Thinning hair is one of the most common cosmetic issues in the world. No one wants to go bald; unfortunately, it is more likely than most other conditions. According to recent statistics, over 50% of women experience balding once they hit 50, with some experiencing it sooner. Balding is even more common in men and tends to take hold sooner than it does in women.
This baldness can lead to severe drops in self-confidence and is something we all want to avoid. However, finding this solution is far more difficult than one might hope, and most of the solutions available today are little more than scams reminiscent of the snake oil of old. Fortunately, some supplements can improve your hair's health and help you keep it longer.
One of the most well-known supplements for hair health is biotin, which you have probably heard of before. Biotin is one of the more popular hair health supplements the average person uses. However, a great deal about biotin that is not fully understood can complicate its use. Biotin is not a miracle cure for baldness and can disappoint you if you do not use it properly. Hopefully, this article will guide how to use biotin to improve your hair health.
What is Biotin?
You might not know what biotin is, given that the name biotin is not very detailed. Additionally, biotin is primarily referred to as a hair health supplement. Biotin is another name for vitamin B7, one type of vitamin that you can acquire by taking supplements or products that introduce it. Although, we can naturally produce a small amount of biotin in our gut.
Since we only produce biotin in limited amounts, a market for biotin supplements has sprung up. Despite not being a naturally occurring vitamin in the human body, it can offer a wide range of health benefits that we can use to improve our physical state. Of course, finding the right products to introduce biotin to our bodies can be difficult if you do not know where to look.
As it happens, vitamin B7 can be easily introduced in limited quantities through the consumption of certain foods. Most prominently, the easiest way to add vitamin B7 to our diet is by eating chicken livers, which bear the highest biotin concentration per serving out of any other food source.
However, since food consumption is not an overly reliable method for introducing biotin to our systems, supplements have become more popular. Through supplements, we can maximize our biotin intake with a few capsules as opposed to eating 100 g of chicken liver. Ironically, improving the health of the human liver is one of biotin's many uses.
However, the most common use for biotin is to improve hair health. Given the epidemic of pattern baldness in men and women, using biotin to combat the condition is a popular choice. Of course, that does beg the question of whether biotin can truly offer hair health benefits or if it is a hoax. Fortunately, that has been substantially researched ever since biotin supplements began being sold for that purpose.
Does Biotin Actually Help Hair Health?
For all of the praise biotin gets as a hair health supplement, most people leave out the details of why it is beneficial. Biotin's use for promoting healthier, thicker hair is limited to its capabilities to interact with the part of the human body that dictates our natural hair growth. So, if it cannot influence that bodily function, biotin's use comes into question.
Fortunately, biotin has been researched to determine if you can truly use it to improve the health of human hair. The results might surprise you since biotin is so common in most of the food we eat regularly. Despite being lauded as a hair supplement, biotin's primary function is to convert the food we eat into energy for the body.
However, biotin does play a role in the regenerative process of the body as well. Vitamin B7 is essential for our production of keratin. Keratin is a protein that our body produces when the correct ingredients are introduced to our system. This protein is responsible for our skin, nails, and hair growth. Without keratin, these parts of our bodies would stop growing or regenerating. Without biotin, our bodies stop producing keratin.
The good news is that those who subscribe to a balanced diet will never suffer from a biotin deficiency and, therefore, no hair loss. The bad news is that biotin does nothing to prevent baldness in genetically predisposed people.
Biotin supplements are best used for hair health if you suffer from a biotin deficiency causing hair loss. If your diet does not contain enough food with vitamin B7, you will develop a deficiency. Others might have a natural deficiency due to a problem with their biology.
Either way, unless you have a biotin deficiency, there is little it can do to help with thinning hair. A study was conducted on children to try and prove biotin's viability as an all-encompassing hair health supplement. Unfortunately, the study revealed that all the children who experienced renewed growth suffered from a biotin deficiency.
However, just because biotin's benefits for hair health are niche does not make it any less worthwhile. Biotin deficiencies have several potential causes afflicting you without your knowledge. If you do have a biotin deficiency, a biotin supplement could be what you need to fix it. That said, it would be helpful to know the other risk factors that can cause a deficiency.
What Can Cause a Biotin Deficiency?
While biotin deficiencies are rare, they are still potentially threatening your health. Currently, four major factors increase the risk of a biotin deficiency. These risk factors include:
- Malnutrition: Without a balanced diet of proteins and vegetable matter that contain vitamin B7, your odds of a deficiency increase. However, insofar as malnutrition is concerned, low biotin levels are the least of your worries.
