Everyone loves a beautiful compliment, especially one that gives credit to the hair. Biotin! You may have come across this word in your quest for improved hair growth. Biotin plays numerous beneficial roles in the body, most notably its activities in the growth and maintenance of healthy hair.
In this article, we would describe the beneficial roles of biotin in your body, specifically its role in the growth of your hair.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, one of the eight B complex vitamins, specifically called B-7 (1). It acts as a coenzyme and is also referred to as coenzyme R. A coenzyme is a substance that improves enzyme reaction. They do not work directly to activate or speed up biological reactions; instead, they help the enzymes speed up reactions.
Biotin functions alongside the enzyme category known as carboxylases. Carboxylases are involved in the body’s metabolic processes, including the production and utilization of glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids (2). Biotin mechanism of action helps the body convert the food consumed into energy by breaking down fats and carbohydrates.
Because the human body does not store water-soluble enzymes, there is a need to absorb them regularly from daily diets. Biotin is present naturally in a wide range of food and also available as a supplement.
There is no laboratory test to check the biotin level; when the biotin level is low, it can only be detected by the symptoms. Some of these symptoms include red scaly rashes on the face, thinning of the hair, loss of hair color, depression, brittle nails, tingling of the arms and legs, hallucination, and tiredness.
Benefits of Biotin
Biotin is also known as Vitamin H – the H represents the German words “Haar und Haut,” translated to “hair and skin” (3). Biotin plays a great role in maintaining the natural health of hair and skin, but that is not all; other benefits include
1. Breaking Down Macronutrients
Biotin helps convert consumed food into energy through biochemical processes. It acts as a coenzyme, supporting the enzymes involved in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. These biochemical processes include:
Gluconeogenesis – This is the biochemical process of synthesizing glucose from sources other than carbohydrates. These may be fats or amino acids.
Fatty acid synthesis – Biotin assists the enzymes involved in the production reactions of fatty acids.
Amino acid breakdown – Biotin-assisted enzymes are involved in the metabolism of amino acids, specifically leucine.
2. Improving Nail Health
When your nails are brittle, they are fragile and prone to cracks, splits, and breakage. Biotin may strengthen your nails, improving your overall health.
3. Improving Hair Growth
4. Reducing blood sugar level in diabetes patients
5. Supporting fetal development during pregnancy (4)
6. Maintaining the nervous system
7. Improving eye health
8. Improving liver health and functionality
9. Maintaining healthy skin
10. Supporting Multiple sclerosis treatments
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, which damages Myelin. Myelin is the protective covering of nerve fibers in the eyes, brain, and spinal cord. Biotin may help produce it and thereby reverse the disease progression and reduce chronic disability (5).
11. Increases good cholesterol –HDL and decrease bad cholesterol – LDL
12. Reduces inflammation
13. Improve cognitive functions.
Biotin deficiency is not common (6). However, its occurrence may be traced to different reasons, such as
- Inadequate dietary intake
- Genetic disorders that affect biotin metabolism
- High intake of alcohol
High intake of raw eggs – Raw egg white contains the protein avidin, which binds to biotin and prevents the body from absorbing it. Cooking the egg deactivates the protein action.
Biotin deficiencies are not identified in the laboratory, rather through the visible symptoms (5), which includes
- Brittle fingernails
- Scaly red skin rashes on the face – dermatitis (7)
- Hair thinning
- Dry skin
- Acute hair loss – alopecia
- Dry eyes – conjunctivitis
Biotin and Hair Growth
Biotin acts on the hair by improving the body’s keratin level. Keratin is the protein component that makes up the skin, hair, and nails. Improved keratin level results in improved hair growth and reduces hair loss by shedding.
How does Biotin work for Hair growth?
Biotin treatment is a heavy trend in the beauty industry. On discovering the amazing beauty benefits of biotin, there has been a need to integrate it into regular beauty regimens to harness its benefits. Biotin may treat alopecia by controlling hair loss, improving hair growth, and generating finer hair texture.
There are two ways biotin may work for your hair growth.
1. Biotin may help in the proliferation of hair cells; this proliferation is essential for healthy hair growth. The protein Keratin is a major component of hair cells, and this protein is made up of amino acids. Biotin reacts with specific enzymes present in the hair cells, which play key roles in amino acid production in our body. Therefore, an increase in the production of amino acids will strengthen the hair fibers and make them grow faster.
2. Biotin helps in the metabolic processes of breaking down consumed food and releasing energy in your body. This action improves the circulation of blood throughout the scalp. Because of this circulation, the hair follicles are made healthier and stronger to support fuller locks, less hair breakage, and faster hair growth.
