Biotin for Hair Growth:
Whenever I buy at a large box retailer, I like to explore their nutritional supplement options to be abreast of any new goods. Increasingly, I’ve observed more products that provide specialized health solutions, notably around hair development and thickness.
Most of the items have many components. Biotin, a water-soluble B vitamin, is virtually always one of them. Similarly, many shampoos and conditioners that claim thicker, fuller hair typically contain this B vitamin.
The repeating theme here is that biotin, whether taken as a supplement or lathered in your hair, reportedly improves hair development. This article explores the relationship between biotin and hair health and if the vitamin is beneficial and safe for hair growth or preventing hair loss.
What research says about biotin and hair development
Biotin offers various advantages for your body.
Its major duty is to help transform the food you ingest into energy. Your body also requires it to manufacture keratin — the sort of protein that builds up hair, skin, and nails. Many foods contain biotin, so that shortage is unlikely in healthy people who follow a balanced diet.
Although rare, biotin deficiency can cause skin rashes, brittle nails, as well as hair thinning, and loss. This belongs to the vitamin’s involvement in keratin formation. As such, biotin pills and biotin-added hair treatments are widely touted to encourage healthy hair development or create fuller, voluminous hair.
Despite these claims, though, there are minimal data to show that supplementing with biotin or lathering it into your hair boosts hair growth in non-deficient persons. In an older 2012 trial, women with self-perceived thinning hair were randomized to take either a multi-ingredient hair growth supplement that contained biotin or a placebo for 6 months.
Those who got the hair growth supplement reported a visible improvement in total hair volume, scalp covering, and thickness following the treatment period. Meanwhile, no significant improvements were detected in the placebo group. However, because the hair growth supplement contains numerous substances — including zinc and iron, which are also important for hair development — it’s not feasible to describe the study’s findings to biotin alone.
Further, the trial was tiny, and it’s likely that the subjects were low in one or more nutrients found in the supplement that impact hair health. Any such shortage may have been addressed within the research period, resulting in hair growth. In a second study, researchers discovered that children who saw greater hair growth or quality after taking biotin supplements all had an underlying illness that produced a biotin shortage.
Outside of this research, there is no solid evidence to suggest taking biotin pills or utilizing biotin-added hair products to increase hair growth.
A biotin supplement can help rectify a biotin shortage and restore hair health and growth. No significant evidence supports utilizing biotin supplements or biotin-added hair products to enhance hair growth in non-deficient persons.
Does biotin help prevent hair loss?
Although the evidence to support biotin alone for hair development is weak and restricted, the evidence is slightly greater for preventing hair loss. Still, biotin pills are only likely to prevent hair loss and increase hair growth in persons with a biotin deficit.
In one research, a biotin deficit was detected in 38 percent of women complaining of hair loss. Of these patients, 11 percent had a history of deficient risk factors, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or the use of specific drugs like antibiotics. While this study didn’t test the impact of biotin supplements or biotin-added hair products on preventing hair loss, it illustrates the relationship between hair loss and inadequate biotin levels. Other reasons for hair loss include:
- androgenetic alopecia, commonly known as female pattern baldness
- quick weight loss
- other nutritional shortages like iron, zinc, or protein
- certain hormonal problems including thyroid dysfunction
Due to the various variables involved in hair loss and thinning, supplementing with biotin without understanding the reason might prevent or postpone the necessary therapy in situations when a biotin deficiency isn’t at blame. Even in circumstances when a biotin shortage is apparent, biotin supplementation may not necessarily prevent hair loss.
For example, researchers in one study administered a biotin supplement to 22 individuals with low biotin levels for hair loss following gastric sleeve surgery. After 3 months, 5 of the patients reported a large drop in hair loss, 14 reported a moderate benefit, and 3 reported no effect, suggesting that other factors may also be at play when it comes to hair loss and its prevention.
Because hair loss is occasionally related to a biotin deficit, addressing a deficiency with supplements helps prevent hair loss in some people. However, hair loss can be a consequence of various other reasons, too.
Daily requirements and biotin-rich meals
Normally, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies of the Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determines a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for each nutrient. When there isn’t enough evidence to define an RDA for a nutrient, which is the situation with biotin, the board instead sets an acceptable intake (AI) (AI). This is the nutritional level thought to be adequate for most people.
The AI for biotin is 30 mcg for adults and 35 mcg for women who breastfeed. You may easily satisfy these requirements by having a balanced diet. In fact, it’s estimated that persons living in the United States obtain roughly 35–70 mcg per day of biotin.
