Taking Biotin for Hair: is it Worth it or Not?
Did you know that in the UK alone around 40% of women and more than 30% of men over the age of 30 suffer from hair loss? This problem is much more common than you might have thought. In most people, hair loss goes along with low self-esteem too.
Gladly, the problem can be combated in a number of ways, depending on what the origin of your hair fall is. Recently, biotin supplements have become a very trendy treatment with many people swearing by its qualities.
At the same time, many sources deem this vitamin ineffective for hair loss treatment. Here we would like to uncover the truth behind using biotin for hair. We will also have a look how it works to facilitate hair growth and the cases in which it can provide positive results.
What is Biotin and What Does it Do for Hair?
Biotin is another name for vitamin B7, which was also referred to as vitamin H in the past. Biotin belongs to B-complex vitamins, which are also known as ‘beauty vitamins’ due to their exceptional benefits for skin, hair and nails. It also helps to break down carbohydrates and fats ensuring proper metabolism and high energy levels.
Biotin takes part in the synthesis of amino acids and, most importantly, keratin, the main protein contained in the hair. Thus, taking biotin for hair can potentially help grow stronger and healthier hair as well as boost its growth rate.
B7 is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning it is excreted via the kidneys and cannot be stored in the body. Hence, it is necessary to consume biotin-containing foods daily.
What Factors Cause Hair Loss?
Very often it is as simple as a lack of certain elements, especially in younger people, that can make your hair recede. Other common culprits are stress, depression and hormonal imbalance. Such events usually cause only temporary hair loss and can be treated with a healthy diet, various supplements and stress management.
Many medical conditions are also linked to hair loss, for example thyroid, adrenal gland or ovarian disorders. In such cases, you must first tackle the illness itself to eliminate hair loss that occurs as a side symptom.
Obviously, a biotin deficiency can also be the major reason for excessive hair fall. Although rare, a biotin deficiency can be both acquired and hereditary. Pregnant women and those consuming a lot of alcohol have an increased risk of not getting enough vitamin B7.
Sometimes, even if you consume an adequate amount of biotin daily, you can still develop a deficiency due to poor digestion, damaged gut flora or antibiotics treatment. These can lead to poor absorption of essential elements, and biotin as well.
That is why, when it comes to hair, you always need to watch for your gastrointestinal health too. Eating wholesome foods that are good for hair does not make any sense if they cannot be properly processed in the body.
Biotin daily dosage and sources
A daily biotin requirement ranges from 30 to 100 mg for adults. Pregnant women and those suffering from a biotin deficiency may need a larger dose.
Foods rich in vitamin B7 are widely available and normally constitute the main part of the regular diet.
- Egg yolks :
- are rich with biotin, however, preparation with heat will reduce the amount of the vitamin. Try to reduce the cooking time and go for soft-boiled eggs.
- Nuts :
- all nuts contain some amount of the vitamin but almonds are especially great if you want to get more of this vitamin with your meals.
- Some fish and caviar :
- salmon, cod, roe and oysters are the most biotin-rich sources among seafood.
- Sweet potatoes :
- have the highest biotin content among vegetables.
- Legumes :
- such as soybeans and peas, must be widely present in a vegan diet to ensure an adequate biotin intake.
- organ meat :
- beef or chicken liver is the best animal-derived source of the vitamin.
We recommend eating these foods raw, if possible, or reduce their cooking time to get more biotin and other essential elements from them.
Applying Biotin on Hair Topically: Does it Work?
There is no research done on the efficacy of biotin if applied on hair in the form of shampoos, serums or hair masks. No proof has been put forward as to whether this vitamin can penetrate the hair shaft and be involved in the process of keratin synthesis. This process takes place in the core of the hair shaft.
Over-the-counter products are not normally able to reach the core of the hair. Hence, we believe that topical application of biotin on hair is very unlikely to result in its improved growth.
Are There any Side Effects?
This vitamin is considered safe to take and an overdose is very unlikely to occur. Side effects are, therefore, rare. However, it can interact with other medications and wane their potency. If you take any medicine for diabetes, seizures, high blood pressure, be careful with biotin supplements and do not exceed the daily required dose. Some other side effects include upset stomach, acne or allergic reactions.
How Long Does it Take for Biotin to Work on the Hair?
No matter what hair loss treatment you decide to go for, patience is your best companion. The hair simply cannot grow too quickly and it will undoubtedly take some time for you to see the difference between your ‘before’ and ‘after’ hair. You might need to wait for about 3 months until you can see an improvement of your hair state.
Conclusion: Biotin for Hair
There is a lot of information circling on the Internet about biotin and its implications for hair health. Some swear on its potency to promote hair growth. Others claim that such widespread popularity of using biotin for hair is merely a marketing decoy.
Judging from the medical reports, biotin can be an effective treatment for receding hair but only if the hair loss is temporary and caused by a poor diet. But also malabsorption of nutrients can be due to some gastrointestinal conditions. If your hair loss is triggered by hormones, various illnesses, stress or genetics, even a long-term treatment with this vitamin will be of no help.
In such cases, you may want to consider a hair transplant as a permanent solution to your hair loss problem. Very often, a single surgical procedure is sufficient for you to regain the full head of hair and finally bring an end to endless treatment solutions that you have probably already tried in vain. The Bio Hair Clinic team will be pleased to advise you on this matter and find the most suitable treatment method together with you.