Where does biotin come from?
Dr. Aysha Butt is the Medical Director of FROM MARS, and is a GP Partner at Woodcote NHS Medical Practice.
Right, who hasn’t heard about biotin? It’s not exactly a well-kept secret. Biotin has become popular in recent years to help improve the health and appearance of hair, nails, and skin. It’s even sold as a cure for baldness.
But what actually is biotin? Where does it come from, and can it really do all the amazing things it’s supposed to? Let’s get down to it and answer all your frequently asked questions about biotin.
What is biotin and what does it do?
Biotin is a type of vitamin that belongs to the B family of vitamins. It’s usually called vitamin B7, but just to confuse things, it’s sometimes also called vitamin B8 or vitamin H.
Your body needs a certain amount of biotin to stay healthy as it’s used in several processes. Biotin is a component of your digestive enzymes (the chemicals that help break down the food you eat) so it helps you get the nutrients and energy you need from your food. It’s also used by your body to make various substances it needs to function, including proteins, fatty acids, and glucose.
Biotin plays a role in skin health. If you don’t eat enough biotin you can get a red, scaly skin rash, most often on your face. And, here’s the important bit for your hair. Biotin is used by your body to make keratin. Keratin is the main ingredient of your hair and nails. Not consuming enough biotin can give you brittle nails, thin hair, and can even make your hair fall out.
Because biotin is also important for hair health, and because a lack of biotin can damage your hair and make it fall out, plenty of people are now taking biotin supplements to improve the health of their hair and to fight hair loss.
Where does biotin come from?
Biotin is found naturally in food. If you want to make sure you’re getting enough of it in your diet, foods that are high in biotin include eggs, kidney and liver, cauliflower, leafy greens, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, nuts (especially almonds), and dairy products (especially Camembert and blue cheeses).
You can also buy a range of supplements that contain biotin. It’s in most multivitamins, but you can buy specific biotin supplements too. They’re usually sold as tablets or as powders in capsules. Biotin is also added to various beauty products like shampoos and conditioners, serums, and creams, although there’s little evidence you can absorb it through your skin.
Is it safe to use Biotin every day?
Biotin is a natural vitamin. This means that it’s something your body needs to function, rather than a synthetic product. It’s not thought to be toxic, even when taken in large amounts. Government health agencies around the world have set recommended daily intakes for biotin, but not an upper limit that shouldn’t be exceeded.
Are there side effects of taking biotin?
There are no known side effects of taking biotin, even in large amounts, and it’s not thought to interact with any medications. Some people get cramps, nausea, and diarrhea from taking supplements generally, but this isn’t specific to biotin. The only known effect of taking large amounts of biotin is that it can potentially interfere with the results of blood tests.
Does biotin make you pee?
Biotin is water-soluble. This means if you consume more biotin than your body needs, you pee it out. Excess biotin won’t make you pee more though. The biotin will hang around in your urine until your bladder is full.
How can biotin help with hair loss?
Scientific studies have shown that biotin supplements can promote re-growth of lost hair. A lot of these studies were performed on women who did have health conditions which caused their hair to thin and fall out, but it is illustrative of the link between biotin and hair.
There may not have been too many studies on the use of biotin to help with hair loss in men, but as it’s involved in the creation of keratin and the fact it doesn’t cause any adverse side effects, makes it a worthwhile option for part of your approach to hair loss. Experts recommend you eat between 30 and 100 mcg (micrograms) per day. Chances are you’re already getting this amount in your diet, but you can take a supplement or increase the biotin-rich foods you eat if you’re worried that you’re not getting enough.
Does biotin make your pubic hair grow?
If you’re losing pubic hair because of a biotin deficiency, then biotin supplements may help with hair re-growth.
Can Biotin cause facial hair?
There is plenty of talk online about biotin supplements helping men grow better facial hair.
Whilst there haven’t been any scientific studies yet to prove or disprove this theory, biotin’s keratin-producing properties suggest that it could have an impact. Try it yourself if you want to attempt to enhance the fullness and thickness of your beard.
What else should I take to help with hair loss?
If you’ve got male pattern baldness, biotin supplements are great for helping hair re-grow. There is also a range of other hair loss medication available with a prescription, including minoxidil or finasteride which are both proven treatments for male pattern baldness that can halt hair loss and even regrow hair.
For minoxidil or finasteride, simply start your online consultation by entering your medical history and symptoms. If approved, you’ll receive a treatment plan from our doctors within two hours, and your meds will be shipped straight to your door for free.