Hair Loss and the Benefits of Biotin

Food with biotin
Biotin, whilst it may be a relatively unfamiliar word in the vocabulary of common folk, it has to remain a familiar component in the hair production process for follicles to remain vibrant, healthy and above all, still on the head. A deficiency in this so-called ‘hair super food’ can result in fragile, listless and even lockless hair.
Although it is not only hair, which requires the assistance of biotin, as the vitamin plays a vital role in maintaining the overall health of skin and nails and assists the metabolism of proteins, minerals and fats. Its most outstanding proclivity is however, biotin’s proficiency at strengthening the hair, preventing hair loss, and promoting re-growth.
Biotin is also often referred to as vitamin K, which protects hair against dryness. Not only does this vitamin boost the flexibility of the hair’s cortex, which prevents breakages, but it also thickens the hair cuticles, which causes the overall look of the hair to appear thicker.
Biotin is part of the vitamin B family and is most prevalent in eggs and liver. Milk, cheese, butter, cauliflower, bananas, bran, mackerel, salmon, brown rice, soy beans, oats, walnuts, green beans and sunflower seeds also contain the vitamin biotin. Its presence in food is however relatively low and it is recommended that a 5mg supplement is taken daily to help maintain healthy hair production and encourage growth.
Biotin supplements are not the only way to get an additional source of the super vitamin to the hair, in order to stimulate the follicles and help to prevent hair loss. Some shampoos and conditioners contain biotin and are useful in tacking hair loss for two reasons.
Firstly, when biotin hair products are massaged into the scalp it unblocks clogged hair follicles and stimulates the shafts, enabling hair to breathe more easily and thereby encouraging healthy hair production and growth. Secondly, when the shampoo or conditioner penetrates deep into the shaft of the hair, it expands the hair, making it appear thicker and fuller.
Although there are presently no known side effects of biotin, there are some unwelcome side effects of biotin deficiency, namely depression and nausea. It is therefore important to try and incorporate the recommended 5mg of biotin each day into the diet.
There is a certain group of people and people who are taking some forms of medication that do not have the capability to fully absorb B complex vitamins and are therefore unable to reap the benefits of vitamins such as biotin, which makes them more likely to suffer from hair loss. People with a group A blood type are unable to absorb B vitamins properly.
To retain healthy hair and help prevent hair loss it is recommended that people who have blood type A, take between 5 and 8 mg of biotin each day. Likewise people who suffer from heartburn, GERD, or acid reflux and are taking antacid tablets to relieve the problem, may also not be as capable as absorbing vitamin B as somebody not taking antacids. An increased daily dose of biotin is therefore recommended if hair loss through biotin deficiency is to be prevented.
Whilst there are many causes of hair loss, the single biggest cause is hereditary. It is unlikely biotin will counteract our irreversible genetically programmed future. It may however prolong the inevitable, provide for a pleasingly illusory fuller head of hair, and with some temporary causes, such as hair loss through stress or hormonal imbalances, biotin, the super food for hair, may actually prevent hair loss from occurring.
Photo: Evan Lorne/Shutterstock
See also:
Hair loss treatment
Can hair loss be prevented?
Natural solution to hair loss