There is no doubt in my mind that vitamins and hair growth are linked in a million different ways and that some vitamins, such as B7 (or simply Biotin), are extremely important for maintaining healthy, strong and shiny hair. Now, many beauty products that contain Biotin claim that this magical ingredient can make hair grow faster, re-grow lost hair and even make your hair thicker. Let’s find out whether these claims are true or just marketing hype.
What is Biotin?
Biotin, also called vitamin B7, is a part of something known as the vitamin B complex, which is a whole group of very important vitamins that aid everything from cell growth to balancing hormonal levels in the body. Biotin is created naturally in the intestines and can also be acquired from various food sources as well as supplements.
One very important thing to understand about Biotin and most other vitamins (including B-complex vitamins) is that they do not aid hair growth/re-growth directly. Many hair beauty products claim that B vitamins can improve hair growth – that’s not true!
Now, this doesn’t mean that supplementation is useless! Biotin plays an important role in hundreds of different processes within the body, some of which are crucial to maintaining/producing healthy hair. This is exactly why vitamin B (including B7) supplements seem to have a different affect on different people. If your inner processes are working slower due to mineral or vitamin deficiencies, correcting them will certainly produce great results. In some cases, however, taking vitamin supplements will have no noticeable effect (if your hair loss is genetic, for example).
Oh and remember that vitamins for hair/nail growth should always be taken orally. Topical creams, shampoos and various other solutions that contain Biotin are next to worthless.
Sources and Usage
As with all vitamins, the best way to increase your daily intake is by changing up your diet. That’s because vitamins from dietary sources are much better absorbed by the body. Some of the most common Biotin-packed foods are: green leafy vegetables, lentils, walnuts, almonds, Swiss chard, milk, carrots, berries (raspberries, strawberries) and many others.
Another way to get more Biotin into your system is by taking vitamin B supplements. While this method is not as effective as eating a healthy and balanced diet, it is often the best option for people with Biotin deficiencies and conditions that could benefit from Biotin supplementation.
Remember, however, that you should have your vitamin B levels tested (ask your doctor to perform a blood test) in order to determine what daily supplement dose you should be taking. While Biotin deficiencies are rare, some people suffer from various other vitamin B deficiencies that can have devastating effects on hair growth/health and should be treated with a full B-complex vitamin supplement.
In very rare cases your body might be unable to properly absorb vitamin B. When this happens, you will experience brittle nails, weak/breaking hair, slow hair growth and many other related symptoms. In such cases, ask your doctor to recommend a good sublingual vitamin B supplement instead of pills/tablets. Sublingual supplements are absorbed directly into the bloodstream and have a much quicker and more powerful effect.
And remember that any vitamin/supplement regimen will normally take 2-3 months to start showing measurable benefits. So be patient, eat healthy and don’t lose hope!