What is Biotin?
Collagen, omega 3, zinc are some of the most trusted vitamins for stronger hair- Biotin is a similar water-soluble vitamin that is known for its regenerative properties. Also known as Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H, Biotin has gained some considerable popularity as a nutritional supplement for long and healthy hair. Although most people don’t usually suffer from biotin deficiency, statistical data shows that approximately 38% of women can’t meet their biotin needs from food and intake supplements of 500-1000 micrograms daily.
What is the function of biotin in the body?
Biotin is responsible for a number of functions in your body, the major one being metabolising fats, carbohydrates, and proteins; it helps transform food into energy. Technically, “Biotin is a required cofactor for carboxylase enzymes that become activated once they are joined together by holocarboxylase synthase”. The carboxylase enzymes once activated helps in different processes like:
- Transforming substrates like glycerol and lactate into glucose.
- Creation of fatty acids.
- Amino acid catabolism
- Creating protein molecules etc.
Biotin also helps produce keratin for your body, which is one significant contribution since keratin is absorbed by hair cuticles that soothe hair cells. Nonetheless, the deficiency of this vitamin is rare since it is produced by intestinal flora in more than the required percentage at daily intervals and is at the same time available in a lot of food items like egg yolk, nuts etc.
How does biotin help hair?
Biotin helps hair by increasing the production of keratin that further stimulates the growth of hair follicles. But it has also helped people suffering from different issues like uncombable hair syndrome and brittle nail syndrome. Some studies also have shown that biotin can significantly improve hair root strength, prolong the anagen phase of the hair cycle, and effectively reduce scaling. Usually, hair loses its natural shine with time due to less sebum oil production by the scalp- Biotin can help combat this problem by restoring the process.
Biotin basically helps your hair restore its shine, expand hair follicles that further strengthens hair and also helps in slowing down the greying hair process.
There are very few clinical studies in this arena that support the effectiveness of biotin as a hair supplement. Yet, those who suffer from deficiency of this vitamin due to reasons like inflammatory bowel diseases can benefit from biotin as reduced levels can indeed cause hair fall issues.
Other advantages of biotin for the body
Apart from making your hair look more luscious and smooth, biotin can help your body in other ways too. Some such benefits of biotin are-
1. Good for diabetes patients
People who suffer from volatile blood-sugar levels can benefit from biotin supplements as one of their primary functions is transforming various substrates into glucose. Biotin taken with chromium can also help with cholesterol levels and nerve pain.
2. Fights skin and nail syndromes
Since biotin metabolises varied nutrients, it helps metabolise amino acids that are incredibly essential for healthy nails. Moreover, biotin can also help increase your skin’s hydration levels as it allows the production of fatty acids that provide you with the required nourishment.
3. Beneficial for pregnant women
Biotin levels can drop significantly during pregnancy, but it’s pretty rare. The good thing is it can be controlled with prenatal vitamins. However, be cautious as excessive amounts can give a different picture during lab tests and mislead the professionals.
4. Beneficial for MS patients
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that interrupts the functioning of the brain and spinal cord; caused due to damaged myelin. Biotin thus helps in producing more of it by activating vital enzymes.
5. Maintains heart’s health
While some studies suggest that heart patients should avoid biotin supplements, you can still maintain the intake by making some shifts in your diet and not risk it. Biotin helps improve the production of high-density lipoprotein in your body and reduce the risks of strokes and heart diseases.
Topical biotin- application and benefits.
There is no doubt that biotin helps improve the health of your hair but how it does that and whether it is the same for all is still a question researchers are debating upon; some much-known symptoms of biotin deficiency are alopecia, seborrheic dermatitis, seizures, and conjunctivitis. But is there any other way to provide your scalp with the benefits of biotin without oral consumption of the same?
Topical biotin is one way to go about it- here are some of its benefits:
- Topical biotin can help you get thicker hair; less prone to breakage and shedding.
- The topical application of biotin will promote the growth of thicker hair and repair existing hair strands to reduce further hair damage.
- Topical biotin will also provide your scalp with the nourishment it needs, which it might not be getting through sebum glands.
The correct quantity of biotin to consume-
Professionals recommend a dosage of 30-100 micrograms per day to adults, which most people can consume through a regular diet. However, still, some people choose to take 500-100 micrograms of the supplement daily. Even though no significant side effects of excessive biotin consumption are there because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, it can still cause some issues like headaches and nausea.
Moreover, as mentioned earlier, it can give false results during lab tests; thus, that is one thing to be aware of.
Biotin rich food
Unless you are highly deficient in biotin, there is very little need for you to start taking supplements. You can intake just the right amount of biotin that your body needs from your food in daily life. Here’s a list of food items that can quickly help you keep up with your biotin requirements.
- Egg yolks
- Nuts and seeds
- Beef Liver
- Sweet potatoes
That was all about consuming biotin, but you can also use it externally. There are a plethora of options available in the market right now that claim to have biotin in them, and you are free to choose whichever one you find feasible. However, the results are questionable. One thing about using topical biotin is that these products usually leave behind some instant results for the user; for instance, if you are using a biotin shampoo, you might notice some difference in the texture. However, it does not mean it will stay permanently.
1. Will I grow my hair faster if I take biotin?
If you suffer from biotin deficiency, then you can surely benefit from biotin supplements. Many studies suggest that the lack of biotin levels in the body can trigger alopecia and other hair loss conditions. In which case, taking 30-100 micrograms per day should be enough, however, do consult a specialist before starting the treatment.
2. Can biotin stimulate beard hair growth too?
Biotin helps increase keratin, which is one major hair protein. Although there are very few studies on the same, available ones show that it helps with the production of keratin that further helps in the growth of hair and thus can help you with beard hair. There are several topical products in the market, and trying them won’t hurt anyone.
Since biotin has helped many people maintain healthy hair, there is no real reason why one shouldn’t try it. However, the absence of clinical trials that support these results is to be considered here as it might not work the same for all. Nevertheless, the fact that there are no significant side effects of using it surely makes it worthy of a shot.