Not all men can grow a full, distinguished beard effortlessly. Fortunately, there are several proposed methods of increasing beard thickness over time.
One potential method is taking biotin (vitamin B7) supplements, which are said to promote hair, skin, and nail health.
This article reviews biotin supplementsâ€™ potential to promote beard growth.
What is biotin?
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, plays a key role in metabolizing protein, carbs, and fats.
Though intestinal bacteria can produce small amounts of biotin, your body cannot synthesize this vitamin on its own, so itâ€™s important to consume it daily.
Additionally, biotin plays a role in the production of keratin, the major protein found in hair, skin, and nails (1).
The current recommended daily adequate intake for biotin is 30 mcg, as established by the Institute of Medicine (2).
Biotin is mainly found in nuts, seeds, bananas, red meat, and cooked eggs (3, 4).
Biotin is a B vitamin that plays an important role in energy metabolism and the production of keratin, the major protein in hair, skin, and nails.
Can it promote facial hair growth?
Considering that biotin plays a role in the production of keratin, the major protein found in hair, you may wonder whether it can aid beard growth.
While data on beard growth in particular is limited, several studies suggest that biotin supplements can improve hair thickness in people with conditions affecting hair growth, such as alopecia, though beard hair is not specifically mentioned (1, 5).
That said, biotin supplements in healthy people have not been associated with any significant improvements in hair growth and may only be beneficial if you were previously deficient in this vitamin (6, 7).
Biotin deficiency is rare and usually due to insufficient levels of the enzymes that regulate biotin levels, such as biotinidase. That said, it may also result from intestinal malabsorption due to chronic antibiotic use or excessive alcohol or raw egg ingestion (8, 9).
Some early signs of biotin deficiency are abnormal hair, skin, and nail changes, whereas a more advanced deficiency may affect your central nervous system, potentially causing seizures and impaired vision (10).
Though supplementing with biotin may not be necessary for a majority of the population, itâ€™s relatively safe, and toxic levels have not been established.
This is because itâ€™s a water-soluble vitamin, and any extra that your body doesnâ€™t need is generally disposed of in your urine.
While its consumption is quite safe, more data is needed to determine the long- term effectiveness of biotin as a beard growth supplement in particular.
While correcting a biotin deficiency with supplements has been shown to promote hair quality and growth, healthy men will likely not benefit from extra biotin, though more data is needed.
Other products containing biotin
In addition to oral biotin supplements, several other products contain biotin, such as face creams, beard oils, and serums.
While biotin can be absorbed through the skin, research is limited and dated. Thus, itâ€™s uncertain whether topically applied biotin promotes beard growth (10, 11).
However, other compounds on the market like minoxidil have been shown to be effective for this purpose (12).
Itâ€™s important to consult a dermatologist for specific recommendations.
Several biotin-containing creams, oils, and serums can be found on the market, though itâ€™s unclear whether topically applied biotin products promote beard growth.
Get it through your diet
Supplementing is not the only way to ensure your biotin intake is up to par.
Various food sources of biotin can help you meet your daily requirements, including (13):
- sweet potato
- beef, chicken, pork
- cheese and cowâ€™s milk
Including these foods in your diet will ensure an adequate biotin intake and prevent the need to supplement in most cases.
Sufficient biotin intake can be achieved through diet alone when certain biotin- containing foods are regularly eaten.
Potential side effects
One potential side effect of supplementing with biotin is its ability to interfere with certain lab tests.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that biotin supplements can affect lab results for troponin levels, an important marker used to diagnose heart attacks (14).
Moreover, supplementing with biotin may affect thyroid hormone test results, potentially resulting in false reports of high levels of T4 and TSH (15).
Additionally, biotin may interfere with some medications, specifically certain anticonvulsant and antipsychotic drugs (16).
Therefore, itâ€™s important to consult your healthcare provider before supplementing with biotin, especially if you have a heart condition.
Though biotin supplements are quite safe, they have the potential to interfere with certain lab tests, causing false readings. They may also interact with some medications.
The bottom line
Biotin is an essential B vitamin that helps turn food into energy and supports the production of keratin, the main protein found in hair, skin, and nails.
If you have a condition thatâ€™s associated with biotin status, such as alopecia or intestinal malabsorption of biotin due to a variety of factors, supplementing with the nutrient may improve hair and beard growth, though it has limited effectiveness in healthy men (9).
While supplementing with this vitamin is popular and quite safe for most people, sufficient biotin intake can be obtained from your diet alone.
Note that biotin can interfere with certain lab tests, so itâ€™s important to consult your healthcare provider before starting to supplement with it.
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