The reviews are in and from what I can tell, there are more negatives than positives. It works for some people and that’s great, but for many other natural black women, it has had adverse effects like nail thinning and acne breakouts and those who were lucky got no results at all.
When you see the photos of the women growing hair down their backs in just months, it can be tempting to try. Especially when it’s being touted as”natural vitamins”. But in reality, there’s nothing natural about biotin pills or any other pill vitamin you find on shelves today.
Biotin is a Vitamin So How Isn’t it Natural?
True, biotin is a vitamin and very beneficial for your hair nails. However, the way it was put into the little pills you find in those bottles is as unnatural as a relaxer, but worse, because you’re inserting it into your body.
The process synthetic vitamins go through to be placed into those pills is called isolation. This is when a scientist in a lab extracts certain vitamins from its original source (food) to be placed in the pill. To give you an idea of how detrimental it is to the nutrient — imagine ripping out a heart and then expecting it to continue doing what it did while it was inside of the body. Not going to happen.
Once the vitamin is extracted, it no longer has it’s home, which hosted essential co-factors and transporters that allowed it to do what it does. So what’s left behind is the carcass of the vitamin, which is able to stimulate a cell’s metabolism, but isn’t able to provide it with the much-needed quality elements that were left behind in the plant it was ripped out of.
When people intake these isolated vitamins, the body treats it as a toxin. And for those with decent immune systems, side effects show up, which is why a lot of people witness breakouts and other problems when taking biotin. Some say adding zinc to their diet helps to prevent the breakouts, which goes into another reason why isolated vitamins are counterproductive: every vitamin and mineral needs other vitamins and minerals to help it behave properly within your body. I’ll discuss this later on.
Nature Offers the Best Chemistry for Our Bodies
Everything about nature is perfect in its own way. Everything has its purpose, and rarely will you ever find a product of nature that isn’t made up of hundreds, if not thousands of other components.
Vitamins and minerals are not standalone, they all consist of co-enzymes, enzymes, other vitamins/minerals, etc. that all work together synergistically to provide your body with the nutrients it needs. Vitamins that are within their natural source absorb into your body easily and aren’t rejected by your immune system.
So obviously, the best place to get your source of biotin or any other vitamin/mineral is from nature itself, which comes in the form of food and herbs. If you want an extra boost in a particular vitamin, the you need to eat more of the foods that have it. Simple as that. But as I mentioned earlier, all vitamins and minerals have counterparts they need to perform optimally.
How Vitamins Work Together in the Body
Now, to discuss why biotin, or any other vitamin tablet, should not be consumed on its own. Nature was designed for everything to work together harmoniously, and that’s the only time when you get desirable results. By taking the correct vitamins and minerals along with biotin (from their natural sources), you get optimum results and no side effects.
Here’s to give you a better idea of the synergy between vitamins and minerals:
- Calcium can’t be absorbed by the bones unless you have sufficient vitamin D. You also need fluoride, phosphorous, magnesium and potassium to build strong bones.
- Iron can’t be absorbed by your body unless you have sufficient copper and vitamin C.
- When you are iron deficient, your body is unable to properly distribute nutrients throughout your body. So to benefit from your intake of vitamins and minerals, you have to make sure your iron levels are stable.
As for biotin, it’s required that you also take B2, B3, B5, B6, folate, chromium, magnesium and manganese for it to provide you with the hair and nail benefits you seek. Before you think you can just take a multi-vitamin that has everything — keep in mind that these too are isolated vitamins and are just as unhealthy (scientifically proven).
But they Say You Need High Dosages Which Aren’t Found in Nature
There’s a reason why it isn’t found in nature. Because it’s unnecessary. This is the only time in history where we have so many ill people, yet we are supposedly scientifically and medically advanced. This is because science goes against nature, and nature is what we are. So everything about our food and medicine goes against our health.
The body is a regulator, and a great one at that. It is able to determine how much of what your body needs and give it to the areas that need it. All you have to do is consume it in a way that will allow your body to do that (food). This can’t be done when you’re taking biotin and other vitamins in excess doses (i.e. 5,000mcg) and in the form of chemical pills. In fact, taking excess doses is just as detrimental to your body as not having the mineral at all.
It causes an imbalance in your body (likely why people suffer from breakouts) and has even been linked to increased chances of cancer and other lifestyle diseases. Your body is highly capable of giving your body exactly what it needs, even with small doses. You take a look at people who eat a high nutrition diet and you see that they have no issues with hair thinning, hair fall, brittle nails, acne and so on. They aren’t popping any pills.
Indian women are a perfect example because many of them have stuck with their traditional diets of mostly vegetation (fruits, grains and veggies), and have thick long hair to show for it. The same goes for certain parts of Africa (yes, African women do grow long hair) who have maintained healthy diets and stood away from Western culture. Again, no pill poppin’.
Let’s further point out why taking high doses of vitamins and minerals isn’t good:
- Excess vitamin E can cause coronary diseases and loss of bone mass
- Excess iron can lead to mitochondrial malfunction
- Excess folic acid can result to heart attacks and high cholesterol
- Excess beta-carotene can overwhelm cellular receptors, which will disable them from metabolizing necessary complimentary nutrients needed to allow
- beta-carotene to do its job.
Your body was designed in sync with nature, so it only makes sense that you not stray away from it. Because when you do, you only get adverse effects. Here is an article and studies that prove synthetic vitamins are unhealthy.
Where to Get Biotin Naturally
The great thing about food is that it’s difficult to overdose on it. Your body can easily digest whatever isn’t needed and use the rest. Here’s a list of the foods that your hair will love:
- Acai berry
- Amla (aka amalaki or gooseberry)
- Irish moss
- Garbanzo beans
- Tongkat Ali
If you’re looking for a great source of natural multi-vitamins:
- Irish moss and bladderwrack (provides you with over 90 of the 102 minerals your body needs)
- Moringa leaf (high in vitamin c, iron and more)
- Hemp (great source of protein and omegas)
- Horestail (high in silica, promotes bone health)
- Spirulina (offers a complete protein, along with other nutrients)
A Healthy Body Equals Healthy Hair
If you truly want to grow healthy hair, you have to maintain a healthy body. How can you expect something good to come out of something bad? It’s essential that you not only eat more fruits and veggies, but high-nutrition superfoods like moringa, boabab, spirulina, Irish moss and bladderwrack. Taking these in your daily smoothies will give you more nutrition than any fruit or vegetable can provide (hence why they’re considered superfoods). So if the supplement or vitamins you are considering buying doesn’t have foods listed in the ingredients, put it back and keep it moving!
Are you having issues with hair thinning, balding or stunted growth? What have you tried to fix it and what were your results?
Great great article! Something always seemed off to me about Biotin vitamins. Even prenatal vitamins didn't do well with me when I was pregnant. There should be no reason these "vitamins" make me sick if they're "healthy" for me. I appreciate you shedding light on this topic and I wish more people would look to nature instead of quick manufactured products. *end rant* I do highly recommend bee pollen as a natural vitamin– I can even give it to my 1 year old son.
I agree! Since I went all-natural, I stopped using prenatal vitamins. Had three healthy babies making my own "prenatal" smoothies. 🙂