Biotin: How Does It Work and Is It Safe?

Biotin: How Does It Work and Is It Safe?

BIOTINBiotin is most commonly used as a hair vitamin. Many claim that it’s responsible for longer and healthier hair, but dermatologists aren’t so sure…

What is Biotin?

“Biotin is one of the B complex vitamins (also known as vitamin H) which play a significant role in metabolism; helping your body to process energy and transporting carbon dioxide from your body’s cells,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Susan Stuart.

SEE ALSO: Hair and B-Complex Vitamins

It’s also known as the “beauty pill” that claims to increase hair and nail growth rate and strength. But these claims are untested and unsupported by hard evidence. Maybe these rumored results have some validity: “Biotin is most effective in treating biotin deficiency, which may result in brittle nails and hair loss,” explains Dr. Susan Stuart. It can easily reverse hair loss and strengthen hair in those that are biotin deficiency.

Outside of treating biotin deficiency, the fact is that dermatologists aren’t sure how it works for hair and nail growth. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Adrianna Jackson, “There has been no randomized clinical trials proving efficacy of biotin. In fact, 80-90% of the hair loss patients I see are already taking it [with no results].”  Additionally, there is no way to increase the hair’s growth cycle, this is a common misconception.

SEE ALSO: Treating Hair Loss (Alopecia)

Not only are medical professionals unsure of how biotin affects the human body, they’re also unsure of the maximum dosage. Biotin overdose is rare, but on the flip side, no one can really say what a biotin overdose would look like. Dr. Stuart suggests looking out for these possible signs of biotin overdose: slower release of insulin, skin rashes, lower vitamin C and B6 levels, and high blood sugar levels (most of the listed signs can only be diagnosis by physician testing of blood).  Many users of biotin have reported cystic acne and hair loss (in some cases).

The daily recommended dosage of biotin is 2.5 mg, according to Dr. Richard Scher, and the adequate intake (AI) is 30 mcg for adults over 18.  Many daily multivitamin offer the daily recommend dosage of biotin in addition to other vital vitamins and mineral that also support healthy hair and skin without the side effects.  In this quantity it is safe, but as a precaution its always beneficial to consult a physician before starting any vitamin regimen.

Many biotin pills contain dosages that are 100x more than the recommended daily dosage.  You can purchase biotin pills that are 5000 mcg or 1000 mcg.

In most cases, the average person doesn’t need that much, nor is it recommended. Because of these high dosages, it’s important to consult your doctor before taking biotin — or any supplement for that matter, with the exception of a daily multivitamin.

The drastic increase in biotin could be the blame of those adverse side effects such as cystic acne. The body is working to balance itself by removing the excessive amount of the hair vitamin in order to prevent hypervitaminosis (vitamin overdose).  The body also begins to counteract the increase of biotin by increasing or decreasing other vitamins and minerals to achieve equilibrium.

Biotin should be reserved for those with a biotin imbalance. And any deficiency should be diagnosed by a physician. If you’re interested in taking biotin, many multivitamins offer the recommended daily dose, in addition to other B-complex vitamins and other supporting minerals that increase absorption into the body.

But a balanced diet is always the best way to grow hair from the inside out.


5 thoughts on “Biotin: How Does It Work and Is It Safe?

  1. Darcetha Manning

    Very interesting. I’m taking 10,000 mcg of Biotin daily. My nails seem to grow faster, but not sure if it is doing anything for my hair. I’m going to stop buying it, after I use up what I have. Thanks for the information.

  2. Denise

    I found that all it did for me, was make me break out like crazy. Who cares if your hair is growing if your skin is going crazy?!
    I have found that since I have been making smoothies with kale and yogurt (and other fruits/veggies) my hair and nails are growning like mad!!

  3. LAC

    interesting im using 5000 and I take 2 daily or every other day. I do notice my nails grow fast since I started taking the lower dose of biotin 3 years ago. im not positive my hair is growing faster, but its is growing. My face stays clear except for those special days of the month, but that is normal with out biotin. So all in all I ONLY see results with my nails that i can for sure say. Im almost done and think I will give it a rest for awhile. Thanks for the info.

  4. missy

    My hair was falling out like crazy! Biotin does help – I am taking biotin 1000 for over a year now, but i still had hair falling out. I did a full physical at my doctor and dermatologist. He recommended I change my shampoo & conditioner because i was using stuff from the store that was full of chemicals. I now use the Somaluxe Paradise Shampoo which is all natural and I have noticed my hair stopped falling out. Chemicals are so dangerous, and I wish I knew this before! Use the Somaluxe Shampoo – Take Biotin, and that should work. Im hoping it will not grow the rest of my hair back that I lost to harmful shampoos!

  5. Shae Brown

    I tried it. No real results in terms of length. However, it definitely metabolizes food and is good for weight management. I have switched back to a regular multivitamin, which includes Biotin along with excercize. Now I’m seeing healthier and stronger hair.


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