Biotin is a commonly used over-the-counter supplement that helps promote hair growth. It’s often touted to grow locks quickly, prevent hair loss, and provide real health benefits like lowered blood sugar or improved cognitive functions.
However, does biotin help hair growth? This vitamin seems to be a fool-proof solution when it comes to hair, but does it really work? Read on to find out what biotin is, if it really works, how to add it to your diet, and more.
What is Biotin?
Biotin plays an important role in hair, skin, and nail growth. It is a water-soluble vitamin part of the vitamin B family (also known as vitamin H). This vitamin is so important since the body needs biotin to turn nutrients into energy. Individuals who aren’t getting enough of this vitamin (through supplements or their diet) can experience hair loss. Usually, the biotin received through your diet is plenty to keep healthy hair, skin, and nails.
The Benefits: Does Biotin Work?
Here’s the thing… There has been very little data that truly supports biotin as being the holy grail for hair thinning. It’s proven that this B vitamin helps the body metabolize fat and carbs, but is it effective for hair growth?
While some women (and men) claim it’s an easy and affordable solution to hair loss, experts admit that this connection is prehistoric. To tackle hair thinning and shedding, a more comprehensive approach should be taken.
However, biotin is often recommended for hair health since its deficiency can lead to hair thinning. This is why many people believe that taking an abundance of biotin supplements can stimulate and thicken tresses. The truth of the matter is that biotin deficiency is rare. We get plenty of this vitamin from the foods we eat.
Now, there have been many studies that show this vitamin helps stimulate hair regrowth for people that have a biotin deficiency. There is very little to no evidence that biotin supplements benefit those that don’t have any underlying condition and just want to grow locks faster.
However, some people increase their intake in hopes of receiving additional benefits, like:
- Improved cognitive function
- Lowered blood sugar in diabetic people
- Reduced inflammation
How Much Should I Take?
You should talk to your doctor about the right daily intake for you. However, experts recommend the following dosage guidelines:
- Infants to 3 years should take 10-20 mcg per day
- Ages 4-6 should take 25 mcg per day
- Ages 7-10 should take 30 mcg per day
- 10+ years should take 30-100 mcg per day
Note: Women who are pregnant may need higher levels of this vitamin.
Will too much biotin cause side effects? Most individuals don’t experience any negative effects from taking supplements; however, minor side effects are possible such as cramping, nausea, or diarrhea.
Biotin Rich Foods
It’s likely you’re already getting your daily recommended dose of biotin from the foods you eat. If you want to increase your intake, consider including some of these biotin-rich foods into your diet:
- Egg yolk
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts)
- Whole grains
Note: Opt for raw foods as best you can since heat can reduce biotin’s efficacy.
Supplements are another great way to up your dosage. Biotin supplements can be found over the counter in either capsule or tablet form. Be sure to read the packaging thoroughly and only purchase from a reliable supplier. The two main things to look out for are:
- Third-Party Testing. Has the supplement undergone third-party testing? This will ensure quality and label accuracy.
- Ingredient Quality. What ingredients does the supplement contain? Are they high-quality or full of fillers and additives?
When Will I See Results?
This probably isn’t the answer you wanted to hear; however, you won’t see any notable benefits until after you’ve increased your intake for several months. There are some studies from 2015 that show increased hair growth in as little as 90 days. There are also other ways to increase hair growth, such as using castor oil, getting regular trims, and avoiding hot tools as much as possible.
Is Biotin Right For You?
Trying to grow out your hair? Biotin could work for you, so don’t’ scratch it off your list just yet. While there haven’t been many studies that prove the benefits of biotin and hair growth, millions of people claim this vitamin is the solution to hair thinning and hair loss.