Vitamin B7 (Biotin) for Hair Loss – The Natural Solution That Works!
Biotin (also known as vitamin H), is a B-complex vitamin. It is important for the conversion of food into energy. The recommended amount (RDA) for adults and teenagers is 30 to 100 mcg (micrograms) daily.
But since it is water soluble, any excess biotin you ingest will simply be eliminated through your urine.
If you’re trying to regrow your hair, get stronger nails or more youthful looking skin, you will need a much higher amount of biotin than the minimum RDA.
Is There Any Scientific Evidence That Biotin Promotes Hair Growth?
There isn’t much scientific evidence to support using biotin to regrow hair (which doesn’t mean that biotin isn’t useful in promoting hair growth- it means no one has pursued any research to prove that it does) but, there are, however, at least three positive clinical studies on PubMed to support the improvement of thin and brittle nails, which ties into the claim that biotin is good for hair, skin, and nails.
As a matter of fact, many supplements sold as treatments for improving the appearance of hair, skin, and nails contain high amounts of biotin.
So there is certainly observable evidence that biotin can make a difference for some individuals. The European Food Safety Authority has also given biotin a positive review.
Ways to Get Biotin in Your Diet
You can get an ample amount of biotin through foods, though you will never be able to consume enough food on a daily basis to achieve the levels of biotin that are prescribed for restoring hair, nails, and skin.
There is a fairly long list of foods that contain biotin. Some good examples are:
- Egg yolk
- Organ meats like liver or kidney
- Nuts- almonds, pecans, walnut
- Nut butters
- Legumes- peanuts and soybeans
- Whole grains
- Cold water fish (herring, sardines, tuna, salmon, trout, halibut)
- Red meat
- Sunflower seeds
Note: It is known that any kind of processing of foods that contain biotin can destroy the bioavailability of the vitamin. This includes cooking.
So to get the optimal amount from food, it should be consumed with as little processing as possible. In some instances, the food listed here should be cooked, but if possible, consuming them raw is preferable.
Supplementing Your Diet with Biotin- What Are Recommended Doses?
As mentioned before, biotin is a water-soluble vitamin. There is no known level of toxicity for biotin, as the body will just eliminate any excess.
However, in order to achieve a noticeable change in hair growth, it’s best to try and keep a certain amount of it circulating in your body at all times.
Some people may be more sensitive to the effects of biotin, and may not need to supplement at higher dosages. For others, the higher the amount, the better in terms of seeing new hair growth.
It seems to be common for dosage recommendations of around 5000 mcg daily, and some recommendations as much as 10,000 mcg daily.
If you are unsure, you can always start with a lower amount (some people start with 2500 mcg daily).
What seems clear is that you can’t harm yourself with higher dosages of biotin, so starting with 5000 mcg appears to be perfectly safe, and many biotin supplements come premeasured in that dosage.
Is Biotin Deficiency Contributing to Your Hair Loss?
Although biotin deficiency is rare, because it can be found in many foods, there are a few signs that you should be aware of.
- Thinning of hair, often with noticeable loss of hair color
- A red rash near the eyes, nose, or around the mouth
- Paresthesia of the extremities (a tingling or prickly feeling caused by damage to peripheral nerves)
If a person has a biotin deficiency, it is most likely congenital in nature (enzyme deficiency, malabsorption problem, or the person’s mother suffered long-term malnutrition during pregnancy).
Other things that can lead to biotin depletion are:
- Eating two or more raw egg whites daily for an extended period
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Some anti-seizure medications
- Possibly (not definitely) diabetes
- Anorexia (due to simply not eating enough food)
- Long-term use of antibiotics
Again, a deficiency is rare, but if you exhibit one or more of the symptoms listed (especially thinning hair with loss of hair color), it might behoove you to put yourself on a biotin supplement.
It really can’t be stressed too much- if you are taking any supplement for hair loss, it may take a few months -not days or weeks- before you will see a significantly noticeable improvement in the appearance of your hair.
Being patient and diligent is key. Don’t skip taking the supplement several days a week, if you want to see results.
Are There Any Side Effects from Biotin?
There have not been any documented side effects from taking biotin supplements. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their physician before taking a biotin supplement.
In rare cases, there are individuals who may have an allergic reaction to biotin supplements. Anyone who has a known allergy to cobalt or cobalamin should not take biotin.
The primary signs of an allergic reaction to biotin are tightness in the chest and throat accompanied by throat pain (anaphylaxis). This is an emergency situation which can lead to loss of consciousness and respiratory duress.
