In 30 seconds…
Biotin, or vitamin B7, helps maintain the health of our hair, nails, and skin. It does so by converting nutrients from our food into energy. Studies show that Biotin is a useful supplement for supporting hair regrowth. Biotin is not a cure for hair loss or balding.
Supporting Hair Growth
There are now potentially hundreds of supplements out there that claim to promote hair regrowth. From vitamins and minerals to natural remedies and extracts, the market for hair care products is growing ever broader.
On the face of it, this is great news. With male pattern hair loss affecting perhaps as many as 85% of men by the age of 50, it’s promising that there are so many effective solutions. But, on the other hand, with so much choice, the options can be a little overwhelming. And it’s not always clear that you’ll find the treatment that works for you.
To help you get your bearings, we’re looking at one of the best-known vitamins out there for the support of healthy hair. That’s biotin or vitamin B7. Usually sourced from our diet, it’s also available in supplements and hair health products.
But the important question: biotin for hair growth — does it actually work? While science is not 100% conclusive, the evidence suggests that biotin can be a crucial part of a men’s healthy hair routine.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is an essential water-soluble vitamin that we get from foods like egg yolks, salmon, bananas, legumes, and liver. Often known as vitamin B7 (and sometimes as vitamin H), biotin’s first job is to help our bodies convert the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in our diet into the energy we need to survive.
Another job of biotin is to support the health of things like our nails and skin, as well as our liver, nervous system, and eyes. You can add hair to that list too. While it’s not certain precisely how biotin helps support these different organs, there’s no doubt that it plays a crucial role.
We know this because of a thing called biotin deficiency. While it’s incredibly rare, those of us who don’t get enough biotin can experience pretty unpleasant symptoms, including:
- Brittle nails that easily break
- Thinning hair (that can potentially result in a loss of all hair on the body)
- A scaly skin rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth, and other orifices
As we said, biotin levels low enough to cause problems are rare. So rare, in fact, that we don’t fully understand the condition. According to the FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration), though, you should aim for about 30 mcg (or micrograms) every day.
Biotin for Hair Growth: The Science
Now then, biotin and hair growth — what is the link? Let’s start with the protein known as keratin.
Keratin is one of the key proteins that make up your hair. To put it another way, your hair, as well as your skin and nails, is keratin, a structural protein made by your body that’s particularly resistant to wear and tear.
Biotin is crucial for the production of this protein. As one study put it, “biotin is possibly the vitamin of greatest importance to the keratinization process. Biotin is essential for the formation and integrity of the keratinized tissues.” That’s because the enzymes that produce keratin in your body depend on biotin to do their job. In this way, there’s a direct link between healthier hair and biotin, as new hair simply can’t grow without it.
Meanwhile, two studies have shown that biotin supplementation can improve perceived hair coverage:
- In one study, patients reported “improvements in overall hair volume, scalp coverage, and thickness of hair body” after 90 days of taking biotin supplements.
- Another study showed “a significant increase in the number of hairs” over the same timeframe.
Sounds good. Together, the studies suggest there’s convincing evidence that biotin treatment supports hair growth. Meanwhile, another piece of research found that all 18 documented cases in which biotin was used to treat hair loss were successful.
Note: While there’s no doubt good news, be aware that, so far, the studies have been small and they’ve depended on self-reported perceptions of hair growth.
Can Biotin Help Male Pattern Baldness?
The evidence suggests that biotin plays an important role in helping hair grow. However, for men experiencing male pattern baldness (MPB), or androgenetic alopecia to use its full name, can biotin supplements help? The evidence on this is much less clear.
MPB, the condition in which men progressively lose hair at the hairline and crown, is caused by a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. This hormone is produced in the body during the breakdown of testosterone. It’s an entirely natural process — however, there’s an unfortunate side effect: it causes male hair loss. In most men, your hair follicles are sensitive to the DHT and, in its presence, they shrink, weaken, and stop producing hair.
Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that biotin can help stop this process. That’s not to say it doesn’t — but that we just don’t know. Biotin has not been studied as a so-called DHT blocker. In reality, biotin has not yet been comprehensively studied on MPB at all.
However, it does seem unlikely that biotin would tackle the root cause of MPB. But that it plays an important role in your hair health is beyond doubt.
Reverse MPB with Finasteride
To effectively tackle MPB, you’ll need a treatment that targets the root cause of MPB — that hormone, DHT.
Finasteride is the best treatment out there for reducing DHT and for stopping male hair loss from progressing further. Finasteride tackles the enzyme that produces DHT in the first place. By inhibiting this enzyme, Finasteride reduces the amount of DHT in your system by as much as 60%.
Finasteride has been found to work with 9/10 men. If you are struggling with MPB right now, it’s without a doubt your best bet for hair regrowth.
So, biotin for hair growth — should you use it? In truth, more research is needed to confirm once and for all whether biotin can help you regrow hair. However, the results so far have been good. Studies have shown that hair growth is improved by biotin supplementation as the vitamin plays a crucial role in producing the very stuff that hair is made of: keratin.
However, biotin alone won’t be enough to reverse male pattern baldness. For that, you’ll need a treatment that blocks DHT, the hormone that damages your hair follicles in the first place. The only DHT blocker approved for use? Finasteride.
Is Biotin a natural supplement?
Yes, Biotin (or vitamin B7) is a natural supplement found in eggs, peanuts, seeds, sweet potato, chicken, turkey, and some animal livers. However, you can also buy Biotin supplements from pharmacies and health food stores.
Does Biotin work for hair growth?
Whilst the science is not conclusive, studies show that vitamin B7 does help promote healthy hair. Though not a cure for hair loss or male pattern baldness, Biotin will help keep what hair you do have healthy.
How does Biotin work?
Biotin is one of the key ingredients in your body’s production of Keratin, which is what hair and nails are made of. By stimulating and enabling the keratinization process, Biotin promotes the strength and overall health of your hair and nails.
Should I use Biotin to treat my hair loss or Male Pattern Baldness?
Whilst Biotin is a great supplement for healthy hair, you should use Finasteride to treat hair loss or balding. Additionally, you can use Minoxidil, and start thinking about the possibility of getting a hair transplant.