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Should You Take Biotin For Beard Growth?

As beard culture continues to grow in popularity both here in the U.S., and around the world, so too has interest in products that can help to increase beard growth and thickness.  

Amongst the various beard growth products currently available here in America, biotin, in particular, has gained a considerable amount of attention as a potential beard growth agent.  

But what exactly does science have to say when it comes to the efficacy of taking biotin for beard growth?  Is there any real evidence that a biotin supplement might be beneficial when it comes to the overall health and appearance of your beard?

What is Biotin?

Biotin, which is also known as vitamin B7, is a naturally occurring coenzyme involved in a variety of different metabolic pathways in humans.(1)  In addition to aiding in the metabolism of things like fatty acids and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), biotin also plays an important role in the body’s production of keratin -- the predominant type of protein found in your hair and nails.  

As an essential nutrient, your body can’t produce biotin on its own, and instead must obtain it from dietary sources.  In addition to being found in foods like milk, eggs, grains, and nuts, biotin is also available as a dietary supplement.(2)

Currently, organizations like the National Institute of Health recommend that healthy adults consume at least 30 micrograms of biotin in their daily diets in order to support their overall health and well being.

While researchers estimate that biotin deficiencies are relatively rare, certain factors like a poor diet and high alcohol intake can significantly increase the likelihood of having a deficiency, which can be detrimental to your health in multiple ways.(3) (4)   

Biotin Benefits

As such, most of the research involving biotin supplementation has tended to focus on its effects in individuals with conditions that can cause deficiencies or pathological abnormalities.  While these studies have produced some promising findings, to date, studies involving healthy adults are still lacking.  

With that being said, preliminary evidence from several clinical trials involving patients with brittle nail syndrome suggests that taking a biotin supplement can significantly improve the firmness and hardness of your fingernails.(5)(6)(7)  

Other research involving those with skin disorders like dermatitis has also found that regularly consuming a biotin supplement lead to significant improvements in the overall health and appearance of participants’ skin.(8)(9)  

But amongst the relatively limited number of clinical trials that have been conducted up until this point, the most prosing findings related to biotin supplementation come from trials involving hair growth.  

Biotin For Beard Growth: Does it Work?

Several studies have explored the therapeutic effects of biotin supplements on individuals with hair growth-related disorders like alopecia.  To date, most research has demonstrated positive findings, though facial hair, in particular, is not something that is explicitly addressed in any of the studies.(10)(11)

One 2017 review looked at 18 different clinical trials involving individuals with some kind of underlying pathology for poor hair growth. (12) The researchers ultimately found that amongst those with deficiencies and pathological abnormalities, biotin supplementation had a significant effect on several factors related to hair growth and overall health.   

For example, studies involving individuals with uncombable hair syndrome (a relatively rare disorder that affects hair growth) have consistently found that 3 - 4 months of taking a biotin supplement can significantly improve hair health and growth.(13)(14)

While the body of evidence continues to grow, it’s important to point out that up until this point, research involving healthy adults is underdeveloped, which makes it a little more difficult to say for sure just how effective biotin supplements are when it comes to improving beard growth in the average male.   

Are There Any Side Effects?

Organizations like the National Institue of Health have concluded that biotin is likely safe when consumed orally. There’s no evidence of toxicity even at high dosages and to date, the vast majority of studies involving human participants have demonstrated that biotin was well-tolerated with no adverse effects being reported.(15)

High Doses Can Interact With Lab Tests

The one potential side effect that the NIH does note is that taking biotin supplements can potentially interfere with a number of different blood-based lab tests.   

 More specifically it can cause false readings in your bloodwork leading to confusing or misleading results, which at the end of the day, can make it much more difficult for your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis.   

For example, there have been multiple cases in which biotin supplements were found to cause falsely low results on a troponin test (a heart attacks diagnosis test), in patients who later experienced a myocardial infarction.    In other instances, people have also been mistakenly diagnosed with diseases like Graves disease and severe hyperthyroidism due to having a high biotin intake.(16)  

That’s why it’s especially important to tell your doctor about any kind of biotin supplement you’re taking if he/she wants you to have bloodwork done; you may ultimately need to stop taking biotin in order to assure that your blood test results are reliable.    

Should You Take Biotin for Beard Growth?

Evidence from clinical trials does seem to suggest that regularly supplementing with biotin can in fact help to improve hair growth in individuals with deficiencies.  So particularly if you’re someone with an underlying condition that affects your biotin levels, taking a biotin supplement can likely help with beard growth.  

Because most human trials have involved individuals with biotin deficiencies, it’s a little more difficult to say where or not supplementing with biotin can still lead to the same effects healthy adults.  However, there is likely little risk involved in taking a biotin supplement for beard growth, regardless of whether or not you have a deficiency.    

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How Much Should You Take?

While there’s not a standardized dosage recommendation when it comes to taking biotin for beard growth, studies suggest that as little as 3 -5 mg per day may be enough to support healthy hair growth, especially in those with deficiencies.  

With that being said, research findings suggest that there is likely little risk involved even at high dosages (200 mg per day), so there’s a considerable amount of room to experiment.(17)

Wrap Up

Biotin (AKA vitamin B7) is an essential nutrient that amongst other things, plays an important role in the body’s production of keratin -- the most abundant type of protein found in human hair.  

Although research on the topic is still developing, there is a growing body of evidence that biotin may help to improve (facial) hair growth in individuals with deficiencies.  

While it’s difficult at this point to say whether or not the same effects can be expected in the average, everyday man, there is likely little to no risk involved in supplementing with biotin, even at high dosages.  

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