What is Biotin? Has it been proven to work for hair loss? Can it work for menopause hair loss? What does the science say? The answer might surprise you.

In this review we scrutinise the studies done and answer the question – does Biotin work for menopause hair loss?

Key Takeaways

Biotin is a B vitamin (B7). There is no scientific evidence to support using Biotin for hair loss. There’s plenty of evidence for stronger nails, but for not for hair growth. Please save your money and avoid any products that claim to grow hair with Biotin. It is simply not true. A good quality B multivitamin however, will support the rise in cortisol (stress hormone) that naturally occurs during menopause and support you during times of stress. Jump to Flo Hive picks for B multivitamins HERE.

What is Biotin

Vitamin B7, also known as biotin, plays a vital role in maintaining health. It is essential for metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It is also involved in the production of hormones, cholesterol, and gene-regulating molecules. Biotin is also important for the health of skin, hair, and nails, as well as the nervous and digestive systems.

The recommended daily intake for biotin is 30 micrograms. While lactating women require an additional 5 micrograms, making their total AI 35 micrograms. This might be why some women like to take prenatal vitamins for hair loss – because of the increased biotin they contain.

Biotin is readily available in a Western diet – eggs, salmon, avacado, sweet potato. white mushrooms and almonds are all excellent sources. It is generally accepted that most Western diets provide enough Biotin in food sources.

Signs of Biotin deficiency

Signs of Biotin deficiency include: hair loss, dry scaly skin, cracking in the corners of the mouth, a swollen and painful tongue (glossitis), dry eyes, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia and depression.

You may be experiencing some of the symptoms but that doesn’t mean you are deficient in Biotin.

There can be many causes having the same effect. Thyroid conditions, drop in estrogen and progesterone (aka perimenopause/ menopause!), iron deficiency, Vitamin D deficiency can all result in similar symptoms. It is of course vital to seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner to determine the exact cause.

Several other factors can also lead to a Biotin deficiency. Antibiotics, anti-seizure medications, smoking and over consumption of alcohol can reduce Biotin.

What the science says

The research for Biotin and hair loss is extremely limited. For Biotin and NAILS there is quite a bit. But the truth is for hair – it is pitiful.

The study that is often referred to by Biotin marketing is one that did blood tests.

The study tested Biotin blood levels of 541 women (average age 45) who had hair loss. They found that 38% were deficient in Biotin. And at first glance you might think, well heck that is almost 40%!

But look at it another way, the other women – 62% – didn’t have a Biotin deficiency – and still had hair loss. So clearly for them, Biotin deficiency was not the reason.

Another study to look at was a very small study done in 2012. It too is often used as evidence for Biotin – although it really shouldn’t be!

It was funded by Lifes2good – they make Viviscal. Researchers had 10 women take the product and 5 took a placebo. They were reviewed at 3 months and 6 months. The group taking Viviscal were found to have a 125% increase in terminal hairs.

Given the extremely small sample size and the funding source – we can’t give much weight to the Viviscal study. Only ten women, not reason enough to go out and buy it. Or any other Biotin supplement either.

Interestingly – Viviscal also contains iron at therapeutic levels. It could be that for women who are iron deficient, it works extremely well to address their hair loss – as they were anaemic to begin with!

If there’s no evidence for Biotin, why take it?

Don’t take it if you are not deficient in it. Your doctor can confirm this for you. There is absolutely no need to take Biotin as a part of a hair growth supplement, serum, or liquid. The science does not support it.

The real question is what to take instead and why?

A B vitamin multivitamin – for stress.

The enormous cascade of changes going on in the menopause body can throw your nervous system out of whack. Cortisol levels increase during menopause. One of the best ways to combat this is using B vitamins – they our first line of defence. B vitamins are crucial to supporting your body’s stress response. And over time, over long periods of stress your B vitamins can become depleted.

Stress can exacerbate hair loss. Hearing that just stresses me out more!

Biotin will not grow your hair on it’s own. The whole suite of B vitamins working together to support your body during this time of stress – can reduce hair loss.

B vitamins are like the cars of a cargo train. They work together and move as one to get the job done. It is extremely rare to take them on their own – they need eachother to work best.

Flo Hive recommends women experiencing stress going through menopause – to consider a good quality Vitamin B multivitamin.

For your nervous system (and therefore hair loss), for your energy levels, to address high cortisol in menopause. In fact it is hard to find a reason NOT to take a good quality B multivitamin during menopause.

Good quality B multivitamins for menopause

A good quality B multivitamin includes all the major B vitamins in good amounts – working together in harmony to support the nervous system.

Only good quality B vitamins that manufactured to a high standard and have been tested by the third party (NSF Certified) are ones you should consider. There are quite a few on the market, and our top picks are (and yes, Biotin is in all of them, along with other B vitamins!) –

We recommend products and services based on their research backing, as determined by a review of clinical studies. We receive compensation when readers purchase the products or services we recommend.

Conclusion

There is no robust scientific evidence to support using Biotin for hair loss. There’s plenty of evidence for strong nails, but for hair – well – no. Biotin for menopause hair loss is not recommended. Please save your money and avoid any products that claim to grow hair with Biotin.

A good quality B multivitamin however, will support the rise in cortisol and support the body’s stress response. Stress can induce hair loss. Including other lifestyle changes alongside a B vitamin for stress would also be of benefit. Ensure you are getting regular exercise, a balanced diet (yep, all the boring stuff for menopause), incorporate meditation or a new fun hobby. There are many ways to reduce stress, in conjunction with a B multivitamin.

If you think you may be Biotin deficient your healthcare provider can determine that for you using a blood test. If you are experiencing hair loss then a trip to your doctor is very important. They need to check you don’t have any other underlying conditions or deficiencies (aside from perimenopause) causing your hair loss.

And don’t forget there are many readily available food sources of Biotin as well – eggs, salmon, avacado, sweet potato. white mushrooms and almonds.

References

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-Consumer/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4989391/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509882/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2749064/

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