Biotin is a vitamin and popular supplement renowned for boosting hair growth.
Though the supplement isn’t new, its popularity is growing — particularly among men who wish to promote hair growth and stop hair loss.
However, little is known about biotin’s role in hair health and whether this supplement can truly help.
This article explores available research to tell you whether biotin can help men grow hair and if there are any risks of taking the supplement.
Biotin, or vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that belongs to the vitamin B family (1).
It’s responsible for many metabolic functions in your body — particularly for converting food into energy (1).
Moreover, it’s important for maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails. In fact, it’s also known as vitamin H, which stands for “Haar und Haut,” meaning “hair and skin” in German (2).
Biotin is found in many foods, such as egg yolks, liver, cauliflower, mushrooms, soybeans, beans, lentils, almonds, nuts, and whole grains. It’s also widely available in supplement form, either by itself or combined with other vitamins and minerals (3, 4).
In addition, it’s naturally produced in your body by intestinal bacteria, making it easy to attain healthy levels (4).
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that belongs to the vitamin B family. It’s responsible for many functions in your body and is well known for its role in hair and skin health.
Certain groups may be at higher risk of mild deficiency of the vitamin, such as children and pregnant women, those who misuse alcohol, and people with a biotinidase deficiency — an enzyme that releases free biotin into your body (3, 4).
Furthermore, regularly consuming raw egg whites can lead to secondary biotin deficiency. Raw whites contain the protein avidin, which prevents biotin absorption. Therefore, be sure to cook egg whites before eating them (5).
Biotin deficiency is rare among healthy individuals since the nutrient is widely found in foods and is produced by your body. Pregnant women, children, people who misuse alcohol, and those with a biotinidase deficiency may be at higher risk.
Many people swear by biotin supplements to promote hair growth, though this connection is controversial.
General hair growth
Biotin levels that are too low can lead to poor hair growth and hair loss. However, considering that most people have adequate levels, adding more to your diet through supplements likely won’t help (7).
In a 2017 review, biotin supplements were found to increase hair growth in those with an underlying deficiency of the nutrient. However, due to the rarity of this deficiency, the authors concluded that these supplements aren’t effective for the general population (9).
Beyond this, there’s no evidence to support that biotin supplements promote hair growth.
Male pattern baldness
Male pattern baldness, or male androgenetic alopecia (MAA), is the gradual loss of hair on the scalp. With 30–50% of men experiencing some degree of MAA by the age of 50, many are looking for ways to prevent further hair loss (10).
In a 2019 review, researchers found that men with MAA had slightly lower levels of biotin than those with no hair loss. However, the difference wasn’t significant enough to indicate a direct link between biotin and MAA (11).
Besides this review, there appear to be no clinical studies on biotin supplements and male hair thinning, though there are some studies in women (12).
One double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 30 women with perceived hair thinning found that supplementing with a marine protein supplement containing an undisclosed amount of biotin significantly improved hair growth and volume after 90 days (13).
Though promising, it’s unknown if the participants had an existing biotin deficiency and if the same results would be found in men (13).
In addition, the supplement contained other nutrients known for promoting hair growth like amino acids, zinc, and vitamin C, so it’s unclear if biotin affected the results (13).
Therefore, it’s likely that supplementing would only be warranted in those with a biotin deficiency, though more research is needed.
If you’re experiencing hair loss, it’s best to speak with a healthcare professional to determine if there are any underlying causes.
Limited research supports that biotin supplements aid hair growth, especially in those without an existing deficiency of the nutrient.
Though there are no known side effects of excess biotin, there are other significant concerns with biotin supplements.
False laboratory tests
This technology is commonly used in tests that measure vitamin D, hormone, and thyroid levels. In fact, biotin has been found to interfere with the diagnosis of Graves’ disease and hypothyroidism (14, 15, 16).
Therefore, if you’re taking a biotin supplement and receive any diagnostic tests, it’s important to tell your healthcare provider.
Biotin is known to interact with certain medications. For instance, seizure medications like carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), primidone (Mysoline), and phenobarbital (Luminal) may lower levels of this vitamin in your body (1).
Though there aren’t many known drug interactions with these supplements, it’s best to disclose any supplements you’re taking with your healthcare provider.
High levels of biotin can interfere with numerous diagnostic tests, leading to false results. Be sure to speak with your healthcare provider if you’re taking these supplements.
Biotin is a popular supplement advertised as a way to grow healthy hair.
Though hair loss is a side effect of biotin deficiency, the majority of the population has adequate levels of the nutrient because it’s widely available in food and is produced in your body.
Though sales are skyrocketing, only limited research supports taking biotin supplements for hair growth — especially in men.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a solution for healthier hair, it’s best to skip these supplements and opt for biotin-rich foods instead.