Using biotin for hair is a popular option these days when it comes to hair growth & nutrition. But what is biotin and what are other benefits of biotin? Let's read to find out!
Don’t we all dream of luscious healthy hair? But daily damage, heat, pollution, chemicals, and styling can damage your hair. Another damaging factor is not eating a healthy balanced diet. We need the right amount of vitamins and minerals in our diet for our skin and hair to be healthy. One such vitamin is biotin.
What Is Biotin?
Biotin, or Vitamin B7, is a part of the vitamin B complex group. It is a water-soluble vitamin and is associated with healthy hair and skin, cardiovascular, nerve, and digestive functions. The word biotin comes from the Greek word ‘biotos’ which means life or sustenance. Since it is a water-soluble vitamin, our body doesn’t store biotin.
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Biotin is a nutrient that helps us look young and attractive. It plays a pivotal role in maintaining your hair, skin, and nails. It has gained popularity in recent times and is easily available in supplement form as well. You can biotin tablets online or from a pharmacy, but consult your dermatologist to know whether biotin will suit you or not.
The daily requirement of biotin varies at every stage of life.
- 5 micrograms daily for infants
- 6–8 micrograms daily for infants ages 1–3 years
- 12 micrograms daily for children ages 4–8 years
- 20 micrograms daily for children ages 9-13 years
- 25 micrograms for adolescents (14-18)
- 30 micrograms for male and female adults over 19
- 30 milligrams for pregnant women and 35 milligrams for women who are breastfeeding
Start with a lower dose and gradually increase the dosage as per your doctor’s recommendation. The one important thing about taking biotin capsules or biotin supplements is that they shouldn’t be taken on an empty stomach. Always take biotin tablets with meals.
5 Health Benefits of Biotin
Biotin is known for its benefits and for hair growth. But there are various other health benefits of biotin –
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- It is used by the body to metabolize carbohydrates, amino acid supplements, and fats.
- Is beneficial in fetal development during pregnancy. It is also an important nutrient that is needed during breastfeeding. During pregnancy, the biotin requirement goes up, and this is one reason that a large number of women tend to get biotin deficiency during pregnancy.
- Can regulate blood sugar. People with type 2 diabetes usually have low biotin level, taking biotin supplements will help them regular their blood sugar.
- It is important for energy production in the body. Various enzymes need biotin for proper functioning.
- Can solve the problem of brittle nails.
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Biotin for Hair
It is a common myth that biotin is the sole ingredient needed for hair growth. Although biotin for hair growth is extremely important, but the biotin isn’t the only nutrient needed. A balanced mix of vitamins and minerals promotes hair growth.
How does biotin help in hair growth?
Our hair is made up of keratin, a type of protein. Proteins are formed by amino acids. And these amino acids are formed on reaction of enzymes with biotin. The biotin present in our body contributes to give healthy hair, skin, and nails. When ingested, either from food sources or from biotin supplements, it reacts with cell enzymes and produces amino acids, the building blocks of protein. This helps in hair growth. But apart from biotin, you need to eat food with a healthy balance of vitamins supplements and minerals, follow the stress-free lifestyle, and take proper care of your hair. If any one of these factors is missing, it may affect your hair. Hair loss and thinning of hair are commonly seen. A major cause is an erratic lifestyle – junk food, harsh chemicals, heat styling, hair coloring, pollution, and heat all cause hair damage in more than one way.
Biotin can be found in food. There are various sources of biotin. But a lot of people fall short of the daily requirement and take biotin supplements for healthy hair. It is essential that you talk to your doctor and then take biotin tablets.
If you want thick luscious hair, then biotin is the answer for you. Consume biotin rich food or biotin tablets. But keep in mind not to exceed the prescribed dosage. An overdose of biotin may cause medical complications.
Read on to find out what are the side effects of biotin.
Biotin deficiency is very rare. But when it occurs the most common symptoms are –
- Dry flaky skin
- Hair loss
- Brittle hair
- Brittle nails
- Digestive tract issues
- Muscle pains
- Tingling in limbs
- Mood changes
- Nerve damage
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20 Food Sources of Biotin
There are actually eight forms of Vitamin B7. But only one form occurs naturally, the one found in food sources. Thus, getting your daily dose of vitamins and minerals from food is always a good idea.
- Egg yolk
- Whole wheat bread
- Wheat germ
- Soy flour
- Leafy greens
- Legumes – soybean
Other Rich Sources of Biotin
- Safflower seeds
- Oyster mushroom dried
- Onion stalk
- Broad beans
- Dates (processed)
- Broad beans
Biotin Side Effects
A lot of people take biotin tablets for hair or biotin capsules. But we recommend that you talk to your doctor before taking biotin capsules.
Here are some of the biotin side effects that you must know.
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1. May cause acne
The one thing that we all dread is acne. One of the worst side effects of biotin, if taken in high dosage is that it may cause cystic acne.
Biotin increases the production of sebum which causes dirt, oil, and grime to accumulate on your face. If you feel cystic acne, especially along your jaw line and chin, then biotin intake may be a cause of it.
The acne does fade away after a few weeks when you stop taking biotin. But it may leave some nasty marks and acne scars, which nobody is a fan of.
2. Can cause complications during pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, you should avoid taking biotin. If you already take biotin for hair growth or biotin supplements, it is recommended to talk to your doctor. High dosage of biotin may increase the risk of miscarriage.
3. Allergic reactions
There are chances that some people may suffer from allergic reactions on intake of biotin capsules. Since each of us is different, the way each body reacts to biotin also varies.
The allergic reactions may include –
· Feeling of nausea
· Tightness in throat
· Chest pain
· Itchy rashes
· Swelling of face and throat
If you see any of these signs after taking biotin capsules, it is best to consult a doctor immediately.
A lot of people complain of nausea during the early stages of intake of biotin supplements. This isn’t a major cause of concern, because with time nausea with ease off.
5. Drug interactions
Studies reveal that biotin has a negative interaction with anti-seizures and cholesterol-lowering medications. An increased dosage of biotin can interfere in the efficiency of these drugs. It can also have adverse effects for diabetes.
Talking to your doctor before starting to take biotin supplements is what should help.
Stomach cramps and diarrhea are common in individuals who take a high dosage of biotin. If you are taking biotin supplements and notice diarrhea or have stomach cramps, it is best to stop taking biotin tablets and talk to your doctor immediately.
7. Frequent urination
In some cases, high dose of biotin may increase the need for urination. Apart from excessive urination, increased use of biotin may also cause excessive sweating.
So, here’s all that you want to know about biotin – biotin for hair, biotin benefits, biotin side effects, and lots more. It’s now time to take your first step towards healthy hair and overall fitness.