Hair loss is a common problem that comes with aging. Since biotin deficiency is one of the possible reasons why people experience self-perceived thinning hair, many people eat biotin-rich food and take biotin supplements to regrow the thick, healthy hair in their scalp.
So what biotin dosage do you need to boost hair growth? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t have a recommended dosage for biotin, because the adequate intake is easy to reach without changing much to your diet. But people who use biotin to stimulate hair growth usually take about 2 to 5 mg.
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Hair loss affects about 80 million Americans. It’s a common problem that usually starts during a person’s mid-30s to early 40s. There are several possible reasons for this, such as aging, stress, and heredity. Luckily, there are a few safe and effective ways to fight hair loss and regrow your hair – like increasing the biotin intake.
Biotin (also known as vitamin H or vitamin B7) is included in the vitamin B family. It’s a water-soluble vitamin that helps convert different nutrients into usable energy. It also plays a crucial role in maintaining nail, skin, and hair health. If there isn’t enough biotin in the body, people may experience hair thinning or skin rash.
But before taking biotin for to treat poor hair health, here are important things you should know about the recommendations for biotin dosage first:
The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for biotin since most healthy people take enough of it every day. RDAs also depend on each person’s age, gender, and overall health condition, which is why it varies per patient. According to different estimates, about 30 to 100 mcg per day is an adequate intake for adults over 19 years old.
Healthcare professionals may also discuss a patient’s recommended biotin intake to maximize the vitamin’s benefits. Patients who use it for stimulating hair growth are asked to take about 2 to 5 mg every day to help the body produce thicker and longer hair shafts. They can take the recommended dosage by eating biotin-rich food or taking biotin supplements.
Clinical biotin deficiency is rare, which is why the FDA doesn’t have a recommended intake for this vitamin. However, people who develop this nutritional deficiency often have thinning hair, dry skin, and brittle nails. Some of them might even develop a medical condition like skin rash, conjunctivitis, depression, myalgias, paresthesias, hallucinations, or numbness of the arms and legs.
People who eat a lot of raw egg whites are at risk of developing biotin deficiency because uncooked eggs have avidin, a protein that prevents the body from absorbing biotin. Those who were diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease and other similar conditions don’t produce enough biotin because of the disruption of the biotin-producing bacteria in their intestine.
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Eating more biotin-rich foods doesn’t have any negative health risks for you, but it’s important to always check with a health care professional first before taking new supplements. Biotin therapy doesn’t have known reactions with other medications or supplements, but it’s better to be safe and consult a medical professional.
Since biotin is water-soluble, any extra biotin that isn’t needed in the body is flushed out. This makes overdosing on biotin rare. However, if rashes appear on the skin after increasing biotin intake, see a healthcare provider immediately because this is a symptom of a biotin overdose. To confirm if there’s too much biotin levels in the body, the doctor checks for vitamin C, vitamin B6, insulin production, and blood sugar levels.
According to clinical studies like the one published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, patients can see the results of improved hair growth in as little as 90 days after increased biotin intake.
However, others have to wait for several months to notice improvements. If they increase their dietary intake through biotin-rich food, they have to eat the food daily for several months. But those who take biotin supplements should strictly follow the doctor’s instructions about dosage.
The food you eat every day already has enough biotin that the body needs. But if you plan to stimulate hair growth with biotin, here are some of the best biotin-rich foods to add to a well-balanced diet:
Nuts like almonds are the best source of biotin. 1/4 cup of almonds contains 1.5 mcg of biotin while sunflower seeds have 2.6 mcg. Other kinds of biotin-rich nuts to add to the diet are pecans, walnuts, and peanuts. They’re also enjoyed raw or cooked in different ways – mixed into pasta, tossed into salads, or blended into homemade nut butters.
While raw egg whites inhibit the absorption of biotin, egg yolks are a great source of biotin. An entire cooked egg provides up to 10 mcg. When eating eggs for increased biotin intake, make sure to cook the eggs properly. This minimizes the risk of salmonella poisoning and separates avidin and biotin, allowing the body to absorb more of the biotin the egg contains.
Most of the biotin in the body is stored in the liver, which makes sense why organ meats like the liver are the best source of this water-soluble B vitamin. Patients only need to eat about 3 ounces of cooked beef liver to take about 31 mcg of biotin. Chicken liver is even richer at 138 mcg of biotin for the same serving. Try eating cooked chicken or beef liver with onions, minced into burger patties, or atop pasta dishes.
Avocados are a well-known superfood because they offer tons of health benefits. They contain unsaturated fat and folate, but they’re also a good source of biotin. A medium avocado that roughly weighs about 7 ounces contains around 1.85 mcg of biotin. Avocados are best served raw, mashed onto toasts, slices on top of salads, or stirred into guacamole.
Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants to keep different bodily functions working well. They’re also rich sources of biotin for hair loss – 1/2 cup of cooked sweet potatoes have up to 2.4 mcg of vitamin B7. This is about 8% of the estimated daily intake of biotin.
If you’re not taking enough biotin content from the regular diet, biotin supplements are one way to increase your daily biotin dosage. They’re usually available in a local pharmacy in tablet or capsule forms.
While the FDA already has regulations for health supplements, it’s still important to read the dietary supplement packages carefully and purchase them from trusted suppliers. You should also consult a doctor about the right dosage of biotin depending on the gender, age, and overall health.
Adverse effects are rare for FDA-approved biotin supplements, but some people might still experience potential side effects like diarrhea, nausea, and cramping. Taking nutritional supplements with food helps reduce the risk of developing these complications, but see a primary care physician immediately if the symptoms worsen or persist.
Additionally, you may also consider increasing the intake of other essential vitamins and nutrients for healthier hair growth, such as iron, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc. But if you’re dealing with moderate to severe cases of hair loss, it’s better to consult with a doctor about taking medications like minoxidil or finasteride.
Increasing your biotin intake helps stimulate hair growth, but this might not be enough for people suffering from moderate to severe hair loss. Other treatments that directly address the cause of hair loss might be needed to restore a healthy scalp.
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