Biotin is a water-soluble nutrient, also known as vitamin H or B7. The nutrient belongs to the vitamin B complex family and aids in converting food into energy by breaking down fats and carbohydrates among other substances. The nutrient is essential for the body because of its inherent medical properties; it, therefore, helps in preventing hair loss, strengthens the nails among other medical conditions.
There are many reasons why the hair thins out in particular areas of a person’s head some of which are hereditary, age, medical conditions, and the consumed medications among other things. Determining exactly what causes the hair to thin out is not easy, the reason why you have to visit a physician. Biotin is a nutrient that occurs in food sources and is available in supplements, the nutrient has been found to help people gain back hair.
Food sources that contain Biotin
The nutrient (Biotin) is present in some food sources that you take regularly such as bananas, mushrooms, leguminous plants, whole grains, and organ meats. But, it is also not possible to determine if your body lacks the nutrient, however, there are symptoms that can tell whether biotin is present in your system or not.
Symptoms due to lack of biotin
For example, when your hair loses its color and starts to thin out then you might be lacking the nutrient. Also, some people tend to develop a red scaly rash around the mouth, nose, and eyes, there are also other very severe cases such as the tingling of the arms and legs, depression, and hallucinations. Therefore, when you take biotin, the low blood levels of biotin are boosted; however, if a person experiences the low blood levels of biotin then their hair will start to thin out.
The Food and Nutrition Board provided a set of values that offered information on the recommended daily intake of biotin that was sufficient to cater to the nutrient requirements of healthy individuals. The values presented below, therefore, are believed to provide the necessary information on the adequate intake of biotin with regard to age.
Females of ages 19 and above can take up to 30 mcg, the same 30mcg when pregnant and 35 mcg for the lactating mothers. Females of 14- 18 years will take 25 mcg, if lactating then the values shoot to 35 mcg and if pregnant it drops down to 30mcg. Females from 9 to 13 years can take up to 20mcg and those from 4 to 8 years can take 12mcg. The above values are also applicable to males in the very same amounts.
The remaining age bracket are too small to be given supplements for hair growth, but if you want to give them for their dietary needs then those of 1 to 3 years both male and female will be fine with 8mcg, those of 7 to 12 months can take 6mcg and the newly born babies of up to 6 months of age will benefit with 5 mcg.
Important to note is that you should always follow your physician’s recommendations that is if you want to enjoy maximum benefits by increasing the dosage. However, the above-recommended dosages should suffice with or without supplements.
Does biotin intake have any side effects?
Biotin doesn’t have any known side effects at least for now when taken according to the recommended dosage. And the best way to administer it to the body is via shots, however for kids, they can take it by mouth. People who suffer from low levels of biotin because their bodies cannot produce enough, which is normally a result of an inherited condition, then they will need extra amounts of biotin.
There is also another group of people who might have to use biotin supplements and these are the smokers because the habit of smoking contributes to low biotin levels.
Factors to consider before purchasing biotin supplements
- Ensure that it actually contains biotin, anytime you buy a drug at a drug store, the first step is to read on how it interacts with the body to get rid whatever it is that is making you or any other person sick. Therefore, when it comes to biotin, the first thing that you need to ensure is that the supplement actually contains biotin.
- Allergy- supplements contain a number of varied ingredients and some that might react with your body. Most biotin supplements contain soy or gluten, which could be a disadvantage to the vegetarians because of their gluten intolerance.
- Not everyone loves taking tablets; in fact, many people prefer to take shots instead of swallowing tablets every day. But then you get what you pay for, and here you can choose between the gummies, capsules, and tablets. The latter is the cheapest, then the capsules, gummies will have you dig a little deep into your pocket.
- Brands– there is something about brands that people don’t seem to understand, there are those brands that have established themselves over the years. Their experience, expertise, and integrity are what make them grow and be trusted by many people. Therefore, before you carry your biotin supplement home, check the brand, does it have FDA or backing from a dermatologist.
- Patience- the virtue that we find hard to adhere to! In general, supplements have been known to work at a snail’s pace; hair growth supplements are not any different. So, if you want instant results then you can try transplanting but if your pocket is not that deep, then brace yourself because the results will start appearing from 3 months, after consistent intake of the hair supplements.
What tests are used to determine the causes of hair loss?
As we discussed earlier there are those medications that could make you lose hair, or if you come from a lineage that suffered the same problem then you are naturally predisposed to suffer from hair loss. Other mechanical forms of losing hair that does not need a doctor’s appointment are holding a tight bun or forcing your hair back and in the event pull them out with their roots.
However, if you cannot pinpoint the exact reason as to why you are losing hair and that is if you are not pregnant or lactating then below are the procedures that you will have to go through.
Light Microscopy- this technique is aimed at unearthing problems that arise from the hair shaft, the process employs the use of a special instrument to examine the hairs that have been trimmed at their bases.
The Pull test– this one you normally do it yourself only that you don’t know what to examine. So here the doctor will pull a couple of hairs out, and observe how they come out, this will help in determining the stage of your hairs shedding process.
Blood test – blood tests are used to establish if you have any medical conditions that are related or contribute to your hair loss.
Scalp Biopsy- the roots of your hair can tell whether you have an infection in your scalp that is causing hair loss. To which end the doctor will pick a few hairs from your scalp and examine their roots.
There are a number of methods that can be adopted to prevent hair loss or to promote growth, but which depend on the cause of hair loss. There are those severe cases that might need more than the biotin supplements and there are also situations where the hair grows back on its own without treatment.
However, the most common types of treatment are the use of medications such as Minoxidil (Rogaine) or Finasteride, and there is also a surgery that aims to promote hair growth while also slowing hair loss.