- Biotinidase Deficiency (BTD): BTD is a genetic condition outside your control that inhibits the body's ability to recycle biotin. While this disorder makes it difficult to get the biotin levels needed to maintain healthy hair growth, newborns in the U.S. are screened for the condition.
- Alcoholism: While some types of alcohol contain vitamin B7, alcohol is an inhibitor of biotin absorption. Chronic consumption of alcohol can block your body from using the biotin and cause you to become deficient.
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD): IBDs adversely affect the intestinal tract and can inhibit the helpful bacteria in the gut. Among them is the bacteria that produce the little biotin we naturally produce.
Having any of these conditions can drastically increase the odds of a biotin deficiency that supplements could help treat. However, there are a few other temporary conditions that can contribute as well. For example, pregnant women can develop a deficiency due to the nutrients shared with the fetus. Additionally, certain medications can increase the chances as well. Ultimately, all the factors of a biotin deficiency are treatable and can be countered with biotin supplements.
Without a deficiency, biotin supplements will likely not benefit your hair's quality. However, for those who have a biotin deficiency, you will still need to take your biotin supplements regularly to counteract it. The question that remains is how often you should be taking your supplements.
How Often Should Biotin be Used?
We now come to this article's titular question and what drew you to it in the first place. If you suffer from a biotin deficiency, biotin supplements will be your best chance of fighting it back and restoring your hair's health. However, as with any supplement, the schedule is important as a missed dose could disrupt your progress.
Ordinarily, the dosage and frequency of a supplement would be dictated by a government entity like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unfortunately, there is not enough information on biotin for the FDA to create a recommended dietary allowance for the supplements.
This means that the research done to determine the ideal supplement dose and how often it should be taken was done independently. The National Institute of Health did the bulk of the research and determined that the ideal intake for adults over 19 is 30 micrograms (mcg). However, most vendors and advocates of biotin recommend upping the dosage to anywhere between 2 to 5 mg of biotin.
As for how often you should take the supplement, the current recommendation is once per day. So, introducing up to 5 mg of biotin daily should be sufficient to neutralize your deficiency. However, the frequency and dosage are determined by how the supplement is administered. While most biotin supplements come in capsule form to handle internal issues such as liver health, biotin for hair is sometimes a topical supplement.
The most popular topical biotin supplement comes in the form of hair care products like shampoo and conditioner. To use these effectively, you must follow the instructions printed on the label. However, the once-a-day recommendation stands, especially since there remains the concern of potential risks from biotin use.
The Risks of Biotin Use
As with any supplement, it is important to factor in the risks of their use before committing to a regimen. Biotin is no exception to the rule, as too much can have adverse effects on more than your hair's health. For the most part, biotin is considered safe and is unlikely to be toxic as it is a water-soluble substance.
However, this does not mean you can recklessly use biotin supplements to try and promote a thicker head of hair. In addition to biotin supplements being relatively useless for those without a biotin deficiency, those who can produce biotin naturally risk an overdose when using a supplement as well.
The effects of a biotin overdose are not exactly life-threatening, but they can compromise your health over time if you do not adjust your use of the substance.
The main symptoms of a biotin overdose include:
- Excessive Thirst
- Excessive Urination
Again, hardly the most life-threatening of overdoses on its own, but continued use after an overdose can lead to more severe complications. Additionally, using biotin supplements when you do not have a deficiency, or exceeding the daily dose, can saturate your blood. Excess biotin in the bloodstream can interfere with blood tests to measure thyroid hormones and cardiovascular health. Biotin binds with proteins in the bloodstream, and when there is too much of it, it can cause tests for heart disease to return a faulty result.
As always, it is extremely important to consult your primary care physician before introducing a new substance to your system. Your doctor should approve even a supplement for biotin to ensure there is no risk to your health. If you are cleared for the use of biotin supplements, the only remaining question lies in where to find a supplement designed for hair health.
Keep It All Natural
Biotin, while popular, is not the perfect hair health supplement. Using it requires a biotin deficiency if you do not want to risk an overdose. However, even if a biotin supplement is in your best interest, staying within the recommended daily dose and use is critical for ensuring your efforts to improve your hair health do not jeopardize your general health.
A single dose of biotin a day should be all it takes to start your journey to overcome your deficiency and improve your hair's luster. However, you will still need to find a biotin supplement you can rely on to do the job.
Fortunately, we at Bella All Natural are here to help. We offer a biotin shampoo and conditioner that you can use to improve the thickness of your hair when your biotin levels are low. If you do not have a biotin deficiency, we can offer an alternative that can help restore hair for general thinning. We believe that using natural compounds to improve human health is the best way to handle the situation. So, if you want to take that first step to the new and improved you, check out our website and see what our products offer. And, as always, remember to keep it All Natural!