Using Biotin for Hair Growth? Does Biotin Really Work? Let’s Discuss!

Biotin for hair growthDo you take biotin for hair growth? What about vitamin B7, coenzyme R or vitamin H?

These are just different names for a very common vitamin that many naturals take for hair growth called biotin. The real question is does taking biotin for hair growth really work?

Let’s dive a little deeper.

What is Biotin?

There are many names for biotin, including coenzyme R, vitamin B7 and vitamin H.

In simple terms,vitamin B7 is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin that is often found in foods. Biotin is required by the human body for cell growth, producing fatty acids and it’s also essential for the metabolism of amino acids and fats.

Sources: Food High in Vitamin B7

Foods high in vitamin B7
Vitamin B7 is available in a wide variety of foods. Foods that contain biotin include, but isn’t limited to, peanuts, leafy green vegetables such as swiss chard, liver, Saskatoon berries and raw egg yolk. It is also available in supplement form, which can be found in the majority of pharmacies and many online retailers.

Using Biotin for Hair Growth: The Reason People Take It

Over the years, biotin supplements have been used to treat numerous conditions, but most naturals who take it have one common goal. There is a common belief that taking a biotin supplement will improve your ability to grow long hair.

Using vitamins for hair growth is common is the natural hair community. Biotin supplements are frequently recommended for faster hair growth (i.e., increasing the overall hair growth rate) and for strengthening nails – even though there’s not much scientific data to support its effectiveness.

According to clinical references, researchers haven’t come to an agreement on the benefits of taking additional biotin as an oral supplement. There is anecdotal evidence that suggests biotin may have additional benefits.  However, I have not found any supporting scientific evidence that verifies the perception that biotin improves hair growth potential. Nevertheless, biotin is commonly found in a variety of health and cosmetic products for skin and hair.

Did you know that deficiencies are very rare?

Biotin deficiency is extremely rare, particularly due to the fact that it’s available in a wide range of foods and that the human body needs very little biotin. The average person doesn’t need a biotin supplement.

You receive vitamin B7 naturally in everyday foods like whole-grain cereals, whole wheat bread, eggs, dairy products, salmon and chicken. Note that this isn’t a complete list of foods that provide vitamin B7.

Although, it’s important to note that since our bodies can recycle vitamin B7 that the body already contains, genuine deficiencies of vitamin Bare very rare. If you believe you have a deficiency, we always recommend working with an appropriately licensed medical professional to create a personalize plan of treatment.

Biotin Vitamin b7
Vitamin B7 supports a healthy central nervous system, sugar and fat metabolization and fetus development. It’s also thought by many people to support healthy skin and hair.

Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, people who have biotin deficiencies can increase hair growth back to the normal rate by consuming low biotin doses.

Regardless of the cause of the deficiency, it can usually be directly addressed by nutritional supplementation.

Examples of deficiency symptoms are:

  • Conjunctivitis
  • Hair loss ( alopecia)
  • Thin and brittle fingernails
  • Neurological symptoms such as lethargy, depression, tingling and numbness on the extremities, and hallucination
  • Dermatitis (usually a scaly red rash around nose, mouth, eyes, and genital area)

According to the European Journal of Paediatric Neurology, children who take certain anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) may suffer hair loss as a secondary effect. This hair loss might be treated with biotin supplementation. The medication may cause biotin deficiency, and supplementation improves hair back to normal levels.

How Much Vitamin BShould You Take?

The Food and Nutrition Board (i.e., The Institute of Medicine) provided updated Estimated Average Requirements (EARs) and Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for B vitamins in 1998.

At the time, they did not have enough information to establish RDAs and EARs for Vitamin B7. In such instances, the board often established Adequate Intakes (AIs), with the expectation that they will be replaced by RDAs and EARS at a later date.

The Institute of Medicine has set parameters defining an adequate intake of biotin. If you eat a healthy hair diet, you should receive an adequate amount of biotin naturally without requiring supplements.

If you decide to take biotin, the “appropriate” dose needed depends on many factors and should really be prescribed by a medical doctor.

Should You Worry About Toxicity with Vitamin B7?

Certain animal studies have indicated very few, if any, side effects of consuming high doses of vitamin B7. These studies suggests that both humans and animals can tolerate doses at least one order of magnitude higher than the adequate intake recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board.

Thus far we haven’t been able to find any reports of significant adverse effects from high doses of vitamin B7. Outside of acne, even when vitamin B7 is used in high quantities, such as in the treatment of metabolic disorders that causes seborrheic dermatitis in children the side effects appear to be tolerable by most women.

Excess biotin accumulation may inhibit endogenous sirtuin activity, which leads to increased inflammation as well as collagen deposition and cellularity, and could be associated with age related metabolic problems.

