Biotin for Hair Growth: Sources and Recommendations - Step To Health

Biotin for Hair Growth: Sources and Recommendations

Biotin is touted as an effective solution to prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. However, there's no scientific evidence for this, except in cases where it's prescribed because there's a deficiency.
Biotin for Hair Growth: Sources and Recommendations

Last update: 17 December, 2021

Biotin is a form of B vitamin that’s recommended to stimulate hair growth. However, the benefit can vary significantly from person to person. Find out about biotin for hair growth in this article.

In addition to this, there still aren’t enough studies to prove these properties. Although the available research affirms that it does promote hair growth in some cases, it isn’t clear how it works and what its scope is.

Biotin in its different presentations has become a highly demanded product. Many doctors even recommend it as a complementary treatment to prevent alopecia.

What is biotin?

Biotin, or vitamin B7, is a compound that forms an essential part of several enzymes responsible for some crucial aspects of metabolism. Among other functions, it helps to maintain healthy hair and skin.

All indications are that biotin helps to metabolize certain nutrients that stimulate the production of keratin. This is a fundamental component of hair, skin and nails. The vitamin would also maintain hydration in these areas.

Biotin deficiency isn’t a common condition. However, some people are more susceptible to it, such as those with Crohn’s disease. Symptoms of this type of deficiency include hair loss. In such cases, biotin is often recommended.

In people without Crohn’s disease, biotin is often recommended as a hair growth supplement when hair is found to be weak. However, the scientific evidence isn’t strong in people without intestinal conditions.

Biotin for hair growth.
Intestinal disorders can hinder the absorption of vitamin B7, leading to biotin deficiency.

Sources of biotin

The body can acquire biotin from a wide range of foods. It’s also possible to obtain it in the form of supplements. Food sources rich in biotin include the following:

  • Liver
  • Cooked egg yolk
  • Oatmeal, wheat germ, soy, and yeast
  • Milk and cheese
  • Sardines
  • Cauliflower and green beans
  • Pork, beef, and chicken
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots, tomatoes, and lettuce
  • Peanuts, walnuts, and almonds

A varied and healthy diet is considered sufficient to provide the amounts of biotin needed for the body to function normally. Another source of this vitamin is supplements. These come in the form of a water-soluble powder. Also, some shampoos and hair products contain this substance.

Benefits of biotin for hair growth

Biotin is considered an essential vitamin. This means that the body can’t function properly without this compound. Its main role is to help convert nutrients into energy.

It’s assumed that, when taken as a supplement, biotin may offer several benefits. However, there isn’t enough scientific backing to support its claimed properties for hair growth. Apparently, according to some authors, it may increase the thickness of the strands and increase volume.

Therefore, it’s often used in the treatment of hair loss or to improve the appearance of thinning, brittle, flat hair. In telogen effluvium, it would have some incidence, although research has clarified that there must be a basic deficit to justify its application as a supplement.

This vitamin also promotes better intestinal absorption of other B vitamins. Therefore, it’s an adjuvant to help prevent vitamin B12 deficiencies, for example, and thus prevent muscle and nervous system disorders.

Uses and recommendations of biotin

It’s recommended that the daily intake of biotin should be between 25 and 30 micrograms for children between 4 and 10 years of age. For adults, it should be between 20 and 100 micrograms per day. These amounts can be easily obtained in a normal, balanced diet.

As for biotin supplements, there’s no recommended dosage, as the concentrations of this component vary according to the brand. Therefore, it’s best to follow your doctor’s instructions.

The only dose of this supplement that has been proven to promote hair growth and strengthen nails is 2.5 milligrams per day for 6 months orally. There are no studies to support the efficacy of shampoos or hair products containing it for topical application.

Excessive intake of biotin, on the other hand, can lead to problems. Side effects such as skin rashes, digestive upset, insulin production difficulties, and kidney disorders are possible.

In some cases, too much biotin can cause effects similar to those of Graves’ disease. Specifically, it can cause the thyroid to secrete an increased amount of thyroid hormone. Therefore, it affects the results of laboratory tests of this gland.

A woman washing her hair.
It is not clear if a shampoo with biotin acts topically and stops hair loss.

A good diet shouldn’t lack biotin

There’s no research to establish whether long-term use of supplements of this vitamin could cause negative effects. If a person has problems with hair growth, it’s best to consult a doctor for guidance.

Biotin in shampoo won’t be harmful, but it isn’t certain that it will stimulate the growth of weak strands. The situation is different for those who have a certified diagnosis of vitamin B7 deficiency. In this case, supplementation will be necessary.

For the time being, what we know is that a balanced diet is sufficient. If you suffer from intestinal malabsorption problems, then consult a professional and evaluate your internal vitamin levels.

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