BIOTIN FOR HAIR: Does It Work?
When it comes to hair vitamins, millions of people are jumping on the Biotin bandwagon. Seemingly more and more evidence comes out in support of this “hair miracle pill,” but is it actually effective or just the hot new trend on the street? To help you make your own, educated decision, we wanted to highlight what Biotin actually is, and what the science (facts) around Biotin actually say.
What is Biotin?
Biotin (B-7) is a supplement used to prevent and treat biotin deficiency. Fun fact: Biotin is derived from Greek “biotos,” meaning sustenance. The average adult consumes the necessary amount of biotin from their daily food intake, meaning few people actually need a extra, supplemental dose.
Foods naturally containing biotin in small amounts:
Raw foods contain more biotin than cooked foods.
What Does Biotin Do?
Biotin breaks down substances that our bodies need, like:
- Amino acids
It can be used to help treat and prevent deficiency caused by disease, weight loss, pregnancy, and malnutrition. Biotin has become a very popular hair loss remedy, as well, as it is a B-vitamin that encourages the use of energy and the synthesis of proteins in the body. Biotin is also important for creating Vitamin D with the help of Pantothenic acid (another subset of the B-vitamin family).
Obviously, without biotin, there would be a decrease in protein synthesis, which would prevent the creation of keratin – what our hair is made of. On top of that, without biotin, our bodies can’t really make Vitamin D, which is vital for cancer and disease prevention. There are also some severe cases of biotin deficiency (http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/biotin), which can cause hair loss, but also seizures and numbness in the extremities.
Luckily, we get most of the biotin we need from our food, so deficiencies are very rare. Despite that, people who hear about biotin benefits worry that they aren’t taking or consuming enough to have beautiful hair, and so they decide more is necessary, and look to supplements. Before you decide going down this route, though, let’s look at pros and cons of “Vitamin H.”
Side Effects and Benefits
Fatty acids and glucose are used as energy for our body, and biotin is needed for our bodies to properly absorb them. A person can take up to 30 micrograms (mcg) a day and have no side effects, but some studies show that only 25mcg is needed. Keep in mind that biotin is only safe if it is taken in the right amounts and in a safe, tested product. There is no recorded record of toxicity in biotin, but our bodies do not need very much to start producing amazing hair results. Remember: too much of a good thing can often be a bad thing!
On the flipside, though, biotin benefits include:
- Improved hair thickness
- Stronger hair
- Improved scalp health
- Less hair shedding, as the keratin in the hair holds hair in the follicle
There is a lack of clinical proof that only using biotin to improve hair growth works, as our bodies are often deficient in other vitamins and minerals as well. However, B Vitamins do help make amino acids, which in turn produces keratin, which is what our hair is made of.
How to Grow Your Hair Faster
There are plenty of hair growth tips out there, but simply learning how hair grows is an important part in understanding how to grow your hair faster. Learning how your hair grows is also invaluable for any and all hair growth, hair loss, hair thinning and hair health questions you may have down the road. School’s open, and first up is Hair Growth 101, so if you haven’t checked out our hair growth section, we recommend you checking that out first. Intrepid readers, venture below to learn more about hair growth rates, and how to get longer hair faster.
Say you got a bad haircut and you want to grow out your hair faster to undo your new ‘do. You can look to grow hair faster with vitamins and supplements that support your hair growth function, while also avoiding over-styling and harsh hair care products. Hair vitamins and hair supplements (or “hair pills”) are important because they target the root, instead of staying on the surface treating he symptoms like shampoos and serums. With the right vitamins and supplements, you can optimize internal conditions which will help the anagen phase, or hair growth phase, go more smoothly. When you address the actual root cause and no the symptom, you’ll notice that your hair not only grows faster but is no longer thinning or falling out at alarming rates. The next step is just keeping it up!
The Final Word: Hair Growth or Hocus Pocus?
Biotin is a great supplement that can help reverse a B vitamin deficiency, and there many of these pills that serve as supplements for women and men to help encourage healthy hair growth. But (and it’s a big but) there is actually little scientific evidence that it actually helps grow hair in humans. Improving hair health may be another story, but actual growth and Biotin do not exactly go hand in hand.
While there is not enough research to confirm that biotin alone can serve as a hair loss remedy, the fact that hair loss is often caused by vitamin deficiencies (of any sort) indicates that supplements contribute to the regrowth of healthy hair by improving hair follicle health, scalp health, and hair cell health.
“The brand calls this thinning hair remedy a “smart” supplement, and we agree. A potent combination of nutraceuticals works to strengthen and restore your hair from the inside out for a healthier, fuller look.”
– New Beauty Magazine