There are lots of lofty claims about the wonders of taking biotin to grow hair and nails. While taking supplements with biotin can improve keratin infrastructure (the protein that makes up your skin, hair and nails), it is unclear what affects too much of it can have on your hair and body.
So, what is biotin? Biotin is a combination of vitamin B7 and H that helps the body break down or metabolize certain proteins, carbohydrates and fatty acids; it essential for bodily health. It is a soluble substance not easily sustained by the body, so you have to ingest it. Some foods with significant amounts of B7 are almonds, walnuts, carrots, eggs (especially the yolk), milk (goat and cow), whole wheat/grains, berries, halibut, cucumbers and cauliflower. If you are consuming these types of foods, your body is receiving adequate amounts of biotin needed for growth support. However if you are consuming too much biotin, you may develop skin rashes and high blood sugar.
While biotin is not known to be toxic, the general recommended ingested amount of biotin is 30 mcg per day, and you have to make sure you are drinking lots of water and eating a balanced diet. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, up to 5,000 mcg per day, for two years, in a supplement proved to not show any adverse affects in a test group. But of course, before deciding to take any supplement, you should consult your physician as they may weaken the affects of other medications/antibiotics or cause adverse reactions in the body, and you should definitely avoid eating raw egg whites.
Does biotin really make hair grow? According to the National Library of Medicine, there is inconclusive evidence that biotin actually makes hair grow while there is more evidence that it can prevent hair loss. It is said that biotin is most effective (in adults over 19 years old) when taking/ingesting 30 mcg with an additional B-complex vitamin. Basically, it depends on the person. There is no definite yes or no answer available on this one, and results will vary person to person.
How do you know if you have enough? Because the daily amount of biotin needed in your diet is low, if you are consuming a reasonably healthy diet, biotin deficiency is not likely. Biotin deficiencies are not detectable by simple lab testing, so it has to be identified by symptoms. Thinning hair, red rashes around the eyes, nose or mouth and tingling in the arms and legs are the some obvious and common symptoms to look out for. Another symptom could be muscle cramps after physical exertion due to the body’s inability to use sugar efficiently. Additionally, if you aren’t receiving enough vitamin B5 (foods like avocado, mushrooms, yogurt, corn, sweet potatoes, eggs, collard greens carry significant amounts of B5) in your diet, you may be more likely to develop a biotin deficiency since the two work together.
If you have tried biotin-rich supplements in an effort to speed hair growth and had adverse affects, or you are not sure if ingesting biotin supplements is appropriate for you, there is an alternative; Ouidad has come up with an external treatment that may be an option for you.
Ouidad recently released four advanced treatment products as part of their Salon Series. One of these is the Biotin Lightweight Reparative Hair Serum. This treatment was designed to penetrate follicles to facilitate fast absorption of nutrients and speed up repair to damaged hair.
The serum is infused with biotin and a rich vitamin cocktail of B3, B6, C and E vitamins. B vitamins are considered complex vitamins that help the body efficiently use protein. This means they will assist your body in the making and distribution of protein. The treatment also has silk amino acids that moisturize the hair making it silkier and softer and it is formulated with out any silicones, sulfates, parabens or waxes.
How to use:
To use this treatment, you simply massage a small amount into your scalp each night and apply it to any problem areas throughout your hair. With consistent use, the treatment is supposed to help damaged, brittle, over-processed hair be healthier, with improved volume and growth.
Where to buy: