Biotin is often marketed for increasing hair growth and thickness.
Who doesn’t want a thick, healthy head of hair? While there are a lot of hair products that claim to make your hair healthy and shiny and even help hair grow faster, not all of these products are backed by scientific evidence. One nutritional supplement that’s been promoted in recent years for hair health is Biotin. There are numerous claims that Biotin not only makes hair look thicker but can also help it to grow faster. Biotin is also being promoted by some companies as a way to stop hair loss. Is biotin for hair growth and thickness really effective?
What is Biotin?
Biotin is a member of the “B” vitamin family and is important for the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Although biotin is an important dietary component, deficiency is very uncommon since it’s widely found in foods including meat, dairy products, and some vegetables. If you eat large quantities of raw egg whites, you can have more difficulty absorbing biotin due to the presence of a protein in the egg that blocks absorption. This is a practice that most people avoid these days due to the risk of Salmonella. Requirements for Biotin may be greater during pregnancy and when taking certain medications, particularly anti-seizure drugs.
Biotin for Hair Growth: What’s the Association?
While deficiency of biotin can cause hair loss, along with skin dryness and brittle nails, as previously stated, deficiency isn’t a common problem and there’s no evidence that adding extra biotin to your diet offers any additional benefits. If a deficiency state does exist, as might occur when a patient is hospitalized and not eating normally, biotin supplements may help reestablish normal hair growth. There’s evidence that pregnant women are more likely to be Biotin deficient and may need supplements. If you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor about this issue.
How Can You Be Sure You Have Enough Biotin in Your Diet?
If you eat a relatively healthy diet, it’s unlikely you’ll be deficient in this vitamin unless you’re pregnant. If you want to add Biotin to your diet naturally, three of the best sources are Swiss chard, carrots, and Brewer’s yeast. This is a safe and effective way to get more Biotin in your diet.
Biotin for Hair Growth: Should You Take Supplements?
Unless you’re pregnant, it’s unlikely you’ll need Biotin supplements. Taking biotin for hair growth is not supported by any medical studies and is unlikely to be effective.
The bottom line? Biotin for hair growth, although probably safe, is unlikely to increase how fast your hair grows or how thick it is. The most effective way to maintain healthy hair is to eat a healthy diet, including sufficient quantities of protein, to maximize hair growth and thickness. If you’re experiencing hair loss, see your doctor to have a blood test to check for hypothyroidism and other medical conditions that could be associated with thinning hair. Don’t waste your money on Biotin supplements.