Thursday, July 24, 2008

Biotin Supplements for Hair & Nails - Experiment Conclusion

Apparently biotin only works for some nails. (Photo by nothing)

It's now been a month since I started taking 5 mg of biotin daily to see whether it would have an effect on hair and nail growth. Unfortunately, it didn't.

I'm sure I will continue to read positive claims about taking biotin supplements by some people, but I suspect that either these people have actually been deficient in biotin (which is rare but not impossible) before the supplementation, are attributing the benefits of something else (another supplement, for example) to biotin, or are simply imagining the results.

The last option is probably very common and an easy mistake to make without properly measuring things like nail growth speed, hair shaft thickness etc. The only tool I had was my subjective evaluation, so this was hardly a controlled clinical study. However, people are more likely to see results when there are none than the other way around, which means that when I don't even see any subjective results, there probably aren't objective results either.

Thankfully, biotin supplements are pretty cheap, so you may want to try them for yourself, but before I see some actual studies on biotin's effectiveness, I won't be spending any more money on it.

For more information on hair growth, see these posts:

Mixture of 5-Aminolevulinic Acid and Iron Increases Hair Growth in Mice
3 Quick Ways to Find Out Whether Your Hair Growth Product is Working
Green Tea Extract Grows Hair in Vitro, May Work in Vivo
Vitamin E Tocotrienols May Grow Hair in Humans

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3 kommenttia:

Anonymous August 10, 2009 at 11:57 PM  

Growing hair is a long process, so it would take more than a month to see results. Possibly even a year.

Anonymous April 24, 2013 at 7:13 PM  

How are your iron levels, specifically ferritin (storage iron)? Low levels can cause hair loss and weak nails (an extreme being "spoon-shaped" nails. A good level is about 70-90, although there are some health conditions and inflammatory conditions that can affect one's levels by causing the body to store more than would be usual.

My hair was falling out, my nails were weak and brittle, with a vertical crack in one and they started to change shape, getting flatter. I had always had good nails.

My ferriton level tested at 20. The rest of my blood tests for iron and RBC components were in range. I started supplementing iron with Floradix Floravital liquid iron per my naturopath.

My hair stopped falling out. I'm not sure on the time frame, maybe a month? The problem I had with restless leg syndrome (RLS) also went away (low iron can contribute to that). My PCP had wanted to give me a pharmaceutical prescription for the RLS, which I had declined.

It's taken time to improve my nails. The first 6 months with iron supplementing did improve some brittleness and reduced the crack. You could see a dent in my nails where the change in the growth had improved and was growing upward.

The following 6 months I paid more attention to taking my daily multi-vitamin (Carlson's Super 2 Daily) and 5000mg biotin (NOW Foods). This has increased the improvement. They are almost grown out again. The vertical crack is gone. There's an 1/8" left of it at the tip of my nail. One thumbnail is a little brittle/flakey at that last 1/8" too. Then you can see where the nail bed is fuller behind that, so I suspect that's the last of the older, weaker nail.

The nailbeds are pink and clear, no white spots. My "moons" are back (they had dissapeared). The surface of my nails are less "thready" looking. The nice arch to the nail beds is coming back. The flattening has stopped and is reversing.

I don't get hang nails any more. I like to soak my nails in a little olive oil with some vitamin E added, then massage the nail beds. I use coconut oil as a hand/skin moisturizer now. I started those just a month ago.

I don't always wear nail polish. If I do, I don't leave it on longer than 2 weeks. Then I take it off so the nails can "breath" for several days before I would think of doing them again.

Since it can take a good 6 months to grow your nails out from the base to the tip, I would suggest that you reconsider doing the biotin for at least that long. The nutrition from it doesn't "wick up" into existing hair or nail. That is going to stay weak until it grows out.

Also, levels of Vitamin D can affect hair strength and loss. A decent range is 50-80ng/ml. When mine drops down to 20, I find I tend to get hair loss (as well as feeling lousy). When I get it up to 55+, I notice it stops falling out.

As another objective opinion, my hairdresser has noticed the changes, before I made mention of anything I had done.

Hope some of that is helpful for you.

Anonymous October 7, 2014 at 12:34 PM  

My hair wasn't growing past my shoulders for 5 years. My dr prescribed me biotin for other reasons and my hair has started growing so fast its part way down my back in 3 months. No noticible effect on nails except they seem to split less.

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