Beauty Comes from Within...Really!
The beauty salon and barber trades combined are a 20 billion+ dollar industry to which just about every American woman and man contributes. Haircuts, blow-dry’s, manicures, and pedicures — they really do add up. While men generally pay less, women on average pay $1,800 per year at the salon! That just includes routine visits.
As Americans, we’re committed to looking our best. Yet often we forget that beauty stems from with-in. Remember that adage, “You are what you eat”? Well, we’re not actually what we eat, but the nutrients we consume play an important role in how we look. Certain B vitamins are well known to support healthy, thick hair, youthful skin, and strong nails. The most important of these vitamins is biotin, and yes, it’s often recommended by most hair stylists because they see results firsthand.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that is an essential co-factor to enzymes that play crucial roles in the metabolism of fatty acids, amino acids, and glucose. It also functions as a key regulator of gene expression (i.e., the ability of genes to manufacture proteins needed for biological activity).
Why Do So Many Recommend Biotin?
As far as biotin benefits and uses, this vitamin is known to support healthy hair, skin and nails. Below is more specific information on the benefits of biotin.
Biotin For Your Hair
Biotin deficiency often leads to hair loss. However, this reverses once the person begins supplementing with this B vitamin. Researchers investigated the serum biotin level in 541 female participants complaining of hair shedding (age range: 9-92 years old). Low biotin levels were found in 38% of these subjects. Will biotin help regain this hair loss, research says yes. Studies found that daily biotin supplementation could improve hair health after 3-4 months in children with uncomfortable hair syndrome. A review article evaluating biotin and its effect on human hair found 18 reported cases of biotin on hair and nails. In 10 of these 18 cases, there was a genetic cause of biotin deficiency; the remaining eight patients experienced improvement in their hair after they implemented biotin supplementation. The research found that all 18 patients had underlying causes of biotin deficiency, and once treated with biotin supplement, showed clinical improvement in a variable time.
Biotin For Your Skin
There is a relationship between biotin and healthy skin. While the research is limited, there are a couple of studies which point to a strong correlation. In the previously mentioned study with 541 female participants, 35% were found to have associated underlying seborrheic dermatitis – underscoring the importance of biotin for skin health. In another study on subjects with acne, a combination of nutraceuticals including biotin was found to be more effective than topical treatment alone.
Biotin For Your Nails
Biotin for nail growth? Frailty and brittleness of fingernails is frequently seen, particularly in women. In veterinary medicine, it has been documented that defective hooves of horses or claws of swine responded well to oral application of biotin. Accordingly, researchers studied the effect of biotin on human fingernails. 71 patients were treated with a daily oral dose of biotin (2.5 mg). Out of the 45 cases which finally could be evaluated, 41 (91%) showed definite improvement with firmer and harder fingernails after an average treatment of 5.5 months. Researchers concluded that, in most cases, biotin provides an effective therapy for human patients with brittle nails.
Another study was conducted to test whether the favorable clinical results of biotin on nails could be corroborated by scanning electron microscopy. Researchers investigated the ends of the fingernails from 32 persons. They were placed into 3 groups: Group A consisted of 10 control subjects with normal nails, Group B was comprised of 8 patients with brittle nails studied before and after biotin treatment, and Group C included 14 patients with brittle nails in whom the administration of biotin did not coincide exactly with the initial and terminal clipping of the nails. The thickness of the nails in Group B increased significantly by 25%. In group C, the increase was 7%. Splitting of the nails were reduced in Groups B and C and the irregular cellular arrangement of the dorsal surface of brittle nails became more regular in all nails of Group B and in 8 of 11 nails of Group C. Likewise a study from Switzerland demonstrated a 25% increase in nail plate thickness in patients with brittle nails who received biotin supplementation.
Foods High In Biotin
Most biotin comes from protein you consume. This protein must be broken down and then stored in the small intestine and liver. You can find biotin in many foods. Foods high in biotin include egg yolk, liver, and yeast. Other sources include whole-wheat bread, cheddar cheese, pork, salmon, avocado, raspberries, and cauliflower.
Biotin Recommended Daily Intake
The biotin recommended daily intake is 30 mcg. However, biotin for hair growth dosage and biotin for nail growth dosage is considerably higher. For hair, the research suggests 3,000-5,000 mcg/day. For nails, the dose used in research was 2,500 mcg/day.
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