Biotin is part of the B Vitamin group and is sometimes referred to as B7. It has such strong ties to hair and skin health, that originally it was called Vitamin H – the H standing for the German words for hair and skin “haar und haut”!
Three reasons Biotin is brilliant
Biotin is involved in many metabolic pathways, in particular, the breakdown of carbohydrates, and the production of glucose, both of which are needed for cell energy. This is super important to your hair as hair cells are the second fastest growing cells your body makes (I.e. they need a lot of energy to grow and keep growing!)
Biotin is also key in the metabolism of amino acids (proteins), which are the building blocks of keratin – the special protein your hair is composed of.
Biotin is instrumental in the breakdown of fatty-acids, which are essential to scalp health. As we always say - a healthy scalp is key to healthy hair!
Does Biotin Deficiency cause hair loss?
While true Biotin deficiency is pretty rare, low Biotin levels can cause significant hair loss, as well as the growth of brittle hair and nails.
You will be more prone to Biotin deficiency if you:
- Are pregnant
- Have an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis
- Have gastro-intestinal issues
- Drink heavily
How do I get Biotin through my diet?
Biotin is water-soluble, which means your body doesn't store it. Because of this, you should consume Biotin daily. Biotin can be found abundantly in animal products like liver, egg yolks, salmon and cheese. Vegan and vegetarian sources include leafy greens, cauliflower, sweet potato, yeast, mushrooms and nuts. A little-known fact is that eating raw egg whites can cause Biotin deficiency. This is because raw egg whites contain a protein called Avidin, which binds to Biotin in the small intestine. If you’re partial to adding raw eggs to your breakfast smoothies in the morning, perhaps opt for another form of protein (or have your eggs scrambled on the side!)
Biotin can also be synthesized by bacteria in your stomach, so a flourishing, healthy gut microbiome is crucial to good Biotin levels in your body. A great way to encourage gut health, and therefore hair health, is to keep a close watch on your stress levels. This is one reason why we talk about and address stress levels during a Philip Kingsley Consultation.
What about Supplements?
At our Clinics in London and New York, we have seen that taking a daily supplement containing Biotin can benefit the hair as part of a wider treatment plan.
To ensure that you’re receiving optimal levels of Biotin, Tricho Complex is a nutritional supplement that contains a combination of vitamins and minerals prescribed on a daily basis at the Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinics to maintain healthy hair. Tricho Complex contains Biotin as well as vital nutrients like Vitamins C, D, and B12, Iron, Calcium, Copper and amino acids all of which are hair energy boosters chosen specifically by our Trichologists. This supplement is suitable for those who follow a gluten free diet. We recommend taking them for a minimum of 12 weeks as it can take 6 to 12 weeks for new hair to grow.
It is important to know that Biotin supplements affect thyroid readings on blood tests. This means taking Biotin shortly before a blood test can give you inaccurate readings of your thyroid hormone levels, such as T3, T4 and TSH. This may lead to a skewed picture of your general health, and incorrect medical diagnosis. To prevent this, stop taking any supplement containing Biotin at least 48hours before a blood test.