If you are diabetic, you should speak to your doctor before taking a biotin supplement, as high doses can affect your metabolism and thereby have an effect on your blood sugar levels.
Biotin is sometimes prescribed by allopathic physicians in the treatment of diabetes because it can increase insulin sensitivity and also increase levels of enzymes that are necessary for glucose metabolism.
Can Too Much Biotin Cause Hair Loss?
Biotin does not cause hair loss. It is common for dermatologists to recommend biotin to encourage hair growth and nail growth.
Having said that, when you first start taking biotin, you might experience some extra hair loss because your hair will start growing at a faster rate, and the rate of hair fall might increase.
So biotin can alter your hair growth cycle. Generally, this early hair loss will stop after continuing to use biotin regularly.
Does biotin thicken existing hair follicles?
There isn’t any scientific evidence that it does, but there are claims that it can. It is important to remember that what works for one person doesn’t always work for everyone.
If the cause of hair loss is related to a hormonal imbalance, or other underlying issues that need to be addressed, biotin supplementation may not lead to the hair restoration you’re seeking.
Comparisons of Different Sources of Biotin
The standard dosage that most companies that produce biotin supplements offer is 5,000 mcg (5 mgs). That is considered an optimal dosage and should produce results if taken as directed. Biotin can be purchased as capsules, tablets or liquid.
Liquid supplements can get into the bloodstream more quickly if they are taken sublingually, that is, put underneath the tongue for a minute or so and allowed to enter through the salivary glands.
This eliminates any possibility of the stomach acids destroying the potency of the product. However, in the case of biotin, stomach acids don’t seem to play a huge role in how effective the supplement will be.
The larger and more important thing to consider is the quality of the supplement, whether it be liquid, in capsule form, or tablet form. It pays to do a little research on the company that produces the biotin supplement before purchasing it.
If you want to check the rating of a company that produces supplements, in the U.S. you would look for their USP rating (which stands for U.S. Pharmacopoeia), or if you live outside the U.S., check their rating with the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices).
Also, if you want to check on the quality of a specific product before buying it, you can always call them or email them and ask what quality rating they’ve received and what organization does their quality testing.
If they can’t provide answers to those questions, you might consider moving on to another company’s products.
What Have Others Said About Biotin and Hair Growth?
“I’ve tried biotin but I’m on fifteen other things and it’s hard to say that biotin did anything.”
“So I’ve been on Biotin (5000 g?) for just over a month now. Every day. My hairline has either matured over the last 6 years or receded super slow.
It’s gone a bit jagged (like Christian Bale’s) with two small triangle bits thinning on the left side and the right has just thinned a bit (right side has always been higher).”
My Biotin Super Smoothie
If you think you’re deficient in biotin you might do well to focus on boosting biotin-rich foods in your diet. The best (and fastest) way to do this is with my biotin smoothie.
The advantage of this method over others is that the smoothie digests quickly and the vitamins in highly bioavailable because of the other ingredients.
You can find this amazing recipe HERE!
We know that biotin is an essential B-complex vitamin that performs more than one function. It is essential for converting food into energy in our bodies, and can affect the growth of hair, nails, skin and can affect blood glucose levels.
A lack of biotin will affect our central nervous systems, leading to depression, lethargy, and in severe cases, hallucinations.
But we also know that biotin is plentiful in a wide variety of foods, so biotin deficiency is rare unless there are underlying genetic problems or malnutrition.
The key point in what we have learned is that biotin seems to support and increase metabolism, thereby leading to faster growth of hair that already exists, and it seems to cause new hair growth from follicles that might have been previously damaged.
Biotin can be taken in fairly large doses without any serious side effects, and it is an inexpensive supplement.
As with all supplements, it pays to do some research before purchasing the first time from a company you’re not familiar with. Like with most things, the quality of some products are better than others, so if a company has customer reviews on its site, reading them might be a good idea.
We can also see that not everyone will have the same experience using biotin for hair loss and that it takes a little time and patience before seeing significant results.
Before deciding to use biotin to tackle your hair loss problem, it wouldn’t hurt to talk to your physician about any underlying conditions you might have that could lead to hair loss.
The key to reversing the problem lies in your overall health, so if you have a condition that is the direct cause of hair loss, or if you take a medication that can lead to hair loss, your physician might be able to offer you advice or alternatives.
Share with permission from Hair Loss Revolution