplements have been reported, excessive biotin can lead to false results in certain laboratory tests, such as the ones used to measure thyroid hormones.

Biotin deficiency in humans is extremely rare. However, there are certain circumstances that can make this deficiency more likely, including:

  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Malnutrition
  • Certain medications
  • Biotinidase deficiency in children

The symptoms of biotin deficiency can include:

  • Skin rash or dermatitis (particularly around body orifices)
  • Conjunctivitis (an inflammation of the thin layer of tissue that covers your inner eyelid and the white part of your eye)
  • Hair loss
  • Skin infections (rashes and dermatitis can increase your risk of developing a skin infection, since inflamed or injured tissues are more prone to colonization)
  • Ataxia (a neurological sign that causes a lack of control over voluntary movements, such as grabbing objects or walking)
  • Hypotonia (decreased muscle tone, which can lead to limpness and trouble performing physical activities)
  • Ketolactic acidosis (a metabolic disorder in which lactic acid accumulates excessively inside the body, leading to an abnormally low pH and symptoms that can affect multiple organs)
  • Organic aciduria (excessive excretion of acids through urine)
  • Seizures
  • Developmental delays in children

There are many different foods that contain some biotin. Some of the foods with the highest biotin content include:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Organ meats (such as liver)
  • Corn
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Flour
  • Soy flour
  • Cereals
  • Yeast
  • Seeds
  • Nuts

The biotin content of your food can be reduced after it goes through cooking and preserving processes. But if you eat a healthy and well-balanced diet, it’s very likely that you’ll still be getting enough biotin from the foods you eat even after they’ve been cooked. In fact, most people are able to obtain all the nutrients they need from a healthy, varied, balanced diet.

There are many conditions that can lead to hair loss, including stress, genetics, menopause, and postpartum hormonal changes

One of the most common treatments to combat hair loss is a medication called minoxidil. This medication is available as a shampoo, liquid, or foam. It should be applied twice every day to get results. Minoxidil can help maintain hair and restore up to 10 percent of the hair that has been lost. Finasteride is another medication that has been shown to be effective for male hair loss.

Changing certain habits can also help you preserve your hair, such as:

  • Try to use shampoo only two to three times per week.
  • Brush your hair softly without tugging at it.
  • Skip heating tools, such as straightening or curling irons.
  • Avoid tight hairstyles, such as buns or ponytails.
  • Avoid twisting, pulling, or rubbing your hair.

Hormone therapies that restore a healthy balance between the levels of estrogen and testosterone can help decrease hair loss in women.

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 and vitamin H, is a water-soluble vitamin that’s involved in many metabolic pathways, particularly in processes that help turn fats, amino acids, and carbohydrates into energy.

In recent years, biotin has become a trendy cosmetic ingredient and supplement marketed as a solution for hair loss, brittle nails, and skin problems. Biotin has a relatively low cost and is easy to produce, and it has experienced a significant increase in popularity.

People who suffer from a biotin deficiency are an exception, and studies have found that they could indeed benefit from biotin supplements.

However, scientific research hasn’t found evidence to suggest that biotin can truly help with hair growth for healthy individuals. People who suffer from a biotin deficiency are an exception, and studies have found that they could indeed benefit from biotin supplements. 

You should visit your doctor if you suspect that you could be suffering from a biotin deficiency. If you’re struggling with hair loss, it may also be a good idea to discuss this problem with your doctor. They can help you identify the cause of the issue and recommend treatments that can promote hair growth.

https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(18)32362-4/pdf

http://www.jbc.org/content/279/50/52312.full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4757853/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-Consumer/

https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-treating-hair-loss/

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