Should You Use Biotin for Hair Growth?

  1. What studies say
  2. How much biotin do you need?
  3. Foods & supplements
  4. Advantages
  5. Risks
  6. Alternatives

Biotin (also known as vitamin H) belongs to the B vitamin group, and is essential for converting various nutrients within the body into energy. Biotin also contributes to healthy skin, nails, and hair.

That’s why biotin deficiencies can lead to hair loss and skin issues (such as red rashes). Fortunately, most people get enough Vitamine H in their diets to enjoy its natural benefits without relying on supplements. Others, though, may actually consume more of it than necessary because they want to maximise its benefits — such as improving their hair growth.

But is it worth increasing your intake of biotin for hair loss? And how else can it help you?

Read on to discover everything you need to know about biotin, hair growth, and more.

What Have Studies into Biotin for Hair Growth Found?

Biotin aids the body’s production of keratin: a basic protein and one of the building blocks of skin, nails, and hair. That’s one of the most obvious reasons why upping your Vitamine H intake could combat baldness.

However, while researchers have performed numerous studies into biotin and hair loss, there’s still little evidence to prove that you’ll achieve better hair growth if you get more Vitamine H.

Below, we’ll look at two studies performed in 2012 and 2015. In both cases, hair growth was improved — but biotin alone couldn’t account for the change. The research from 2015 involved a group of women experiencing hair loss. Some were provided with a protein supplement that contained Vitamine H and additional ingredients, and others received a placebo. They took these pills twice per day for around three months.

Researchers captured images of the participants’ hair before and after the study period, so they could track changes in growth. They also counted shed hairs after shampooing the participants’ hair. Results showed that the women taking the supplement experienced improved hair growth and lost fewer hairs.

The study performed in 2012 achieved a similar outcome: the growth and quality of participants’ hair improved, and no negative effects were reported.

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How Much Biotin Do You Need Each Day?

According to the NHS, it should be fairly easy to get the biotin your body needs if you maintain a balanced diet (which may be why Vitamine H deficiencies are uncommon). It also warns that taking too many biotin supplements can be harmful, though 0.9mg or less per day is unlikely to cause problems.

Furthermore, Netdoctor claims that there is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) of biotin in the UK due to a lack of justifying evidence. It also states that 20 micrograms is a safe daily amount. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers no RDA.

Your sex, age, and general health can all determine your ideal RDA. As biotin is water-soluble, you’ll flush excess amounts from your body while urinating. However, you may need more Vitamine H if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding your child. Speak to your doctor before you start taking a supplement: they’ll help you understand how much you should take per day to achieve the best results.

The Best Foods to Increase Your Biotin Intake

foods to increase your biotin intake

It’s likely that your body gets as much biotin as it needs daily based on your diet alone. But you can start eating more of certain foods if you want to boost your Vitamine H intake. Here are some of the best to try:

  • Egg yolk
  • Whole grains
  • Mushrooms
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Cauliflower
  • Soybeans
  • Legumes
  • Sunflower seeds

Generally, it’s best to eat these foods raw when it’s viable and safe to do so, as heat can compromise the biotin’s benefits. Check the nutritional information on packaging before you eat any of these foods, as biotin levels vary.

What Biotin Supplements are Available?

You may consider taking a biotin supplement if you’re worried that you don’t get a healthy amount from food alone. You can buy these over the counter in many stores across the UK, either as tablets or capsules. But read the packaging and directions carefully to ensure you take them safely.

The majority of people can consume Vitamine H supplements without experiencing any undesirable side effects, though they’re still a risk. These include nausea, diarrhea, and cramping.

Talk to your doctor before you try supplements, as some people are at higher risk of negative effects than others.

biotin medication

Other Advantages of Biotin

We’ve covered the benefits of biotin for hair growth, but what else can it do for you?

One of biotin’s main advantages is that it’s good for the metabolism: it takes glucose from carbohydrates and converts it into energy that fuels the body. It also helps amino acids perform essential functions (e.g. producing proteins).

Other benefits associated with biotin include:

  • Aiding cognitive function
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Boosting HDL (which removes excess cholesterol)
  • Decreasing LDL (which takes cholesterol to the arteries)

If you have high cholesterol, your doctor will be able to discuss upping your biotin as a way to reduce it.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Biotin?

If you want to try biotin for hair loss treatment, eating more Vitamine H-rich foods is generally safe. But consult your doctor before you take a new supplement, especially if you’re on medication (though biotin isn’t believed to adversely affect any medications at the time of writing). Your doctor will advise you on the proper dosage, and should be able to discuss other ways to treat your hair loss too.

Contact your doctor immediately if you develop a rash after upping your biotin levels, as this could be an overdose. They will check for specific signs of an overdose, such as higher blood sugar levels than usual, low vitamin C, and a drop in insulin production. You may need to decrease your biotin intake to avoid further issues.

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When Should You See Improvements?

It’s possible that you won’t notice any cosmetic improvements in your hair growth for the first few months of increasing your biotin levels. Consistency will be required while the body adjusts and changes begin to occur.

So, eat several foods rich in Vitamine H each day to maximise your chances of better hair growth but don’t take more supplements than recommended. That could be risky and is unlikely to speed the process along.

However, consuming more biotin is not guaranteed to stimulate hair growth — if it were, everyone with a bald scalp would take it for hair loss. And you may be getting all the Vitamine H you need from your diet anyway.

What Else Can You Do to Stimulate Hair Growth?

You may need to try an alternative option known to achieve stronger, fuller hair. Hair transplants are one of the most popular treatments, and the most cutting-edge methods can stimulate natural growth that blends seamlessly with existing hair.

The FUE2 technique is the most advanced type of Follicular Unit Extraction transplant available, and has high success rates (up to 95%). This involves transferring hair follicles from one area of the scalp to thinning/balding sites. New hair will grow within 12 to 18 months of treatment without visible scarring.

FAQ

Does Biotin really work for hair loss prevention?

Biotin (AKA vitamin B7) promotes the production of keratin in hair and may boost your follicular growth rates. You can source biotin naturally from seeds, fish, nuts, eggs, vegetables, and meat. Eating some or all of these regularly should boost your keratin.

How much biotin should I take for hair growth?

Generally, people who recommend biotin usually take between 2 and 5 mg as a supplement each day. This usually makes hair stronger and leads to noticeable results over time.

How long after taking biotin will I see hair growth?

There’s limited evidence to prove biotin’s effectiveness in improving hair growth, but research suggests that you could see results (including better shine and growth) within just 90 days. It’s believed that the effects will be more noticeable when you take a higher dose for longer. 

Is too much biotin bad for your hair?

While there’s little proof of biotin supplements impacting health directly, excessive consumption could affect the results of lab tests. A number of alternative natural remedies can enhance hair growth, though many have yet to be proven effective (like biotin).