Let’s talk biotin and hair growth. You know those commercials that claim that these hair, skin and nail multivitamins can help speed up hair growth, and add volume at the same time? Well it’s the vitamin biotin in these products that claims to be the vitamin for beauty. It’s hard to avoid a conversation on hair growth without hearing about biotin, so I have dug into the scientific studies to determine if biotin truly does help to promote hair growth or not.
Let’s find out if taking biotin really makes a difference, and uncover the sources, and health benefits of this “beauty” vitamin.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is often referred to as Vitamin H, for hair or B7. Biotin is a water soluble b-vitamin. This vitamin is a vital part of a healthy metabolism and is essential for creating important enzymes. (1) Since Biotin is classified as a b-vitamin it is an excellent source of energy, and is used as energy in our bodies. This vitamin is known to help many systems in the body including our skin, nerves, digestive tract, metabolism, and our cells. Biotin may play an important role in many parts of the body, but we need to take a closer look as to whether or not it really does speed up hair growth. First let’s take a look at the sources of Biotin.
Sources of Biotin
Although biotin is supplemented with more times than not when trying to promote hair growth, biotin can also be found in small amounts in foods. At the end of the day getting biotin from food sources it better absorbed in the body than from a supplemental version of the vitamin. Sherry Ross, OB/GYN and Women’s Health Expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica states that the foods listed below contain small amounts of Biotin.
- Soy flour
- Wheat germ
- Dairy products
- Swiss chard
Health Benefits of Biotin for Your Hair
“Many people take biotin supplements to increase the health of their skin, hair and nails. While more research is needed, it seems that B7 may be helpful in these areas.”
Taking biotin for hair growth can be promising, and there have been studies to prove how effective it is:
- Ablon Skin Institute Research Center and the University of California, concluded that women who suffered with thinning hair had great success with hair growth when taking biotin.
- Registered Dietitian, Lauren Graf who works out of a cardiac wellness center has stated that biotin is very important for hair, skin and nails, and that those with low levels could experience thinning hair, and brittle nails.
Biotin for Thinning Hair
We known that biotin can benefit our hair, but let’s talk about how exactly it can prevent and improve hair thinning.
Hair thinning can occur for a number of reasons such as aging, or certain medications however it can also occur if someone is not getting enough biotin. Supplementing with biotin can improve hair thinning, and actually prevent it from happening.If you are getting adequate amounts of biotin your chances of developing a deficiency are lower which means your chances of thinning hair reduces as well!
Biotin for Hair Growth
This is what most of us want to know before taking biotin. Will biotin really work to help promote hair growth?
“Biotin is vital to cell proliferation, which is why it is a valuable tool in hair growth.” (3)
When it comes down to what hair is composed of, it actually consists ofkeratin which is a protein. This is a big reason as to why biotin helps to promote hair growth. When biotin is ingested, biotin then reacts with cell enzymes and plays a large part in producing amino acids. Amino acids are the building block of proteins. Strings of amino acids are what makes up a protein. Since hair consists of protein, consuming foods high in biotin can actually boost hair growth, and lead to healthier hair.
What Biotin Won’t do for Your Hair
While biotin can be very beneficial for hair growth, supplementing with biotin will not help to prevent hair loss. Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute states that there is just not enough scientific evidence to prove that biotin supplementation can improve hair loss. It’s important to understand why you are experiencing hair loss in the first place, it may be something that needs to be addressed a different way before trying to supplement with biotin. For example someone with a hormonal imbalance that is experiencing hair loss is not going to see hair re-growth from biotin until they address their hormonal imbalance, the root cause of their hair loss.
How Do You Know if You Are Deficient in Biotin?
Biotin deficiency is actually quite rare in the US, however if you are not getting enough biotin you will see noticeable symptoms.
One of the obvious symptoms of biotin deficiency is thinning hair, and weak or brittle nails. A biotin deficiency can however present itself in more ways than one.
Other deficiency symptoms include nausea, muscle pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, depression and skin changes.
Proper Dosage of Biotin
The Mayo Clinic’s dosage recommendation for adults is between 30-100 mcg per day of biotin. (2) While The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommends that adults should get 19.30 mcg of biotin per day. The dosages ranges according to your age, and if you are actually biotin deficient or not.
Should You Supplement With Biotin?
The bottom line is that if you have thinning hair, brittle nails and skin issues then you may benefit from taking biotin. If you are deficient in biotin then supplementing can also not only be very important for your overall health, but can also be beneficial for hair growth. Even though supplementing with biotin can give your hair and nails a
nice boost, a vitamin alone should never replace a healthy diet high in vitamins and minerals. If you eat well, and eat foods high in biotin while always staying hydrated then you will not have to worry about biotin deficiency. It’s important to remember that ” Your body needs other substances found in food, such as protein, minerals, carbohydrates and fat. Vitamins themselves cannot work without the presence of other foods.” (4) If you are consuming healthy foods, as well as foods high in biotin, and you are just looking to boost your hair growth then taking a biotin supplement will help your hair grow faster.
“Healthy hair comes from a healthy diet, and a healthy lifestyle. Supplementing with biotin should come second to improving your diet.”