Does Biotin Help Hair Growth? The Truth About Biotin

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Our bodies are magnificent in how they are able to function. If you think about how much effort all of our organs and vessels are putting in to keep us up and running, you’ll realize just how amazing the human body truly is. Most of what we consume has nutritional value, whether it be vitamins, antioxidants, or minerals, we need all of it. Therefore our diets are extremely important to our overall health and well-being.  Today, we are going to discuss biotin, aka vitamin B7 or vitamin H. If you ever wondered what the ‘H’ stood for, listen up. The ‘H’ stands for Haut or Haar – both are german for skin and hair. 

Biotin improves skin and hair, so it’s no surprise that it’s known as vitamin H. It’s necessary for the function of many enzymes in the body. But the kicker is that our bodies don’t produce it on its own, which is why we need to make sure it is present in our diet. Read on to learn how.  

What Does Biotin Do?

Girl hanging head back over railing.

Woman with long hair.

Biotin has become a very popular supplement for those who want to improve their hair and nail growth or the appearance of their skin. It’s also known as vitamin B7. It’s a water-soluble vitamin so our bodies don’t store it. It’s crucial for pregnancy and breastfeeding. It’s also important for your hair, skin, and nails. Even though our bodies don’t store it, we need it for the function of several enzymes. Specifically, it helps in the production of glucose and fatty acids. 

Having a biotin deficiency is very uncommon and mostly only pregnant women experience it which is why they need to take prenatal vitamins. Most people get this vitamin naturally from eating a healthy diet, but there are numerous benefits to adding it to your diet. For example, an extra dose of biotin helps to regulate your blood sugar, in addition to promoting healthy skin, hair, nails, and of course healthier babies. Many shampoos contain this vitamin to help increase hair growth. When directly applied to the scalp, biotin helps to support keratin production. With this in mind, if you want to prevent your hair from thinning, biotin is definitely something you want to try. Now, let’s take a look at some of the best foods for hair growth.

Top 5 Biotin Rich Foods For Hair Growth 

1. Egg Yolk

Birds eye view of carton of eggs.

Eggs.

If you’re looking for foods that contain biotin, then you’re going to want to try eggs. Eating a whole, cooked egg yolk is a sure way to get 10 mcg of this vitamin. A runny egg yolk is not only risky for your health, but it could also prevent the absorption of biotin. Loose egg yolks may be trending but they contain avidin. You don’t want avidin if you’re trying to increase your biotin intake or just keep it level. The dietary avidin binds to biotin which makes it almost impossible for the body to absorb. 

2. Beef Liver

There are two types of biotin, the free and protein-bound. They are exactly as they sound. The protein-bound biotin is found in animal products while the free biotin is found in plants. Our bodies use both forms but the free biotin is more easily absorbed and therefore used quickly. On the other hand, animal-based foods are the best sources of biotin since they have such a high amount. Beef liver contains the highest amount, 30.8 mcg in a three-ounce serving to be exact. In general, organ meats are all great sources of this powerful vitamin.This means that vegans need to work extra hard to get enough biotin in their diet. 

3. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes at market.

Sweet potatoes.

In only half a cup of cooked sweet potato, there is 2.4 mcg of biotin. Sweet potatoes are loaded with plenty of other benefits too. They’re a rich source of fiber and contain calcium, selenium, and iron. In addition to being rich in biotin, sweet potatoes are also high in beta carotene. Beta carotene is important because it becomes vitamin A after it’s consumed. If you want to increase your biotin intake for healthy skin, then you’re going to need vitamin A, since it plays a role in boosting skin health. Adding olive oil to the sweet potato right before you serve it aids the absorption of beta carotene. 

4. Salmon

You may think that you need fresh salmon to reap all of its biotin benefits, but canned salmon works just as well. Canned pink salmon in water contains 5 mcg of biotin. Canned tuna provides less but is nonetheless a source of biotin. Canned fish shouldn’t be consumed that often since they tend to be high in sodium and mercury. If you want to pick out a good quality canned salmon, look for one that’s wild-caught without any additives. Farm-raised fish tend to have many more chemicals than wild ones. Omega 3 fatty acids are also in salmon, which is a must for any healthy diet. 

5. Dairy

Milk bottles in a row.

Milk jugs.

To round off our list of foods high in biotin, we have dairy products. Vegetarians have more opportunities to get biotin from their foods compared to vegans because they eat dairy products. Cheese, milk, and yogurt all contain biotin. Not all have the same amount but an ounce of cheddar cheese has 0.4 mcg of biotin. One cup of 2% milk has a little less than that, and a cup of yogurt has even less, 0.2 mcg, to be precise. There are many other benefits that come with adding more dairy into your diet. Cheddar cheese is rich and protein and all essential acids. Additionally, the calcium in cheese, milk, and yogurt is essential for your bone health. 

Does Biotin Cause Acne?

Woman smiling in the mirror.

Woman admiring clear skin in the mirror.

As with every supplement, biotin can have some negative side effects too. Not all the side effects may happen to you, but you should still discuss taking new supplements with your doctor before you add them to your regime. Taking too much biotin can cause cystic acne. The acne usually appears on the jawline and chin. Biotin is absorbed through our gastrointestinal system just like vitamin B5. When we overload on biotin, the amount of vitamin B5 decreases. Vitamin B5 strengthens our skin and fights acne. Therefore the less vitamin B5, the more prone to acne you will become. Even though cystic acne is not dangerous, it can be very painful. 

It’s also possible for someone to have an allergic reaction to biotin which can cause a rash. It could even be a severe skin rash. You may be worried about cystic acne, but you could also get a pretty bad rash on your face or anywhere else on your body. If you have sensitive skin or suffer from acne, biotin may not be the best supplement to add to your diet. It also may interfere with any acne medications you could be taking. Therefore, it’s extremely important to speak with your doctor before adding biotin supplements into your life. 

Conclusion

Even though there are only five sources of biotin listed above, most foods contain some level of it. A deficiency is not common but still possible. Some of the signs of a biotin deficiency are hair loss, scaly skin, muscle pain, cracking in the corners of the mouth, depression, among other symptoms. Therefore, it’s best to speak with your doctor if you have any concerns. They may suggest adding a biotin supplement to your diet. Before adding a supplement, you should take a look at your diet and see if you can make any changes to add more foods that are rich in biotin. 

You should be getting about 30 mcg of biotin daily, but you may want more if you’re looking for ways to improve your hair, skin, and nail health. To increase hair growth, you’ll most likely need at least 300 mcg a day. Whether biotin can really speed up hair growth hasn’t been scientifically proven yet, but how biotin is necessary for the healthy function of your body has been proven. So stock up on your sweet potatoes and beef liver, for lusciously long locks!