What Is It?
The B Complex Vitamin group is made up of several different B Vitamins, including B5, B6, B12, Biotin, Niacin and Folic acid. B Complex Vitamins are commonly used in products to prevent hair loss and products to regrow hair. But how does this popular vitamin complex work to stop your hair from shedding in clumps and globs? Is there scientific research that proves these effects or are they simply old wives tales making claims that don’t have any real value?
B vitamins all work together-interdependently. This means that all levels of B vitamins need to be sufficient in order for any of them to work properly. Vitamins B6, folic acid, biotin and B12 are all key in maintaining healthy hemoglobin levels in the blood. The blood carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. Therefore, if any of these vitamins are deficient, the hair and the skin will suffer, along with the rest of the body.
Biotin is commonly known as the hair growth vitamin. It is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it needs to be replaced regularly because the body doesn’t store it. Biotin is said to promote hair growth and to prevent dryness. Perhaps its best function in preventing hair loss is that biotin helps the hair to retain elasticity. Elasticity reduces breakage, which allows your hair to grow longer and stronger. Biotin is thought to be effective in preventing male pattern baldness. You can get biotin through your diet by eating foods like beans, breads, fish, liver, meat and dairy products among other things. It is important to note, however, that for all the hype about biotin being essential to healthy hair growth, it is extremely rare for anyone to actually have a biotin deficiency. In other words, biotin helps your hemoglobin and improves oxygen levels throughout your body, so it is logical that it helps your hair grow.
Folic acid is also said to be important in hair growth. Found in nuts and soybeans, folic acid is often found in hair growth products. So, again, folic acid helps hemoglobin levels and improves oxygen levels throughout your body so it is logical that it helps with healthy hair growth.
Niacin helps your promote scalp circulation because it, well, helps your hemoglobin levels carry oxygen throughout your body helping circulation, including your scalp.
Pantothenic acid, Vitamin B5, prevents hair loss. Probably because it promotes hemoglobin levels carry oxygen levels throughout your body, increases circulation and makes your whole body healthier, which helps prevent hair loss.
Are we starting to see a pattern here?
The main reason that B vitamins are heralded as hair loss giants is that they work to promote hemoglobin and strong blood circulation. Good circulation is necessary for hair growth, but it is difficult to find any specific information as to why the individual B vitamins are beneficial. But what about clinical research and studies? How about the FDA? In fact, the FDA provides no information at all in linking B vitamins to hair loss or hair growth. The closest statement I could find regarding hair loss and B vitamins was this one, from the article “ On the Teen Scene: Cosmetics and Reality”, when talking about vitamins: ” Vitamins: Foods containing vitamins A, D, E, K, and some of the B complex group are necessary in diets to maintain healthy skin and hair but, according to Dr. Leshin, “There is no evidence that vitamins or other additives are advantageous when applied to the skin.”
In another clinical study, biotin was found to have no substantial proof that it prevents hair loss or promote hair growth, other than the fact that it (all together now) helps hemoglobin levels and promotes circulation.
Dietary supplementation with biotin has been shown to improve the clinical condition of brittle nails, but no studies have been conducted looking at biotin’s effect on AGA. Although it is true that biotin deficiency can lead to alopecia, such a deficiency has not been demonstrated in healthy humans eating a mixed diet. The only 2 situations in which human biotin deficiency has been demonstrated are in patients with extended consumption of raw egg whites and in patients with malabsorption syndromes receiving parenteral nutrition without biotin supplementation Supplementing the diet with biotin is unlikely to harm a patient, but there is no data to suggest any improvement in hair regrowth.
This is probably obvious: B Complex Vitamins are helpful to promoting healthy hemoglobin and oxygen levels and keep your body healthier, so they improve circulation on your scalp, which can increase hair growth. But, there’s no real evidence that having B Complex Vitamins in a topical shampoo or cream will either prevent hair loss or promote hair growth.