Can Biotin Help with Hair Loss?
Biotin supplementation is unlikely to help most otherwise healthy patients to combat hair loss. To accomplish that goal, the treatment of choice is finasteride (Propecia), which can stop hair loss in its tracks and stimulate new hair growth.
Biotin has been getting a good deal of press lately as a possible weapon in the fight against hair loss. The nutrient, also known as vitamin B7, is said to help promote the healthy growth and development of hair, skin, and nails.
However, a review of the scientific literature relevant to biotin and its benefits for hair fails to support its use as a hair-loss treatment in otherwise healthy people. While it’s true that biotin, as a member of the B family of vitamins, is water soluble and must be replaced on a daily basis, a deficiency of biotin is extremely rare because the human body requires so little on a daily basis.
Biotin Probably Won’t Hurt
Taking a biotin supplement isn’t going to pose any threat to your health, but it’s probably not worthwhile except for those very few who suffer from a genuine deficiency of the vitamin.
A study published in the March 2019 issue of Dermatology and Therapy points out that the two most common causes of hair loss are androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern balding, and telogen effluvium, which is stress related.
Of the two, androgenetic alopecia is far more common. It occurs when the male hormone testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which slowly but surely miniaturizes hair follicles until they can no longer support hair growth. The catalyst for the conversion of testosterone into DHT is an enzyme known as 5-alpha reductase type 2.
No Evidence of Biotin’s Benefit
The Saudi-U.S. research team responsible for the study said the scientific literature yields no evidence to support the use of biotin to fight either of these major hair-loss diseases.
These findings echo those of an earlier review that also found scant evidence that biotin could help fight the primary causes of hair loss. That earlier review, published in the August 2017 issue of Skin Appendage Disorders, said previous evidence of biotin’s benefits were limited to individuals who had “an underlying pathology for poor hair or nail growth.”
Finasteride Probably Can Help
While biotin supplements will probably do little to combat hair loss in otherwise healthy patients, a far more effective alternative is available. Finasteride, an oral medication also marketed under the brand-name Propecia, fights hair loss by inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase type 2 enzyme and thus lowering levels of DHT, the primary culprit in male pattern balding.
Finasteride is recommended by the American Hair Loss Association as “the first line of attack for all men interested in treating their male pattern baldness.” The association notes that 86 percent of men using the drug during clinical trials were able to halt the progression of hair loss, and 65 percent of those men experienced a significant increase in hair growth.
If finasteride or Propecia seems like a good way to fight hair loss in your particular situation, you might want to consider the convenience of ordering the drug through an experienced online facilitator such as eDrugstore.com. Based in Tempe, Arizona, eDrugstore sells both finasteride and Propecia at competitive prices and offers free shipping. To learn more, visit eDrugstore’s Hair Loss page.