Not to be a killjoy, but you’re probably barking up the wrong tree if you think biotin can reduce hair loss. The evidence is weak at best, and though biotin deficiency may contribute to hair loss in some people, the condition is rare and probably not why you’re losing your strands.
You can thank DHT for that – but that’s another article, and one we’ve already talked about here at Natural Health Source.
Don’t despair too much if you’d prefer to fight hair loss naturally. There are steps you can take to minimize hair loss regardless of the follicely challenged hand you’re dealt. You may just want to skip biotin to do that. Or combine biotin with other hair-friendly nutrients through your diet.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is ‘vitamin H‘. It’s part of the B complex of vitamins, which the body uses to convert food (carbohydrates) to glucose. B complex vitamins also help the body metabolize fats and proteins.
About 95% of hair is protein. So it makes sense that many companies put it in skin and hair products (including Profollica). It’s a water soluble vitamin. That means the body does not store biotin, though gut bacteria can make it and you can get small amounts of biotin from your diet.
Biotin deficiency is rare, but can lead to hair loss and dry, scaly skin. That may be why people link biotin with hair growth, though that link is tenuous. There’s little evidence to suggest biotin by itself can help folks get thicker up top.
There’s not much to write about with biotin and hair growth because few studies have been performed on the subject. Those that have don’t look especially promising. Some evidence suggests that biotin supplements may improve fingernail and hair growth. And one study found that 10mg of biotin reduced hair loss when experienced as a side effect of an anti-epileptic drug.
That’s about it for evidence. We don’t really know if or how it helps otherwise healthy people. One researcher speculates that biotin may improve hair’s keratin structure. The latter is a protein that makes up skin, hair and nails. If biotin helps with hair growth, theoretically it might fill in that structure.
We don’t know how much biotin you’d need to improve hair growth. You risk overdosing on biotin too – signs include skin rashes, lower vitamin C, higher blood sugar and slower release of insulin. At present, the ‘accepted’ dose is about 2.5mg of biotin each day.
How to Fight Hair Loss
It’s unlikely that biotin alone with lead to new hair growth. Profollica has biotin, but the hero ingredient is Trichogen – a patented peptide that reduced hair loss in 90% of men who used it.
To fight hair loss naturally, you’ll want to use a similar product. Preferably one that combines biotin with other hair-friendly nutrients like zinc.
Rogaine and Propecia are other options, although Rogaine typically works best for preserving frontal hair loss in men under 40. And Propecia is linked to a disturbing series of sexual side effects that may be permanent even when you stop using the product.
Hair transplants might be worth a look. They’re getting better by the year.
Biotin On Your Plate
Assuming you have no food allergies that would prevent otherwise, it probably can’t hurt to eat foods rich in biotin. They’re typically high in B vitamins and nutrients with cosmetic benefits – healthier hair among them. Biotin-rich foods include:
Mushrooms – It’s hard to go wrong with mushrooms. Especially if you want more biotin – mushrooms are rich in that and other nutrients that contribute to better health. Experiment with mushrooms to find a variety you like.
Tuna – Coldwater oily fish are great for your health in general and tuna is one of them. It’s rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and of course, biotin, which probably can’t hurt your chances for hair growth either.
Turkey – Good for your muscles and great for hair growth, turkey is a rich source of biotin (and is, coincidentally, why most Americans aren’t deficient in biotin). Stick with skinless, boneless turkey breast, and preferably roasted.
Avocados – Low in sodium and rich in healthy fat, avocado packs enough biotin to put them up there with some of the best beauty foods for your money.
Swiss Chard – Put simply, swiss chard is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It’s rich in biotin and other ‘good-looking’ nutrients, like fiber and vitamin C.
Eggs – Eggs are great for hair, in no small part because they’re an excellent source of protein. They’re rich in biotin too
Salmon – You already know about salmon and what it does for your heart and brain. But salmon is poetry for your hair too, because it supplies your follicles with protein-a-plenty. Salmon appears to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which doesn’t hurt either.
Sunflower Seeds – Fans of The X Files might remember that spooky FBI agent Fox Mulder (the same guy that plays Hank Moody for you Californication types) loved munching on sunflower seeds. Eat them raw, preferably organic, for a hefty dose of biotin and maybe even Duchcovny-like hair to go with it.
Liver – Does it make you cringe that the food you loathed as a kid might also be exceptionally healthy? Well think about this. Liver is also very friendly to your scalp, with high levels of biotin, iron and magnesium.
Peanut Butter – Don’t ever skimp on peanut butter – it’s one of those cravings you may have that are actually good for you, and your hair likes it too. It’s a great source of biotin and protein and comes with a light hit to the waistline for all bang it offers.
Whole Wheat Bread – Say what you want about wheat and the conspiracy theories behind it. As long as it says ‘100% Whole Grains’ on the label, you should be getting digestion-friendly fiber. You’ll get biotin as well, along with protein and iron.