Does Biotin Really Benefit Your Hair?
Hair loss is super common! Most of us deal with hair troubles atleast once in our lifetimes, whether its hair fall, dullness, dandruff, or even just damage. If you’re always up to speed about the latest cosmetic products and supplements in the market, you will observe that most of the supplements and cosmetic products that target hair health contain biotin, along with other vitamins and minerals.
Biotin is the common element in all these products and supplements. What does this imply? Biotin helps improve hair growth, texture and shine – whether you take it orally or lather it onto your scalp.
Are biotin benefits for hair real and is there a link between this tiny vitamin and hair growth? Read on to understand how biotin can enhance your hair.
How does Biotin benefit hair growth?
Our body needs biotin for various functions. The primary function of biotin is to convert food into energy. Kerotin is the protein that helps in maintaining hair, skin and nail health. Biotin aids the production of keratin and thus enhances hair health. If you are on a balanced diet it is unlikely that you will have a biotin deficiency. If you are experiencing hair fall and thinning of hair, then there are chances that you have a biotin deficiency. Hair fall normally happens when the production of the essential vitamin i.e., keratin is hampered.
Biotin supplements or products with biotin as the primary ingredient are generally recommended to enhance hair health and improve the quality and volume of hair. Research has shown that the long-term inclusion of biotin either by way of supplements or cosmetic products has helped in improving the hair health of older women as well. It was also observed that biotin when combined with ingredients like zinc and iron has a better effect on hair health.
Children who had improved hair growth after being administered biotin supplements had biotin deficiency owing to some underlying medical conditions. So biotin supplements can reverse biotin deficiency to restore hair growth and health.
Does Biotin prevent hair loss?
Studies have shown that biotin works better for preventing hair loss rather than promoting hair growth. Though it promotes hair growth, its effect on preventing hair loss is better. The biotin benefits for hair loss were more visible in persons with biotin deficiency due to an underlying medical condition like inflammatory bowel disease or consumption of antibiotics. A considerable relief from hair loss was observed through the inclusion of biotin supplements in their diet.
Other reasons for hair loss include
- Female pattern baldness or alopecia
- Quick weight loss
- Iron, Zinc or Protein deficiency
- Thyroid disorder caused due to hormonal imbalance.
Just including biotin supplements in the diet without identifying the reason for hair loss will either delay the process or will not have any visible biotin benefits for hair. So the primary requirement is to identify the reason and then administer biotin supplements for optimum biotin benefits for hair loss.
What is the recommended dietary allowance for biotin and how do you derive it?
The standards for the daily requirement of any vitamin or nutrient are set by the FDA. Due to a lack of data to set the RDA for biotin, FDA has standards for adequate intake of biotin. The adequate intake (AI) standards set by FDA will be the determining index for the requirement of biotin for normal functioning. The AI set for adults is 30 mcg and 35 mcg for lactating women.
The adequate intake recommended can be easily met with by planning a balanced diet. The following food sources when included in the diet can provide adequate levels of biotin.
- Whole egg: 10 mcg i.e. 33% of the Daily Value (DV)
- 85 grams of beef: 30.8 mcg i.e., 103% of the DV
- 85 grams of salmon: 5 mcg i.e., 17% of the DV
- 85 grams of pork chops: 3.8 mcg i.e., 13% of the DV
- 85 grams of hamburger patty: 3.8 mcg i.e., 13% of the DV
- 33.2 grams of sunflower seeds: 2.6 mcg i.e., 9% of the DV
- ½ cup sweet potato: 2.4 mcg i.e., 8% of the DV
- 36 grams of almonds: 1.5 mcg i.e., 5% of the DV
Beef, though one of the best sources of biotin may not be a part of everybody’s diet. But eggs can be. It is also a considerably good source of biotin. Ensure to eat boiled eggs to the maximum benefit. Avidin, a type of sugar protein, present in raw eggs binds biotin firmly and inhibits your body from efficiently absorbing biotin and experiencing the biotin benefits for hair. Cooking destroys avidin and enables easy absorption.
If you are unable to include the best sources i.e., beef and eggs in your diet, you can also derive biotin from the best biotin supplements available in the market. Alternatively, you can also use serums and shampoos that have biotin as the main ingredient. Do read the label for the extent of biotin content in the supplement and the cosmetic products to get the most of it.
When does a Biotin deficiency occur?
Several factors enhance the risk of biotin deficiency. Persons who have underlying conditions mentioned below are at higher risk of biotin deficiency. You will have to be aware of these conditions and the treatment to revert biotin deficiency for optimum biotin benefits for hair.
- A genetic disorder i.e., biotinidase deficiency (BTD) where the body is unable to recycle and reuse biotin. This disorder has been detected in many babies all over the world.
- Prolonged consumption of alcohol. Alcohol prevents the absorption of biotin from food sources.
- Low nutrient levels due to an unhealthy diet or inadequate food can bring down the level of biotin.
- Underlying conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease etc. can impact the production of biotin by gut bacteria.
- Though having a balanced diet, pregnant or lactating women may develop biotin deficiency.
- Persons who are under antiepileptics or retinoids are at risk of biotin deficiency.
What are the risks associated with Biotin supplements?
Deriving biotin benefits for hair through biotin supplements is recommended if you are diagnosed with biotin deficiency. But what are the risks associated with the consumption of biotin supplements?
By and large biotin supplements are safe. Especially, if the supplements are plant-sourced and comprise natural ingredients. The instances of toxic effects are rare as biotin is a water-soluble vitamin.
It is recommended to stick to a moderate dose of biotin supplements as overdose can cause side effects like nausea, thirst and frequent urination.
Overdose of biotin can interfere with certain lab test findings like level of thyroid hormones, Vitamin health and detection of heart health.
For the right dosage, consult your physician before adding biotin supplements to your diet.