The B vitamins, including biotin, are a group of nutrients that work together to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Biotin goes above its metabolic role and keeps your skin, nails and hair healthy. High-dose biotin supplements are often targeted toward men to improve hair structure and minimize hair loss. Although biotin is indeed safe for you to take as a man, it isn’t likely to have specific benefit, no matter how much you take.
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Causes of Low Biotin Levels
Being biotin-deficient isn’t common. Usually it’s associated only with tube feedings, with a rare genetic disorder involving biotin metabolism or with the consumption of raw egg whites for a long period of time, the Linus Pauling Institute explains. Raw egg whites have been shown to bind with biotin, blocking absorption and leading to a deficiency. Because proteins in egg white become denatured when you cook them, if you regularly eat cooked egg whites, they shouldn’t cause a problem.
Signs of Deficiency
Usually hair loss is a typical sign of a severe biotin deficiency, hence the reasoning behind promoting biotin supplementation for men. However, no clear scientific evidence supports the theory that taking biotin alone can stop or reverse hair loss. You might also have a scaly red rash on your face or genital area if your biotin level drops. Depression, low energy levels, a swollen tongue, hallucinations and numbness in the limbs are other warning signs that your biotin level isn’t where it should be.
Possible Benefits for Men
Preliminary research shows that you might be able to reduce hair loss when you take biotin orally alongside the mineral zinc. But you also have to apply a topical cream containing a corticosteroid, called clobetasol propionate, to the affected area, MedlinePlus reports. Or if you have Type 2 diabetes, taking biotin and chromium together could help you manage your blood sugar. However, scientific research to support these claims is ongoing and inconclusive.
Adults only need 30 micrograms of biotin daily, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine established. While you can take a vitamin B complex, biotin supplement or biotin-containing multivitamin supplement that contains higher doses, it isn’t likely to be toxic. Even prescribed therapeutic doses of up to 200,000 micrograms a day haven’t been associated with any issues. Since your body flushes out any extra biotin, it shouldn’t build up in your body and cause side effects if you’re generally healthy. It’s still important to let your physician know if you’re taking biotin, though. The vitamin sometimes interacts poorly with medications.