LLLT therapy for hair loss only effective in paid studies
30 November 2023 / 8 minutes read /
Despite a lack of evidence, biotin has been touted as the cure for hair loss for several years.
Through online shops such as amazon.com, sugar-sprinkled gummy bears are sold under the controversial name of hair vitamin and carry the promise of longer, stronger and healthier hair.
This promise is based on a 1980 study, but is of little use to anyone. In the normal population, a biotin supplement does absolutely nothing. In this article, we explain why in detail.
Hereditary hair loss is caused by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).¹ A hormone produced as a result of the interaction between testosterone and the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase.
The hormone is present in the prostate and the skin, but also in the hair follicles, where it causes damage. The presence of DHT causes hair follicles to produce thinner and smaller hair, and bald patches gradually appear. A process known by the medical term Androgenetic Alopecia.
Finasteride, a hair loss medicine, stops this process by reducing the amount of DHT by about 70%.² It does this by inhibiting the 5 alpha-reductase enzyme, which causes less testosterone to be converted into DHT.
Unlike finasteride, biotin has no effect on DHT. Do you want to stop hair loss like that? Then taking a biotin supplement is out of the question. Finasteride is a better option in that case. In fact, it is your only option.
As a vitamin, biotin is involved in several biological processes, including the formation of keratin. The protein that forms the basis for building hair and nails.
The role of biotin for hair growth is also evidenced by the 1980 study in which the use of a biotin supplement resulted in hair growth in children who were previously bald.³ The importance of biotin for hair growth is therefore not denied, only its supplementation.
The above study involved children with a biotinidase deficiency. This is a rare genetic disorder in which the body is unable to recycle biotin.
This causes a chronic and severe biotin deficiency and causes symptoms such as hair loss, epilepsy, hallucinations and eye disorders. The disease occurs in 1 in 60,000 people and can lead to death if left untreated.
In people without this genetic defect, severe biotin deficiency is extremely rare. In fact, a serious biotin deficiency has never been diagnosed in the healthy population.⁴ There is good reason for this: you only need 0.030 mg and 50% of it is produced by your own intestinal bacteria.
This means that you only need to get 0.015 mg from your diet. The average British person is far above that and gets 0.035 mg of biotin from their diet. Supplementing more biotin than necessary does not provide any additional benefits. It is unnecessary, useless and a waste of money.
If you thought that taking daily biotin supplements would have no consequences, you are wrong. Excessive amounts of biotin in the blood can interfere with tests using biotin-streptavidin technology.⁵ A test widely used in molecular science.
It also interferes with troponin tests, a test used to diagnose a heart attack. A large amount of biotin causes falsely low troponin results and such diagnoses can be missed. In some cases, this can be fatal.
In the meantime, several countries have issued an official warning to alert doctors and lab staff to this effect. In addition, some manufacturers have modified their equipment to reduce biotin sensitivity, but not all have done so. Including three devices from Siemens.⁶