A great number of the women who frequent BlackHairMedia.com are in pursuit of hair information. Whether we are natural, relaxed, loc’d, texturized, weaved, braided, long or short – most of us desire healthy hair above all. One of the universal pieces of the healthy hair puzzle for women (or men) of any race or age is to take care of your body from the inside to see the manifestations outside through your hair, skin and nails. Drink plenty of water, eat a lot of fruit, vegetables and lean protein, and take and remain consistent with vitamin supplements. The first few things are self-explanatory – proper nutrition makes sense, but vitamins? What vitamins should you take? Which will give you the fastest results possible? Which are best for growing long, luxurious locks? Is there a difference in brands? How much should you take? Are there any adverse effects of taking vitamins? There is so much to consider when beginning a vitamin regimen, especially if the overall goal is specifically longer, healthier hair. Many women ascribe to the theory that if one pill is good, two or three pills must be great! However, this is not true and can be a very dangerous approach to dietary supplementation. Arguably the most popular supplement choice for hair growth is biotin (vitamin B7). Dermatologists and self-taught hair experts all agree that biotin (actually all of the B-vitamins) can help treat hair loss and aid in continued and even accelerated hair growth. Biotin’s main role in the body is to act as a co-factor in carboxylation reactions (adding carbon) in many essential metabolic processes including but not limited to synthesizing glucose and fatty acids. The role it plays in hair growth is not very clear, but medical studies have proven it can improve hair loss conditions such as alopecia and dermatitis.
Although most people do not view vitamins as dangerous, a deficiency or an overdose of any vitamin both can cause problems in the body. Biotin specifically is no exception. When obtaining biotin naturally either of these scenarios are pretty rare, most people get a sufficient amount of biotin from their diet but are never in danger of ingesting too much. However when women are trying to accelerate their hair growth, they sometimes take up to five times the recommended dosage on the bottle. Biotin has an average recommended dose of about 30-100 mcg per day, but that varies with age, weight and severity of medical problem. I have seen some women who take biotin, a multivitamin, and a prenatal vitamin all at the same time in efforts to get faster results. Biotin is almost always contained in both prenatals and multivitamins so taking all three can mean you are way above the recommended dosage. While there are no known side effects of biotin toxicity, it is always best to err on the side of caution when taking any type of supplement. There are some shampoos and conditioners that market themselves as “biotin” cosmetics and claim to have great benefits to the hair. There is no research that currently supports the claim that biotin has any advantages when used topically because it is not absorbed readily through the skin or hair. Overall, biotin is a great choice when beginning to take supplements for hair growth. Some women have reported that it has caused cystic acne when taken in high doses, but it seems it varies on a case by case basis. It is always best to seek the advice of a medical professional when beginning any type of supplement regimen. Choose wisely and try not to let your zeal for healthy hair care or your yearning for long hair overshadow your common sense when taking any type of vitamin. Happy hair growing!