If you ever googled “how to grow hair fast” it’s almost guaranteed that came across biotin supplements as recommendation. Biotin’s primary role is to help turn the food you eat into energy. Your body also needs it to produce keratin — the type of protein that makes up your hair, skin, and nails. However, despite being important for hair growth, deficiency in biotin isn’t as common as the market for biotin supplements suggests. There is only a small chance that you might be deficient in biotin and overall B-complex. Let’s take a look at the role biotin plays in hair growth.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is a type of water soluble B-vitamin that can be found in some foods such as eggs, beef and chicken liver, salmon and some legumes such as soy and nuts, including walnuts and pecans. It is important to get this nutrient from your diet, as it’s not possible to absorb it directly through your scalp – since biotin’s work happens in your liver.
Not only for your hair, B-vitamins are essential for rebuilding and maintaining various tissues in your body. They help convert food into energy – i.e. your metabolism, create new blood cells, and maintain healthy skin cells, brain cells, and other body tissues. Biotin is important because it helps metabolise and absorb other nutrients into those tissues, including your hair. Without absorption and conversion of these nutrients, your body will have insufficient fuel to grow healthy hair.
While with the lack of Biotin, your body will not be able to convert the food and supplements your consume into elements that build up keratin, collagen and other proteins your body needs to grow healthy hair, most population eating a balanced diet or supplementing with B-vitamins – would not suffer from biotin deficiency.
A 30g of chicken liver provides a daily recommended amount (RDA) of biotin – which is 30mcg/day for most adults. Three eggs provide the same amount. A 100g serving of soybeans offers just under 20 mcg of biotin: one-third of the daily recommended amount for most adults.
Limited amounts can also be found in foods such as sweet potatoes, almonds, oats and dairy. Biotin is also available in a supplement form for those who may not be consuming enough of it through their diet. This is why people following a plant-based lifestyle need to supplement with B-vitamin, but so do those people who aren’t consuming beef- or chicken-liver or eating 3 eggs a day.
How does Biotin work?
If you want to keep your hair healthy, you should consider the whole B-vitamin complex, not just biotin. In the number of studies conducted over biotin’s role in growing healthy hair, participants selected were those already deficient in that nutrient, which is why re-introducing this vitamin promoted growth of healthy hair. Some facts about biotin:
1. Biotin is a vitamin that helps production of keratin – a protein that makes up the outer layer of skin cells and hair, by metabolising all nutrients, specifically amino acids that you consume as part of your diet.
2. Biotin plays an important role in the functioning of enzymes, which are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions inside and outside the cell.
3. Without enough biotin as well as other B-vitamins, enzymes cannot perform their job in metabolising amino acids and vitamins important in hair growth – and this can lead to brittle hair and slow hair growth.
4. It is also known as Vitamin H, which is derived from German: “Haar und Haut” – “hair and nails”.
5. The most common sources of this helpful nutrient are found in liver products, some type of nuts and limited amounts in legumes, dairy and certain vegetables and grains.
Major benefits of biotin for hair growth:
Biotin improves the health of nails and preventing brittle hair through promoting and supporting healthy metabolism of nutrients you consume. Your scalp essentially needs biotin to produce keratin, which is what your hair is made up of.
But to keep your hair healthy, you need to take good care of it from the inside out, which includes balanced diet and supplementation based on your individual body needs. Supplementing with biotin will only help your hair if you have a deficiency in it to begin with.
That’s why you may consider an entire B-vitamin complex, which will help metabolise nutrients into necessary energy and building blocks – based on your individual requirements. It will help making your hair grow faster and stronger. Therefore, you need to do a blood panel to understand your individual vitamin deficiencies.
What foods contain biotin?
- Eggs (1 egg = 10mcg of biotin, 3 eggs = daily RDA of biotin)
- Chicken Liver (30g provide RDA of 30mcg)
- Beef Liver (90g provide RDA of 30mcg)
- Fish (salmon: 5mcg per 90g)
- Tempeh, fermented soy beans (75g = 39mcg of biotin)
- Walnuts (90g = two big handfuls of walnuts, contain 30mcg of biotin)
How to get your daily dose of biotin?
Biotin is one of eight B vitamins, it helps convert nutrients into building blocks for healthy skin, hair and nail growth.
To maintain optimum biotin levels for hair growth:
- Eat biotin-rich products like chicken liver or beef liver or eggs, nuts, seeds and wholegrains
- Supplementation can be a way to ensure you reach your daily requirement for biotin, if you think that your current nutrition is not enough to provide you with these nutrients
Can you overdose biotin?
Yes, you can. Although cases are rare, since biotin is a water soluble vitamin – i.e. it’s excreted from your body, look out for skin rashes, nausea and indigestion if you suspect you have taken too much biotin.
If you’re trying to grow healthy hair, you need to remember that your hair health = your overall health and you can’t look at it in isolation. This means ensuring that your nutrition is hair-growth-friendly, your intake of amino acids is adequate and you drink enough water to maintain healthy hair growth. Another aspect of hair growth is scalp health and blood flow circulation in your scalp. There are a number of techniques and treatments available to help you on your healthy hair growth journey.
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Serum Biotin Levels in Women Complaining of Hair Loss, International Journal of Trichology (1)
Biotin biochemistry and human requirements, Journal of Nutrition Biochemistry (2)
Who we are:
The Hair Fuel is an all-natural hair growth mask created by Laura Sagen, who lost a third of her hair after a terrible visit to a hairdresser while suffering from a life-long condition of PCOS associated with androgenic hair thinning. She developed the formulation rooted in science of scalp blood flow, which has become The Hair Fuel growth mask. Since then, her company has helped thousands of people like you to start growing healthy hair.
We work closely with our lab and manufacturers to ensure the highest quality product. But a product alone is never enough – so we hold your hand throughout your own, unique hair growth journey. Our flagship product, The Hair Fuel mask coupled with tailored advice, digital tools and online support are there to help you grow the best hair you can. It’s a big claim – but we’re unafraid to make it. Check out our starter bundles >>