Here’s are some of the top sources of biotin:
|Food||Micrograms (mcg)||Daily Value (DV)|
|Beef liver, 3 ounces (85 grams)||30.8||103% of the DV|
|Egg, whole||10||33% of the DV|
|Salmon, 3 ounces (85 grams)||5||17% of the DV|
|Porkchop, 3 ounces (85 grams)||3.8||13% of the DV|
|Hamburger patty, 3 ounces (85 grams)||3.8||13% of the DV|
|Sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup (33.2 grams)||2.6||9% of the DV|
|Sweet potato, 1/2 cup (76.9 grams)||2.4||8% of the DV|
|Almonds, 1/4 cup (36 grams)||1.5||5% of the DV|
Eggs are a wonderful source of biotin, but avoid taking them uncooked to get the most of the vitamin. Raw egg whites contain avidin, a kind of sugar protein, which strongly binds biotin, preventing your body from absorbing it. Cooking eliminates avidin, allowing you to absorb biotin. Thus, it’s advisable — both for your safety and nourishment — to avoid raw eggs (2Trusted Source) (2Trusted Source).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require food producers to disclose biotin on their labels unless they add it to their goods. In addition to food, the bacteria in your intestines may generate biotin. However, the function of gut bacteria on the overall biotin status of people remains uncertain – in part due to the diversity of the gut microbiota and the variables that determine its composition.
People in the United States usually meet or surpass the daily guideline for biotin. Animal-based foods like eggs, meat, and fish tend to be the best source, although certain seeds, nuts, and vegetables also contain it.
Who may be at risk for a deficiency
Biotin supplements are normally unneeded unless you have a biotin deficit or a risk factor that raises your likelihood of a deficiency. People most at risk for a biotin deficiency include those with:
Biotinidase deficiency (BTD). A hereditary disease in which the body is unable to utilise and recycle biotin. Newborns in the United States and many other nations are checked for this condition.
Chronic alcohol usage. Because alcohol reduces biotin absorption, long-term alcohol consumption is associated with considerable declines in biotin levels.
Malnutrition. Inadequate dietary and nutrition consumption can lead to low nutrient levels, especially biotin.
Inflammatory bowel disorders (IBDs). Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can impair the gut bacteria’s synthesis of biotin.
Those who are pregnant and nursing might also acquire low biotin levels despite regular dietary consumption of the vitamin. This may be due to increasing consumption of the vitamin, reduced absorption, or both. People who use particular kinds of drugs including antiepileptics and retinoids are additionally at risk of a biotin deficit.
Antiepileptics are often used to treat seizure disorders, nerve pain, and bipolar disorder. Retinoids are a family of chemicals generated from vitamin A, often used to treat acne, psoriasis, and other dermatological diseases. Outside of these groups, biotin pills or biotin-added hair treatments are unlikely to give any advantages.
Persons at risk for biotin deficiency include people with BTD, persistent alcohol use, malnutrition, and IBD. Those who are pregnant and breastfeeding as well as those who take certain drugs are also at a higher risk.
Risks and warnings
Biotin used as a dietary supplement is quite safe and unlikely to have harmful consequences since it’s water-soluble. However, an overdose of biotin may induce sleeplessness, increased thirst, and urination.
Taking them can also create excessive biotin levels in your blood, which can interfere with some lab tests, including those used to monitor thyroid hormones, vitamin D, and heart health. That’s because many lab tests employ biotin due to its ability to connect with certain proteins and identify various health issues.
Therefore, always let your doctor aware of any supplements you take or intend to take that include biotin. These may include certain prenatal and multivitamins. It’s also worth mentioning that several antiepileptic medicines — such as carbamazepine, primidone, phenytoin, and phenobarbital — can drop biotin levels. If you take any of these, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to ensure you’re receiving enough biotin, either via your food, with a supplement, or a combination.
Biotin supplements are typically safe to consume, although they can conflict with some lab results. Thus, keep your healthcare physician in the loop of any supplements you take that may include this vitamin.
There’s no solid evidence to recommend taking biotin for hair growth or to prevent hair loss in persons without a deficit. Because hair thinning and poor hair growth are sometimes associated with a biotin deficiency, correcting a deficiency can help restore hair growth in some people. Several other reasons can also cause hair loss and thinning, including a deficit in key minerals like iron and zinc.
Most individuals get plenty of biotin through their meals. Yet, some diseases, lifestyle behaviors, and drugs can induce low levels. If you intend to take a supplement with biotin, let your doctor know before having any blood tests done as the vitamin might interfere with some lab test results.
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