If you’ve ever browsed the hair care aisle or searched for the best supplements for hair growth online, you’ve probably come across biotin. Although this B vitamin has a solid reputation for combatting hair loss and keeping hair healthy, unfortunately its benefits tend to be overhyped.
Find out what biotin actually does to support hair, how much of it you need, and other supplements to consider.
What Triggers Hair Growth in Men & Women?
Hair growth is divided into four distinct stages: anagen (growth), catagen (transition), telogen (rest), and exogen (shedding). A variety of factors regulates how your hair moves into and out of these stages, including vascular, endocrine, and neural stimuli.1
Factors influencing hair growth include:
- Genetics: Your genes play a significant role in how quickly your hair grows (and how quickly it falls out).
- Age: Studies show that hair grows fastest when you’re between the ages of 15 and 30 before starting to slow down.2 Some follicles will stop working altogether as you grow older.
- Sex: Male hair is thought to grow faster than female hair.
- Nutrition: Vitamins and minerals from food impact the hair growth cycle and cellular turnover. These include the B vitamins (hence biotin’s reputation), along with vitamins C, D, and E, iron, zinc, selenium, and keratin. Foods containing omega-3s are also important for hair growth.
- Hormones: Androgens, such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), are key factors in converting fine vellus hairs (or peach fuzz) into terminal hairs (stronger, thicker, darker hair). For this reason, hormonal imbalances are a major contributing factor to hair loss.
What is Biotin & Does It Really Work?
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that has a number of key functions in the body. It supports metabolism, gene regulation, cell signaling, and protein synthesis. It also plays a role in keratin production, which explains its contribution to healthy nail and hair growth.3
Though biotin does support healthy hair, taking a supplement in hopes to minimize loss and encourage new growth may not yield the results you’re hoping for. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, there is limited evidence that it promotes hair growth or quality in otherwise healthy patients.4 In fact, they only deem it necessary in cases of congenital and acquired cases of biotin deficiency.
This doesn’t mean that taking a biotin supplement is pointless. If you are not getting enough of this B vitamin from your diet, taking a nutritional supplement can address this gap. But, too often, supplements contain too much biotin. The recommended daily intake is 30 mcg, though some supplements contain upwards of 10,000 mcg. Not only does this excess biotin typically get excreted through urine, but it is also more likely to cause side effects like insomnia and excess thirst.5
Alternatives to Biotin for Hair Growth
Biotin gets a lot of fanfare when it comes to growing healthy hair, but there are so many other vitamins, minerals, and lifestyle habits that are just as important, if not more important, when it comes to hair growth. Read on to find out what supplement is better than biotin (or equal to its power) below.
Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12
Biotin is just one of several B vitamins that affect hair growth. The others, including folic acid, pantothenic acid, and niacin, all play a crucial role in promoting proper blood circulation and the generation of red blood cells. These processes are vital for delivering essential nutrients to hair follicles and supporting the hair growth cycle. You can easily get your B vitamins from fish, poultry, seeds, eggs, legumes, dairy products, and leafy greens.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are a vital part of your cell membranes, helping all the cells in your body function properly.6 When it comes to hair growth, studies show that omega 3s help move hair into its active growth phase while promoting the types of cells that control hair follicle growth.7 There is some evidence that supplementing with omega 3s may also slow hair loss and improve overall hair thickness.8 Omega 3s can easily be found in food sources like fatty fish, flaxseed, walnuts, and edamame.
UnTangled Hair Supplement
Foundation Skincare’s UnTangled Hair Supplement includes proven ingredients to stimulate hair growth through a custom blend of vitamins, minerals, herbs and acids. Including the recommended 30 mcg of biotin along with iron, zinc, selenium, B vitamins, and vitamins C, D, and E, the dermatologist-formulated daily supplement helps to revitalize a stagnant hair growth cycle by increasing the production of keratin in follicles for visibly thicker, fuller hair. Along with these key vitamins, UnTangled Hair Supplement also contains marine collagen, saw palmetto, and horsetail extract to support hair growth and protect hair follicles. Saw palmetto, specifically, helps to block the DHT hormone, which is associated with hormonal hair loss. In addition to reducing hair loss and encouraging new growth, UnTangled Hair Supplement visibly improves hair fullness and strength, making it less vulnerable to breakage.
Iron is necessary for maintaining healthy blood, oxygenating the body, and supporting a healthy immune system. It is also one of the best supplements for hair growth. Iron carries oxygen directly to hair follicles, which can boost growth and improve hair strength.9 Hair loss can also be caused by iron deficiency, so taking an iron supplement or eating iron-rich foods can help prevent this type of hair loss. Some ways to obtain iron from your diet include eating spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green beans, poultry, and pumpkin seeds.
Studies indicate that zinc is an essential coenzyme with important functional activities in the hair follicle. It supports normal cellular function while inhibiting hair follicle regression and accelerating hair follicle recovery.10 While zinc supplements are readily available, you can also find this important mineral in red meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, whole grains, and eggs.
Foundation Skincare’s Hair Serum
Like FS UnTangled Hair Supplement, Foundation Skincare’s Hair Serum provides a custom blend of proven ingredients that can encourage new hair growth and minimize hair loss through topical application. The serum also contains saw palmetto along with other key nutrients like Capixyl, a peptide that prevents hair miniaturization, menthol, which protects the hair shaft, and Stimucap, which reduces hair loss. For best results, use FS UnTangled Hair Supplement and FS Hair Serum together, which will provide everything you need to stimulate, accelerate, and repair a stagnant hair growth cycle from the inside and out.
Healthy Diet & Workout Routine
Do not underestimate the power of a healthy lifestyle when it comes to supporting hair growth. Almost all the vitamins and minerals mentioned above can be obtained from a well-rounded diet, which provides your body with the nutrients it needs to produce keratin and maintain the health growth cycle. Exercise can also impact your hair by lowering inflammation and stress and encouraging better circulation, which supports your follicles with oxygen and essential nutrients.
Adding the vitamins and minerals mentioned above to your routine doesn’t have to be complicated. Taking FS UnTangled Hair Supplement will provide you with almost all the nutrients on this list along with a few extras proven to help your hair grow faster, fuller, and stronger. Combine this product with FS Hair Serum, a well-rounded diet, and a regular exercise routine, and your hair and body will thrive. Keep in mind that taking early action before you see hair loss gives you the best chances of maintaining healthy hair. Whether you have a full head of hair or you’re noticing the first signs of thinning, being proactive now may help you prevent hair loss down the line. Find out more about how to support your hair and your skin in the FS Journal.