Are your hair vitamins helping?| Hair Salon 10019 NYC

What to do if your vitamins just arent doing anything? (hair salon 10019)

From soft gels to gummies to capsules, there’s no shortage of dietary supplements claiming to promote healthy hair and nails. Many of them contain biotin, also known as vitamin B7 and vitamin H.

Biotin and other B vitamins do have proven health benefits, helping us break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in the food we eat, says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser.

But most people get the recommended amount—30 mcg a day for most people, 35 mcg for breastfeeding mothers—from foods, including bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, egg yolks, and nuts, according to a review of the research by Donald Mock, M.D., a biotin expert at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Does getting extra amounts of biotin from supplements provide extra benefits in strengthening nails and preventing hair loss? We reviewed the research and spoke to experts to find out.

Do Biotin Supplements Strengthen Nails?

“There is some evidence that taking biotin supplements may help strengthen nails that have one particular condition called brittle nail syndrome, characterized by soft, easily breakable nails that feature vertical splits,” says Jessica Krant, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York and a member of the Consumer Reports medical advisory board.

For example, a 1993 study in the journal Cutis found that people with brittle nail syndrome who took a 2.5 mg daily dose of biotin for six to 15 months experienced a 25 percent increase in nail thickness. An even earlier study, in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, concluded that biotin supplements resolved nail splitting in three out of six patients who took 1 to 3 mg of biotin daily for an average of two months.

But those small studies don’t prove that taking biotin will strengthen the nails of the typical person.

“None of the studies control for diet or lifestyle issues that also would affect the quality of nail growth during the period studied,” Krant says. “Anyone who knows they are participating in a nail health study will likely start protecting their nails and grooming them more regularly, and may even change diet and other lifestyle factors subconsciously,” she says, explaining that these variables make it impossible to determine biotin’s role in changes to the nails. Beauty on the broadway 9-21-2016 hair dna

Do Biotin Supplements Prevent Hair Loss?

“No dietary supplement, including biotin, has been proven to stop hereditary hair loss, or regrow hair,” Krant says.

There is some evidence that biotin may correct hair loss that’s a side effect of certain medications. For example, a 2009 study in the journal Brain Development found that biotin supplements reversed hair loss in rats that had been given an anti-seizure medication called valproic acid. And a 2011 study in the Journal of Child Neurology found that daily doses of 10 mg of biotin administered for three months reversed hair loss in three children who had lost their hair after taking that same drug.

But, says Lipman, “biotin for hair loss has not been studied in any large clinical trials.” In fact, “scientists aren’t clear on exactly how the vitamin affects the body or our cells, or how it might promote nail or hair growth,” he says.

One theory: Medications such as valproic acid, certain gastrointestinal diseases, or eating a diet rich in raw egg whites may cause biotin deficiency. In these cases, boosting biotin levels back to normal may cause improvements.

Is It Safe to Take?

Biotin supplements seem safe, even in doses as high as 200 mg. But they may have one worrying effect: Biotin supplementation can artificially elevate blood levels of thyroid hormones, falsely suggesting that people have a thyroid disorder such as Graves’ disease, according to an August 2016 study in the New England Journal of Medicine. And that can lead to unnecessary and potentially harmful treatment.

What to Do Instead

Excessive water exposure is the most common cause of nail brittleness. To protect your nails, wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when you wash dishes and limit your shower or bath time. Opting for moisturizing hand soap and regularly using hand cream can also help.

If you are losing your hair, review your diet: Skimping on protein can trigger hair loss. And avoid hairstyles and treatments that can damage hair, including braiding, cornrows, tight ponytails, and chemical straightening.

You should also talk to your doctor to rule out underlying causes such as thyroid disease, iron deficiency, or lupus. Your doctor should also review any medications or supplements you take. Some drugs, such as antidepressants and blood thinners, can contribute to hair loss. Note that while some drugs, such as minoxidil (Rogaine and generic) and finasteride (Propecia and generic), can slow hair loss, the effects vary substantially from person to person, and both drugs can cause side effects.

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