The Effects of Biotin on Hair Growth

by Abigail O'Connell

Many people take biotin to make their hair grow.

long hair lady image by Kathy Burns from Fotolia.com

Biotin is a popular supplement for hair growth. Many people who take biotin notice that their hair grows faster and feels stronger. There isn't any evidence to show a significant difference in hair growth unless the person has a rare biotin deficiency. But many claim that biotin not only makes their hair grow, but also strengthens their nails.

Health Benefits

Biotin is needed for your body to properly use fats and amino acids from your foods. There aren't any reported or known side effects from taking biotin. In addition to treating minor hair loss, biotin also strengthens the nails. The vitamin is absorbed in the core of the brittle nail and encourages a stronger, thicker nail to grow, according to Richard K. Scher, M.D. In some cases, biotin also treats skin disorders such as cradle cap in infants and seborrheic dematitis in adults. Seborrheic dematitis causes dandruff and flaky skin.

Hair Loss due to Biotin Deficiency

Biotin is often used to combat minor hair loss, usually when the person is deficient in biotin. Just like someone who is anemic and deficient in iron, it's also possible to be deficient in biotin and experience hair loss. There has been no evidence to show that biotin can be used to treat hair loss when the person is not deficient in biotin.

Forms of Biotin

Many people who take biotin to help grow their hair or strengthen their nails, do so in form of a daily supplement. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has set an Adequate Intake level (AI) for biotin of 35 to 60 micrograms per day. Some foods are also good sources of biotin such as eggs, liver, milk, yeast, kidney, beef, chicken, peanuts and cheese.

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About the Author

Abigail O'Connell is a freelance writer based in Louisville, Ky., and has been writing since 2009. She has been published in a local alternative weekly and has also been featured on Altweeklies.com. O'Connell is a recent graduate of Indiana University, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.