Biotin Hair Growth Facts and Myths
What is Biotin and Will it Make My Hair Grow Longer?
Before I get into the nitty gritty details about biotin supplements, let me be clear about this first: I am not a doctor nor a physician, so everything I am talking about here and the advice I give is only based on my personal experiences, opinions, and research, so before you decide to take a daily dose of biotin, make sure to consult with your physician.
Now, What Is Biotin?
Biotin is also known as vitamin H or B7. It is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin. Biotin supplements are often recommended for people with deficiencies of this vitamin to counteract hair loss.
Many people also take the supplement to increase their hair growth rate, and the results vary from one person to the other depending on several metabolic factors.
There are different opinions out there, but this is what I have found: A large number of people report that biotin helps their natural hair grow faster and stronger (thicker). Although biotin is available through certain foods (cooked eggs, sardines, nuts, whole grains, cauliflower, and mushrooms to name a few), it is also naturally produced by our bodies. By increasing the dose, we stimulate our bodies to create and grow hair and skin cells, making our hair healthier and more abundant.
Now, I should say right here that there are not many good studies proving that biotin works. Here is one study by the University of Maryland Medical Center that basically says the evidence that biotin improves brittle hair is weak.
That said, the study also says that biotin has not been associated with side effects, even in high doses, and is considered to be non-toxic.
So I take that to mean that we can try it and find out for ourselves if it works for us.
What daily dose of biotin will help your hair grow longer and stronger? The short answer: Start with 2,500 mcg daily.
Take half (1,250 mcg) with breakfast and another 1,250 with dinner for two weeks.
Reviews of Biotin for Hair Growth
After going through several hair growth forums, here is what I have found: There seems to be a general consensus that starting with a low dose of 2,500 mcg daily helps a majority of women increase their hair's growth. Take half (1,250 mcg) with breakfast and the other half with dinner for two weeks. Starting with this dose and drinking lots of water will help your body adjust to the supplement.
After two weeks, gradually increase the dosage until you are taking 5,000 mcg daily (2,500 mcg with breakfast; 2,500 mcg with dinner).
Some people report taking 10,000 mcg doses daily with good results, while others see similar results with half of that dose. You should see for yourself by increasing your dosage gradually, making sure to document the progress of your hair growth taking pictures and measurements.
After two weeks taking 2,500 mcg, gradually increase the dosage to 5,000 mcg total: 2,500 mcg with breakfast and 2,500 mcg with dinner.
Results and Benefits of Using Biotin
The rate that your hair will grow after you start taking biotin supplements depends on several factors: your metabolism (how quickly you digest and process supplements and food), your daily activity level, your diet, and how much water you drink.
If you decide to try biotin to make your hair longer and stronger, do not start with a high dose (some sites recommend taking 10,000 mcg to start) and remember: mcg means microgram. That one millionth of a gram! A full gram of biotin would be 1,000,000 mcg!
Once you begin taking biotin supplements, you will likely notice these benefits:
- healthier skin
- longer fingernails and toenails
- stronger hair that grows more quickly
Biotin works to encourage beard growth, too!
Biotin is found naturally in dairy products, meat, and oily fish such as salmon and tuna. Also nuts, brown rice, oats, and avocado. Cheese, yogurt, chicken, and liver are particularly high in biotin.
Your hair grows out of your scalp, which is made of skin. Take care of your skin and you will encourage hair growth.
- Drink eight glasses (64 oz) of water every day.
- Eat biotin! You can get it naturally by eating nuts, brown rice, oats, and other foods (see box above.)
- Eat foods with essential fatty acids, including walnuts, salmon, and avocado.
- Give the collagen that wraps around your hair a boost by eating citrus, strawberries, and red peppers. Or take 250 mg of collagen daily.
- Leafy green vegetables strengthen your hair follicles by boosting the protein keratin.
- Get enough iron by eating red meat, leafy greens, molasses, and dried fruits.
- Boost your zinc and silica mineral intake with pumpkin seeds, pecans, eggs, oysters, and cucumber.
- Go easy on your hair. Avoid heat (flat irons, curling irons, blow driers) and wear your hair up or cover it to protect it from harsh weather.
Biotin Myths and Realities
- Biotin is not a magic pill. You will not wake up and find that you have turned into Rapunzel. Your daily biotin supplement is just that, a supplement to your healthy diet. Together with good hair care, all of these things will help your hair grow longer, faster.
- Some people have reported experiencing facial break-outs (zits) after taking biotin, but there does not seem to be a direct link between the biotin and the zits.
- Alcohol and antibiotics may prevent the body from absorbing biotin as well as destroy the body's naturally produced B vitamins. If you are on a course of antibiotics, hold off on your biotin supplements until the antibiotics are finished.