Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7, Coenzyme R, or Vitamin H, is a type of B-Complex Vitamin that can be used to treat hair loss. The water soluble compound can be found organically in small doses by consuming bananas, yeast, carrots, and liver. Furthermore, biotin deficiency can lead to hair loss, dermatitis, loss of hair pigmentation, depression, numbness, tingling, fatigue, delirium, decreased appetite, facial puffiness, and/or scaly skin of the genitals and face. The benefits and applications of biotin are numerous. For instance, biotin helps synthesize various amino acids; including isoleucine and valine, as well as help synthesise glucose and fatty acids.
Biotin also helps strengthen nails and hair, as well as help regulate blood sugar. Furthermore, most health care professionals advise that the average adult should intake 100 to 200 mcg of biotin per day, while those who suffer from hair loss are advised to consumer biotin supplements that provide 500 to 1000 micrograms per day. In addition, studies have found that ingesting biotin orally, instead of topically, helps improve the effectiveness of biotin on alopecia (hair loss).
While the number of studies on biotin and its effects on hair loss are limited, a study conducted on biotin supplements in 1992 found that hair quality was improved in 70% of the 93 patients who partook in the study, and 80% of subjects noticed improvements in their brittle nails. The average length of the treatment was 7.9 months, and the men were asked to consume a 2.5 mg biotin oral supplement daily over the course of the experiment.
Interestingly, a more recent study found that biotin was highly effective in treating uncontrollable hair syndrome; a syndrome characterized by tangled, dry, and unruly blond hair. The subjects were asked to orally ingest a 5 milligram biotin supplement daily and resulted in noticeable improvements. Moreover, a subject who consumed 0.3 milligrams of biotin, 3 times per day, noticed marked improvements in terms of the combability and strength of their hair, as well as an increased growth rate of their hair. In sum, biotin has been linked to increasing the strength of nails as well as facilitate hair growth and reduce hair loss. While more studies need to be conducted before conclusive claims can be made, the fact that notable health care professionals, including Dr. Oz Mehmet of the Dr. Oz Show, have been promoting its various benefits, is promising.