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While biotin supplementation can certainly help with hair growth, most cases of hair loss are not actually caused by a biotin deficiency. The effectiveness of biotin for this purpose has not been established; however, it may be worth a try since the vitamin is relatively safe.
Biotin (vitamin B7) is a water-soluble vitamin. It is sometimes known as vitamin H. This vitamin is often claimed to be useful for stimulating hair growth or for treating hair loss. However, there is little scientific evidence to support such claims.
A biotin deficiency can cause hair loss (known medically as alopecia) and that treating a deficiency can help restore normal hair growth. However, biotin deficiencies are quite rare. The body needs only a tiny amount, and many foods contain it. Also, the intestinal flora (the microorganisms that live in the digestive tract) produce biotin that the body can use, and the vitamin is "recycled" in the body.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that biotin can stimulate hair growth or treat hair loss in people with normal levels.
If you have a deficiency, biotin could help to stop hair loss and stimulate hair growth. However, most cases of hair loss are not caused by a deficiency, and it is unlikely that hair loss would be the only symptom. Other signs are often experienced as well, such as:
- Red, scaly facial rash
- Unusual sensations (such as pricking or burning) of the hands or feet.
Most people may be able to meet their biotin requirement through food. However, higher intakes may be recommended in certain situations, such as:
- Biotinidase deficiency (a genetic disorder)
- Chronic use of certain seizure medications or antibiotics (see Biotin Drug Interactions)
- Consumption of large quantities of raw egg whites, which contain a substance that causes biotin depletion
- Kidney dialysis
- IV feedings (known as total parenteral nutrition or TPN) that do not contain biotin.