Can biotin treat hair loss after pregnancy? Does biotin prevent hair loss while breastfeeding? And what on earth is biotin anyway?!
I’m a mother of three and my hair fell out for all three kids. Third time round my hair loss has been a lot more dramatic, and I’ve been the butt of many jokes from my balding brother. After a recommendation from a reader friend (thank you Laura from NYC!) I started taking biotin.
What is biotin?
Biotin is also known as vitamin H. It’s essential for healthy hair, eyes and nails, so if you buy a hair and nails multi vitamin formula, chances are there’s biotin in it. Biotin is often touted as a miracle cure for hair loss while breastfeeding.
Does breastfeeding cause hair loss?
Nope, breastfeeding doesn’t cause hair loss. Hair loss is due to a totally normal hormonal shift and shows up mostly around three months after giving birth.
The only issue is that biotin is water soluble and you pass it in your urine and through your breast milk. So if you’re breastfeeding, it can be good to take a biotin supplement to compensate.
What are the side effects of taking biotin?
It’s really important to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking anything new, especially if you’re breastfeeding. As I learnt the hard way, there are fakes out there, and even the genuine article might not be good for you personally.
Also be careful if you’re taking a multi vitamin blend that the other vitamins alongside biotin are OK while breastfeeding too.
Personally, I was really scared to take any supplements while nursing my baby, and held off for the first few months after Annabelle was born because I didn’t understand what biotin was.
Biotin is safe to take during breastfeeding. The only side effect I understand is that taking a biotin supplement might change the taste of your milk. And if you’re having any lab tests done, the biotin in your system could screw with the results.
Is it possible to overdose on biotin?
The US recommended dietary allowance for adults (including pregnant women) is 30 micrograms daily, while for breast-feeding women it’s 35 micrograms.
I take one tablet daily with 45 micrograms, so a little more than the RDA.
Biotin is water soluble (put bluntly: you pee it out) so it’s unlikely you could overdose, but like any supplements, read the label and check with your pharmacist.
Where can I find biotin naturally in foods?
You can find biotin in brewer’s yeast, egg yolks, nuts, beans, black-eyed peas, whole grains, cauliflower, bananas and mushrooms.
As it’s one of those darn water soluble vitamins, overcooking can kill it. Go for non processed ingredients, eat as fresh as possible and don’t over cook.
Does biotin prevent hair loss while breastfeeding?
Yes and no.
Since I’ve started taking biotin, my hair and nails are definitely stronger. My nails were flaking and snapping off, but after three months of taking biotin, they’re definitely better. But let’s not be under any illusion, my nails were always brittle, and now they’re just less so.
My hair feels stronger for sure, but as for new hair actually growing back, I reckon this is a natural process. For all three of my children, I saw my hair grow back when they reached around six months old.
The only difference will be that this time my hair will grow back stronger, I hope.
Biotin for your baby
Baby Annabelle was born with pretty yucky cradle cap. Cradle cap is harmless and would go away on its own I understand, but I reckon it’s no coincidence that after a few weeks of taking biotin her cradle cap disappeared completely.
For more on your baby’s health while breastfeeding, there are very few sites I trust. My go to is Kelly Mom, which features balanced, scientifically led articles.
The verdict: is biotin worth it?
Yes. Biotin isn’t expensive. It’s safe during breastfeeding. It has really helped my nails. And best of all, it cleared up my baby’s cradle cap.
But it’s not a miracle cure for hair loss. My nails have improved much more than my hair.
It’s a holistic thing and while biotin on its may help, it isn’t a cure all for me.
My hairdresser has switched my shampoo, conditioner and treatment, I’ve invested in some better hair styling tools and I’m looking into other supplements like Omega 7 and collagen too. I doubt you’ll see me on any shampoo billboards soon but still, watch this space…
Have you tried biotin? Or do you have any other tips? Leave me a comment in the box below…