I’ve seen many women discuss taking very high levels of biotin. These high intake levels may prove to be safe eventually; however, researchers haven’t been able to determine if consuming high dosages of biotin over an extended period of time will pose health risks.

I encourage you to focus on your eating habits, since you can get plenty of biotin by eating a healthy diet. Although, if you decide to use supplements it appears (based on what we currently know) that there really isn’t a significant risk to trying the supplements – meaning there may not be a significant health risk.

Still, we suggest speaking with your medical doctor or another appropriately licensed medical professional, before starting a regimen of hair growth vitamins or supplements. I’m not trying to scare you, but I do want you to be careful. Take care.

biotin for hair growth for ladies

42 Comments

  • Thanks for this article. Do you know why many naturals use prenatal fits as part of their regimen? Is it the biotin or another vit contained in the multi vitamin formula? I love the info you guys share. This is one of my fav natural hair sites.

  • I ve been taking 5000 eui biotin for 5 months now and my new growth is alot stronger and fuller.my natural curls are bigger and more defined. Im concerned about my weight so I would rather take the supplement than eat all those unneccessary calorie from intaking the biotin through foods like breads and cereals. It takes about 3 months to notice results .and you have to take everyday.i will be taking it for 2 year until I reach my hair goal. Also a bottle cost 5 dollar at walmart for 120 capsule,so what do u have to lose. Also you must drink at least 32 oz of water a day on the supplement or you will break out.

    • Hi Tasha – There are many naturals that attest to the benefits of taking biotin supplements. There isn’t any research that proves or disproves this social proof. The basic message of this article is to check with your medical doctor before you start any type of supplement regimen. It is important to note that scientific researchers are concerned about the potential long term effects of taking excessive amounts of biotin.

      Also, we encourage eating healthy foods – not unnecessary calories. There are many more foods than breads and cereals that offer plenty of biotin. I want our readers to have a healthy lifestyle and great natural hair. Before you take something that causes you to break out unless you drink 32oz of water a day, you need to speak with a medical professional (that’s just my opinion). Everyone can make their own decision about whether to take that risk or not. Also, it’s important to note that a significant improvement in your hair can be made simply by increasing your water intake – which is probably a significant contributing factor to the improve that you’ve seen.

  • To be honest I took Biotin in August for about a month before I cut my relaxed hair off and decided not to continue taking the tablets, as I didn’t want to rely on them for my hair growth. I know that my hair will grow if I take Biotin or not, so I’d rather concentrate on having healthy hair at the moment.

    Now that said, it is very doubtful, but I do not discount taking it in the future, as I’m at that awkward stage and am really missing being able to put my hair in a ponytail so much!

    Due to the short time that I took biotin, I can’t truly say that it assists in the hair growth or not, but I feel that if anyone want’s to try it that they MUST make sure that they are fully informed of all the pros & cons. I contacted a professional who recommended that my intake of Biotin should be oral, but through my diet and not as supplements, because a healthy balanced diet should have enough Biotin for our hair to grow healthy, long and strong.

    If anyone can PROVE that Biotin really does aid hair growth significantly, then I am truly interested, but until then I’ll spend my money on cream cakes…..I mean a healthy diet!!

  • I received this article today via email, and I just want to say I appreciate the well-written posts and the care and time you take in responding to people’s comments. Thank you for this site!

    Also, like one of the other readers mentioned, I heard that prenatal vitamins are helpful in hair growth. I took them for a while, but I can’t say I noticed any significant jump in growth. Maybe it was the fact that I was drinking more water at the time, both to get the pills down as well as to re-hydrate because I was working out more often. And isn’t that another factor for healthy hair — exercise and increased blood flow? I don’t mean for this to be long. It just seems like a healthy body has the added benefit of healthy hair (and nails, and teeth, etc).

    • Hi Shones –

      I’m glad that you’re enjoying the articles. Also, if there are ever any specific topics that you want us to write about, please send us an email. We have a long list of things to write about based on what our readers want to read about. I would love to know if you have any specific topics that you would like to see discussed here.

      @Jael recently wrote a piece about taking prenatal vitamins for hair growth. You might find it interesting also.

      Also, a person’s overall health is definitely an added benefit, even when (in some cases – like exercise) there aren’t direct correlations from a scientific perspective, there are usually indirect benefits like reduced stress and etc.

      Take care.
      Kenneth

  • Excellent information! I’m learning so much from your articles! Thank you…I was just looking at some Biotin supplements :-)

  • Thank you for that informative article, i must say i have been watching videos and i was bit confuse with the biotin intake, because i dont like to rely on supplements… so am encourage to do more research on the foods i should be eating to get the biotin.

