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Biotin for hair loss: benefits and side effects

Biotin has many benefits for hair loss. What is biotin? It is a form of vitamin B that exists in food, it is water-soluble, and it is considered as a part of B vitamin family, although it is also known as vitamin H.

Biotin plays an important role helping the body to break down fats, carbohydrates and other materials. Our body needs biotin in order to convert certain nutrients into energy that our body can use it. In addition, it plays an important role in building our body; for example, our hair and nails need biotin to have a stronger structure.

Why is good biotin for hair growth?

Biotin or vitamin B7, also formerly known as vitamin H or coenzyme R, is a water-soluble compound and a vitamin B complex. Biotin is important in fatty acids synthesis, glucose and some amino acids like valine and isoleucine. It is considered essential for biochemical process through which the cells metabolize nutrients; known to help controlling blood sugar levels, also helps strengthen our hair and nails.

Keratin is considered an essential protein in the body, and a cornerstone in making up your hair, skin and nails. Biotin clearly improves the keratin infrastructure in your body. Like all other water-soluble vitamins, biotin is not stored in the body; however, intestinal bacteria produce more than the body's needed requirements.

In one of the studies done in the Harvard University, biotin was considered one of the main nutrients for preserving hair strength, texture and appearance. In addition to using it for treating hair loss, biotin is also used to treat some types of diabetes. Other uses include the treatment of brittle nails, polyneuralgia and other conditions.

What are the causes of biotin deficiency?

Biotin deficiency may be a result of malnutrition, losing weight in rapid rate, and many other different medical conditions. Although biotin deficiency is rare, however it occurs, especially for people with metabolic problems. For example, it´s known that biotin levels are lower in alcohol addicts that in other people; biotin levels are lower in athletes, epilepsy patients, the elderly and the sick people who had a part of their gastrointestinal tract removed, too.

Pregnant women have also lower levels of biotin because of the increased demand for vitamins; they are more likely to have biotin deficiency, and studies have shown that 50% of pregnant women develop a deficiency in this vitamin. Following a diet based on white eggs for a long time causes biotin deficiency, too; this is due to avidin, a protein that exists in big amounts in raw white eggs and that binds with biotin, reducing thus its bioavailability. 

Deficiency symptoms

There is no laboratory analysis good enough to identify biotin deficiency; therefore this case is diagnosed by its symptoms, including hair loss (it often includes losing hair color, as well), red rash around the eyes, mouth and nose, and conjunctivitis. The most distinguishable symptom of biotin deficiency is swollen face with irregular fat distribution, and red rash. Neurological symptoms include depression, fatigue, hallucinations, and numbness in the hands and feet.

There is some evidence which shows that diabetes may cause low biotin levels. Chronic biotin deficiency or recurrent deficiency may also lead to problems in the immune system and increase the risk of developing fungal and bacterial infections

Dosage

Taking biotin is considered safe if the patient takes it properly by mouth. Biotin is well tolerated when patients take it in the recommended dosage prescribed by the doctor.

Biotin deficiency is considered rare; therefore, the FDA didn't set a limit for a recommended dosage of biotin. Thus, the dose may vary depending on the person, age, sex, and overall health condition. Experts advise the following dosage: 

  • Patients with an age of 10 or older should take biotin dosage between 30 and 100 mcg per day.
  • Infants and children should get:
  • Since birth until 3 years: 10 to 20 mcg
  • At the age of 4 years to 6 years: 25 mcg
  • At the age of 7 years to 10 years: 30 mcg
  • Women breastfeeding or pregnant: 35 mcg

 How long does the treatment take until results appear? 

Although the studies are limited, two studies done in 2012 and 2015 showed that improvements may appear in at least 90 days. The improvements include an increase in hair growth and shine.

Foods rich in biotin

You would probably take enough amount of biotin for your body through the food you eat every day, but in case you want to increase your biotin intake, you can add biotin-rich foods to your diet; these foods include:

  • Organ meats like the liver or kidney
  • Egg yolk
  • Nuts, like almonds and peanuts
  • Soybeans and other legumes
  • Bananas
  • Whole grains
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms

Ask your doctor before taking biotin supplements if...

If you have allergy toward Appearex you should  stay away Talk to your doctor before taking it.

This list is not complete; there are other medications that may interact with biotin, like vitamins and herbal products. There are no side effects recorded for biotin in doses up to 10 mg per day. Anyway, always tell your doctor about any unusual symptoms you may feel during your biotin treatment. 

What medications interact with biotin?

Taking many medications may reduce biotin levels in the blood, which may affect your biotin requirements. If you are using some of the following medications, you should ask a pharmacist or doctor before taking biotin: 

  • Carbamazepine
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Primidone

This list is not complete; there are other medications that may interact with biotin, like vitamins and herbal products. There are no side effects recorded for biotin in doses up to 10 mg per day. Anyway, always tell your doctor about any unusual symptoms you may feel during your biotin treatment. 

As you can see, biotin is widely used due to its multiple benefits both in men and women; not only improves hair growth, but also helps with inflammation during the hair surgery. For example, it´s used in hair transplants with FUE in Turkey. At Clinicana we use all kinds of treatments for improving your hair´s health; if you want to learn more about the use of biotin for hair loss or any other issue, please contact us and we´ll be glad to help you.