It seems there are two kinds of people in health-conscious circles: those that take supplements, and those that do not. People will debate until the cows come home the various benefits or dangers of taking hundreds of different supplements. “Supplements” can be a broad term, too, encompassing everything from protein powder (whey comes from dairy which comes from cows, so it’ll kill ya, dontchaknow?) to vitamins and trace minerals (take your B12, you crunchy vegans, or you’re going to wither away!…actually, though, B12 is critical. Expect another post on that soon…) and even unexpected things like special teas that supposedly help nursing mothers to lactate better (I have absolutely no authority on that subject). I typically fall in the “do not” camp, just because I’m poor and lazy. I’d rather put gas in my car than spend $20 on a multivitamin. When I remember
to grab some from my parents’ cupboard, I’ll take folic acid, collagen (for my crepitis-ridden knees), zinc (notoriously low levels), and a few other goodies. Honestly, it’s something I’m working on. I know I could benefit from taking certain supplements, so it’s a matter of readjusting my budget to account for those and making sure that those I do take are giving me the most for my money.
One supplement I take daily, though, and never hesitate to buy? Biotin.
(Now remember, I’m not a registered dietician or a doctor or anything like that, so this is my experience and my research, meaning it might not be right for anyone else….use good judgment, do your own research, and consult your doctor as needed.)
Biotin is a B-vitamin that is one of the coenzymes that aids in in metabolism of lipids, carbohydrates, and amino acids. In short, it helps your body appropriately use the materials you give it (i.e. food). Biotin also improves the keratin infrastructure of your hair, skin, and nails. This means hair that is stronger and therefore breaks less, making it easier to grow out a healthy mane. Now, I’ve always had pretty thick hair. (If all you saw was my hair, you’d probably think I was Italian or Greek.) But my hair started shedding more than usual in high school, and I’ve been terrified ever since that I have somehow developed male pattern baldness due to a yet-undetected endocrine-dysfunction…and no, I have never shown any sign of actually going bald in the 6 or so years since then, but I have OCD and am prone to neuroses. This is what I do.
Anyway, I’ve taken biotin daily for about the past 8 months. I just have a simple brand – THIS one, to be exact…less than $10 on Amazon – not anything fancy, like organic biotin grown in the Himalayas and sold at Whole Foods for $50 a bottle. Yall know how I feel about Whole Foods. The time I started roughly coincides with the time that I decided I wanted to grow out my hair from the short A-line cut that I’d impulsively gotten last July. My hair has always grown slightly quicker than normal, but that slowed down recently when I started eating fewer animal products. Over the past couple months especially, my diet has become more plant-based, and in spite of that (and the whole shedding thing), my hair still grows fairly rapidly thanks to the biotin supplements. I have photographic evidence for you, in case you’re a skeptical curmudgeon like me.
This is about a month after I cut it, late August 2013. I don’t have a lot of photos of myself, and the only one I could find is some candid my mom apparently took when we were in Squaw Valley. (Translation: Sorry for the creepy photo-of-a-photo.)
I let it grow out a bit…
But when I decided to get it trimmed up after New Year’s, I also got myself some bangs. Thus commenced the debacle now known as The Big BAD Bang of 2014. I spent a couple weeks looking like Spock.
As you can guess, I said, “Aw, hell no,” and started popping biotin pills like it was my business. And by that I just mean I started taking them daily, instead of just whenever I happened to remember once a week. Once my bangs grew out to look normal-ish, I kind of liked them, and until a couple months ago kept trimming them to hit just below my eyebrows.
What do you know, the bangs are grown out (I’ll wave my spirit flag to that) and the length of my hair hits about the middle of my scapula.
One thing I think may also help is the fact that I’ve given up heat styling over the past month. The lazy part of me is loving not having to blow dry my hair anymore, and the vain part of me is loving that my hair is softer and less scarecrow like. Of course, my air-dried hair looks a little scary (my sister told me my hair reminded her of the giant in The Princess Bride), but that’s nothing a good headband can’t hide.
vitamins biotin, kiddos. It’s good for your heart hair.