  • Good afternoon,

    My friend sent me some answers she received from you regarding how to get healthy/biotin, etc…
    My question is what is your suggestions for African American women with alopecia? Is there any hope in your findings to help this type of thinning?

    Thank you,

    Teresa

    • Hi Teresa –

      Alopecia can be very difficult to deal with. There are some drugs that would potentially work to some extent, however it’s best to find a doctor that specializes in alopecia. This would ensure that you get a proper diagnosis. You may find some doctors aren’t comfortable prescribing oral medications because they’re concerned about your androgen levels. There are then several androgen related disorders that you may have to deal with depending on your levels post oral-medication. There isn’t really much more that I can say without crossing the line and offering a medical opinion and I’m definitely not a medical doctor. So, please visit an alopecia specialist. That could be a dermatologist, endocrinologist or general practitioner.

      Good luck and take care.
      Kenneth

  • So many women want nice hair they will do anything to get it. I don’t think taking this is smart. Eat the right food. We take too many drugs in this country.

  • My hair grows pretty quickly but I decided to take the Biotin vitamin supplements (bought at walmart for 11$ consisting of 5,000 mpg) and I have to say I did notice an increase in length at my hair roots and on my nails (no change with my skin). I take one every day plus vitamins Ginkgo Biloba, Cod Liver Oil and Vitamin E pills. I haven’t been sick in months and with my lacto-ovo vegetarian diet and exercise, I enjoy the pills benefits as long as I drink lots of water and make sure I don’t take them on an empty stomach (can you say nausea? :) ) Hope this helps!

  • Biotin is water soluble so the excess that isn’t absorbed is filtered through urine. Which is why it’s important to take it while drinking enough water to stay properly hydrated. It’s not really something that’s dangerous. Also, NOTHING makes your hair grow. Hair grows. That’s what it does. Biotin makes your hair STRONGER so it CAN grow, which is not the same. Taking biotin and not doing anything else for your hair will be just as unproductive as doing nothing to care for your hair.

    • Cameren – Thanks for leaving a comment. We’re okay with you disagreeing with the comments of other readers or the article itself, however we don’t allow inflammatory comments on this blog. So, we deleted the comment that you made on the article “I Hate the Natural Hair Movement” (more about that later).

      Now, I also want to clear up a few things for the other readers, so no one gets confused. There are a few inaccuracies in your comments. The definition of a drug and a vitamin aren’t mutually exclusive necessarily. So, just because something is a vitamin doesn’t mean that in can’t be used as a drug as one of your comments implies. And, I’m not specifically referring to Biotin, I’m referring to the definition of a drug.

      Now, Biotin may or may not be completely safe. There is no documented research from qualified scientists to suggest that it is completely safe. If you can find it, send it over and I will update the article. There is research suggesting that it is “likely” safe, but not for pregnant women as there is some concern from medical professionals that it could cause birth defects. In every research article that I’ve read, the articles always say that Biotin is “likely safe” or “possibly safe”. That concerns me. I wouldn’t recommend anything to our readers that only “likely safe”.

      Before I finish, I just want to reiterate that we’re a positive community. Some blogs allow to your curse (like you did in the post that I deleted) and challenge readers. If you do that here, you will not be allowed to leave comments on this website. I wish you best on your natural hair journey. Take care.

      Kenneth

  • Thanks for this! I’ve been wondering if I should take supplements or not but this has motivated me to really think about it and just create a routine for my hair.

    • Samantha – That’s generally what we recommend also. I think it’s always best to check with a doctor before you start any sort of supplement regimen.

  • Well, is there a specific age you need to be to take biotin? I’m 16 and I’ve been taking biotin since July 5th hoping to improve my hair growth. When I started taking this supplement I had box braids as a protective style. When I took these braids out I didn’t see a difference in my hair length but my nails did grow amazingly, they were very damaged because of acrylic. I’m not necessarily sure if biotin works for hair but I’ll tell you for sure that it works on nails. Anyways I heard to see if a supplement truly works you would have to take it for at least 3months. I should see noticeable growth in October then. Happy Hair Growing.

    • Hi Katnisseverdeenthegirlonfire!

      The recommended dosage of biotin for 14-18 years of age is 25 mcg, according to the National Lab of Medicine.

      Thank you for your comment!

      Kira

  • Hi(^_^)/! I’ve been taking 2500 mcg Biotin Dietary Supplement Liquid Softgel vitamins for a little over a month. I noticed changes in my nails but not much in my hair. I see thickness and fullness but not a change in hair length. I’m not sure if it is because I’ve only been taking it for a short period of time or if I’m being impatience. When will I notice a change in hair length?