How to Get Biotin for Hair growth
The biotin consumed in your daily diet is a healthy dose. However, with the knowledge of the benefits of Biotin, there is a quest for more biotin, even as supplements. Here are three sources.
- Biotin-infused hair care products. Including shampoos, conditioners, oils.
- Supplements such as pills, capsules, tablets
- Biotin-rich foods
You probably have a healthy amount of biotin in your body from your daily diet. However, if you would love to intentionally improve the biotin amount by the food you eat, here are some food sources to integrate into your diet (8).
- Vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, spinach, swiss chard
- Fruits such as strawberry, raspberry, banana, cranberry, cucumbers
- Fish including sardine, salmon, trout, tuna, halibut
- Cooked egg
- Organ meat, including liver and kidney
- Nuts and beans such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashew nuts, pecans, black-eyed beans
- Sunflower seeds
- Whole grains
- Baker’s yeast
- Dairy products (milk, buttermilk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, etc.)
- Peanut butter
- Sweet potato, and so forth.
The Recommended Dosage of Biotin Intake
This is based on age, sex, and overall body health conditions. You may complete this dosage through your diet, or you can opt for supplements. This biotin intake is aimed at longer, fuller, stronger, and healthier hair.
For ages 10 and older, the recommended dose to get is between 30 and 100 mcg per day.
- From birth to 3 years: 10 to 20 micrograms (mcg)
- Ages 4 to 6 years: 25 mcg
- Ages 7 to 10 years: 30 mcg
- Adult male – 19 mcg/day
- Adult female – 30 mcg/day
- Pregnant woman – 30 mcg/day
- Nursing woman – 35 mcg/day
Because of the benefits of biotin in fetal development, a pregnant or breastfeeding woman may need higher levels of biotin intake. For specific health purposes, you may need to talk to your doctor about the right daily intake, according to the goal you intend to achieve (9).
You may opt to increase your biotin intake by taking supplements. These supplements are available in tablet or capsule form and sold over the counter. However, supplements should be regulated appropriately; you may talk to your doctor before using them. It is also recommended that you take supplements with food to reduce possible side effects. Over-consumption of the vitamin could trigger some mild side effects (10).
Some of these possible side effects, although minor, include
Biotin is water-soluble, and any excesses will be flushed out or excreted through your urine. Hence, extreme cases of biotin overdose are very unlikely. Although biotin is non-toxic and safe to use, excess intake may not result in adverse health risks. It is important to discuss its interaction with any medications you currently take. This discussion with your doctor is critical if you opt for biotin supplements. It will provide you with individual information on dosages and potential side effects regarding your previous health history.
Biotin is a B vitamin that aids health functions in many ways. It acts as a coenzyme, helping various enzymes to carry out their activities. Biotin plays a crucial role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Because biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, it is not stored in the body but rather obtained from daily consumed food. However, if you want to increase your biotin intake, you may intentionally consume biotin-rich foods, or opt for supplements. Biotin helps in various metabolic activities including maintaining healthy hair – reducing hair loss, improving hair growth, improving hair thickness, and shine. Biotin doesn’t give overnight results, its work is dependent on various metabolic factors across different individuals. So eat your healthy balanced meals rich in biotin, and follow a healthy hair care regimen for maximum benefits. Biotin deficiencies, although rare, exist and show symptoms such as skin rashes, hair problems, nail problems, neurological problems including depression, exhaustion, and hallucination. This can be fixed by intentionally taking food rich in biotin content, or by taking biotin supplements. If you opt for biotin supplements, see your doctor and discuss appropriate dosages for your health.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
How long until you see results of biotin activity?
You must be consistent with your biotin intake. You may not see any noticeable impact until several months after you have increased biotin intake. This may be as long as 90 days.
How often should you take your biotin supplement?
Your supplement should be taken daily. However, a discussion with your doctor will trace through your medical history and give you a personal prescription dose for use. Make sure you take it as directed by your doctor.
Can Biotin overdose cause death?
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin. Excess doses in the body are excreted as urine. Cases of overdose are rare and even then result in mild effects. It does not cause death.
Does Biotin help hair growth?
Yes, it does. Biotin increases hair follicle growth and helps in the growth of healthy hair, shiny, fuller hair.
- “Biotin” – lpi.oregonstate.edu
- “Present Knowledge in Nutrition” -elsevier.com
- “Biotin” – ods.od.nih.gov
- “Health Benefits of Biotin” -healthline.com
- “Multiple sclerosis” – mayoclinic.org
- “Biotin” -medlineplus.gov
- “BIOTIN” – webmd.com
- “Why do we need biotin (vitamin B7)?” -medicalnewstoday.com
- “Biotin for Hair Growth: Does It Work?” – healthline.com
- “Final report on the safety assessment of biotin” – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov