is perhaps the most "highly" recommended supplement to help support hair growth, naturally. But is it really the best answer? Should you be taking it? Lets look into this popular supplement a bit more to learn exactly what it is and how it may be able to support healthy hair, skin and nails.
What is Biotin
Biotin, or Vitamin B7, is one of the eight essential B vitamins
the body needs on a daily basis for health. The B vitamins act as coenzymes within the body, helping it properly break down fats, protein and carbohydrates to create energy, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). When the body is low on biotin, hair loss or brittle hair is sometimes a common side effects, which is why many people take extra Biotin to keep their hair strong.
Biotin and Your Hair
Biotin is also said to help strengthen the hair by fortifying its structure to prevent breakage and damage, allowing it to grow longer. Based on what we know about biotin and its actions within the body, this is a very well accepted benefit of taking it in supplement form.
However, the published research about biotin as related to hair health is limited at best, as supplements like vitamins aren't studied as extensively as prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. However, what is out there does seem to support the claim biotin helps strengthen the tissues of the body, namely the hair and the nails. The only published trial we could find on a biotin supplement was one from 1993
, a study conducted in Switzerland and published in the medical journal Cutis that showed supplementation with biotin for six months resulted in an average 25 percent increase in nail thickness. One could certainly argue this shows that taking a biotin supplement can produce effects within the body beyond what would normally be taken through the diet, but more research is certainly called for, as suggested by the NIH as well. There currently aren't any published studies to show biotin can help regrow lost hair.
So, the verdict: Will it make your hair grow back? Probably not (at least as far we know ). Could it make your hair stronger and less brittle? It certainly could. And that may possibly allow it to grow longer.
The safety of biotin for cosmetic uses (like strengthening the hair) was confirmed in a 2001 study
published in the International Journal of Toxicology. The important thing to remember about B vitamins is that they're water soluble. This means they're broken down quickly by the body and any excess is expelled through the urine instead of collecting within the body with the potential to become toxic. That being said, speaking with your doctor before adding a new supplement to your routine -- especially if you've been diagnosed with a medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding -- is always recommended.
If you're interested in trying biotin in supplement form, there are many options available in varying strengths and forms. You can also find biotin as an ingredient in hair care products like shampoo
to strengthen the hair from the inside out.
More Tips and Suggestions for Healthy Hair
To keep your hair strong, consider trying these five suggestions:
Never brush your hair when it's wet. Gently work a wide-toothed comb through tangles instead.Avoid sleeping with your hair in a tight rubber band (if it's long) that can bend it and cause breakage.
Try putting coconut oil on your hair from mid-way to the ends once a week. Leave it on for one hour or even sleep with it on before washing out.Skip a day or two between washings if you can to keep hair from drying out. Using baby powder on the roots can help refresh hair between shampoos.Adding healthy fats to your diet by consuming fatty fish, avocados and olive oil may also help make your hair more lustrous.
As with any supplement, we recommend that you speak with your primary doctor or local health practitioner before taking or starting any supplement program or regimen.
About The AuthorDr. Matt Marturano, ND is a licensed naturopathic physician and received his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and also has a dual Bachelor of Science in Biology and Philosophy from the University of Michigan. In addition, Dr. Marturano currently is a member of the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians and is the Director of Recruitment - Integrative Medicine for Orchid Holistic Search.
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