    • Hi Dana-
      The adequate intake for biotin, according to the National Lab of Medicine is as follows:
      7 mcg for infants 0-12 months
      8 mcg for children 1-3 years
      12 mcg for children 4-8 years
      20 mcg for children 9-13 years
      25 mcg for adolescents 14-18 years
      30 mcg for adults over 18 years and pregnant women
      35 mcg for breast-feeding women.

      2500 mcg appears to be in excess of the maximum intake for a nursing mother of 35 mcg. I definitely encourage speaking to a health professional for guidance.

      Patience is definitely an important component of hair growth. as your growth rate is an internal component that is greatly determined by your genetics, it is also influenced by balanced nutrition.

      My thought is that your growth rate will not be influenced by the high dosage of biotin, especially if your are not biotin deficient.

      I recommend ensuring that your overall diet is balanced as nutrition is the the building block for hair. Plus it’s hard to benefit from being out of balanced or overdosed in general.

      Thanks for your question!!

  • hello.
    you explained very clearly, which i appreciated that you took your time to wrote a blog about biotin. i’ve been taking biotin for a week now.. but my scalp starts to get “itchy” and i wasn’t sure if it is a sign that it works or it irritates my skin even it’s not red? also, i have really thinning hair.. since i was born.. i wanted to know if biotin would help to grow NEW hair? or help to grow the baby hair i have around the hairline?

    make it stronger and thicker.. or even fuller.. what does it mean? no longer to have thinning hair anymore?

    THANK YOU!

    • Hi Irene-
      I am glad that you found the article helpful.
      If your scalp becomes itchy after taking, I will definitely recommend consulting a doctor to make sure you are not having an adverse reaction. Having an itchy scalp can’t be comfortable and if nothing is bringing relief, you can simply stop taking biotin and consult with a dermatologist.
      Hair that is fine and thin can be strengthening by using protein treatments reconstruct and contain hydrolyzed protein. I am a huge fan of Aphogee 2 Step Protein Treatment. It can be purchased from Sally’s or Amazon.

  • Hi there, this thread is really interesting. Personally, I started suffering from thinning of hair around 8 years ago. Since taking Biotin for the last 2 months I would say the thickness of my hair has increased significantly.

    I have also noticed it has grown slightly faster than normal around 3/4 inch a month as opposed to my usual 1/2 inch. I am going to continue taking to see how it goes.

    In terms of breakouts of my face etc I have noticed the odd the spot here and there but hardly anything since upping my fluid intake.

    Hope this helps!

    Debs.

    • I absolutely love biotin. Due to having hormonal issues my hair thins out off and on. Since I started taking 5000 mcg of Biotin along with my multivitamin mu hair has thickened up quite a bit and it seems to grow a little faster. I notice if I stop for a period of time it will thin out a again. I have never broke out from it. I also wear my hair natural.

  • I was worried because a lot of natural websites just show pic of girls with long hair and the have biotin for sell and it make you think you need it be have hair like theres

  • Thank you for this article. My kids and I have been natural now for the past 2 years, and we have never used any supplements. In the beginning of our journey I was asked why we didn’t use biotin. I just couldn’t see going that route for me & my two teen daughters. It really didn’t seem as healthy, which was one of the main reasons why we decided to do this in the first place. Shea butter, water, and oils are all we use.

  • Hey guys. I am currently transitioning to natural hair and I have been using biotin and collagen shampoo & conditioner by the organix brand and it REALLY works its made my hair thicker and a lot longer. I’m not good at keeping up with taking supplements everyday so using it in a shampoo & conditioner really helps a lot!

  • Hello I am currently taking biotin now and this is actually my first month taking it and I haven’t notice a difference in my hair growth length yet…. I’m hoping too one day get my hair down my back…. Right now it’s pass my shoulders… My hair is long and thick which i been having long and thick hair before taking biotin but now that i’m taking the supplement i’ll be sure too keep track on a big difference that the biotin may or may not do….

    • Hi Tee,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Keeping track of your growth while taking supplements and comparing those results with your regular hair growth without supplements, will give you a good indicator of the increase or no change while taking the supplements.

      Just for the record, as long as you are generally healthy and have a relative balanced eating habits and decent hair habits, you will see growth. Growth is cumulative so it will take some time. This is why patience is needed while journaling to longer hair.

      Keep us posted on your results!

      Kira

  • I have been taking hair skin and nails vitamins for 3 months. I’ve noticed a little improvement in my temple hair.

    In my mid twenties, I managed to grow my hair 10 inches long by keeping it in extensions and drinking brewers yeast 500 every day. Currently I wear a weave. My longest hair is 7 inches. I am post menopausal, and have not been taking good care of my hair. Over the past month or so, I have started taking care of it through conditioning and putting coconut oil on it. It is still too soon to tell if it’s getting linger, but I think it will work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *