Biotin is a common over-the-counter supplement that is touted to promote healthy hair growth. But as to whether it prevents hair loss or even provides any real health benefits, studies and expert opinion on the subject run the gamut.
Does Biotin Help Prevent Hair Loss?
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, stimulates keratin production in hair and can increase the rate of follicle growth. It is not stored for long in the body - most of yours is from the foods you eat. In order to be effective, it needs to be consumed. According to a 2017 review in the journal Skin Appendage Disorders, there is little conclusive evidence that biotin reduces hair loss, but it remains a popular supplement for hair, skin, and nail growth.
"Biotin supplementation may be helpful for people who are truly biotin-deficient, but biotin deficiency is quite rare amongst the general population," Gary Linkov, MD, a facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration specialist at City Facial Plastics in New York City, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
While biotin is added to some shampoos that claim to reduce hair loss, there is no evidence that this works. Consuming foods rich in healthy vitamins and minerals will help with overall hair health. The best natural sources of biotin are meat, eggs, fish, seeds, nuts, and vegetables. These will help fortify your hair follicle by boosting your keratin, according to the National Institutes of Health.
By making your hair stronger, it will be less prone to fall out. Adults should consume around 30 mcg/day, and women who are breastfeeding should increase their intake to 35 mcg/day with physician support and guidance. Foods containing Vitamin E such as avocado and nut butter can also support hair health. Lastly, ensure you’re getting enough omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids through foods like fish, walnuts, and chia seeds. Most people benefit from supplementing with 2,000mg a day of omega-3 fatty acids.
Common causes of hair loss include genetics, certain medications, as well as underlying conditions like depression and stress. If your hair loss is causing you concern, talk to a doctor. They may give you a physical exam and investigate whether your diet or hair care routine may be the cause. Additionally, you may be deficient in certain vitamins that give you the building blocks needed to regrow healthy hair.
According to Mayo Clinic, other treatments they may recommend include Minoxidil, otherwise known as Rogaine, or Finasteride, otherwise known as Propecia, as a prescription treatment. Hair loss is very common and there are treatments to help reduce the rate at which you shed your hair.
Get Help Now
Don’t wait. The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to prevent irreversible damage. Speak to a medical professional today to begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.