Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Biotin - for Better Hair?

Yesterday I went to the hairdresser. I only go once every ten weeks so when there are changes he really notices them. He said that my hair is growing faster and getting thicker. My eyebrows seem to be bulking up too, a good thing because I pretty much plucked them to death in my teens. We were trying to figure out what could be causing these differences and I finally decided it was the biotin I had been taking for a month or two for my fingernails. 

 As a child I had terrible-looking nails; they would constantly break or peel off in layers. For a while I took Knox gelatin, which helped some, but I got bored and gave it up. A few years back, when I increased my protein intake, my nails got a lot better but more recently they'd been getting worse again, snagging on sweaters and breaking off for no reason. I read in a couple of places that biotin might help so I bought some from Target. The pills were 1000mg each, which seemed like a lot since I’m already taking a B-complex supplement, so I’ve been taking half a pill each day. It’s too early to tell about the nails--they take about three months to grow out--but the hair seems to be benefitting from this regimen. 

Biotin is a B-complex vitamin (vitamin B7) that is involved in various metabolic processes and may help to stabilize blood sugar. Deficiency is rare but there are a number of conditions (including being elderly and being an athlete) that can increase a person’s need for biotin. This nutrient is water soluble so the body just excretes what it doesn’t need. I haven’t had hair loss, dermatitis, or any of the other unpleasant symptoms of a serious biotin deficiency. On the other hand, it looks as though my body is making good use of the extra I’ve been giving it recently so maybe my level was a little bit low.

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