Some say I’m dramatic sometimes. However, for most women and men, just thinking that they are losing more hair than normal is something to be dramatic. For women, our hair is considered our crown and glory. For men, well, let’s just say a full head of hair can be your “calling card.” When your bathtub drain starts to look like a furry little monster has sprung up, you may or may not have reason to worry. Just don’t panic.
Not all hair loss is a sign of baldness. Twice in my life I have noticed that I was losing more than the usual number of strands of hair. However, two urgent visits to my dermatologist revealed that I was NOT going bald.
What caused my temporary hair loss? The first time I experienced hair loss, it was stress related. Too many major life changes happening at the same time, combined with my body adjusting to the birth control pill, resulted in excessive hair loss. The solution was easy: over time, my body would adjust and balance. The doctor indicated that there was nothing to worry about since I had been growing new hair all the time. (New hair growths are those fine hairs you see sprouting from your scalp!) He was right. In the following weeks my hair loss returned to normal.
The second episode of hair loss, many years later, was caused by cutting my calories over a period of about two months. This was another easy fix. My dermatologist recommended a daily multivitamin along with 1000 mcg of biotin. He said it would take about a month to take effect. It worked.
The bottom line is don’t panic. The normal amount of hair loss is 150 to 200 strands of hair per day; give or take a little each way. If you notice more hair than usual on your brush or in your shower drain, see a dermatologist. With blood tests you should be able to detect the culprit. There are many temporary causes of hair loss that can be remedied. Some causes of temporary hair loss are intense stress, recent weight loss, iron deficiency, and thyroid problems. It is also interesting to note three areas where an actual biotin deficiency can occur. They are (1) long-term use of anti-seizure medications (2) long-term use of oral antibiotics, and (3) prolonged period of consumption of raw egg whites.
I have continued to take biotin for several years. My hair is very thick, shiny and healthy. People have even commented on how healthy my hair and skin look. There is no secret here. Biotin has also been shown to benefit the skin and nails. So all the credit goes to this wonderful vitamin from the “B” family, also known as vitamin “H” or vitamin “B7”. It is also sometimes known as coenzyme “R.” This vitamin is also known to play a role in alleviating depression and may improve blood sugar control in diabetics.
The USDA recommends an Adequate Intake Level (Al) of 30 mcg for adults 19 years and older; lactating women 35 mcg. Since pregnancy can lower biotin levels, the mother may need an additional amount. Biotin is a water-soluble and non-toxic vitamin. Even at doses higher than 2500 mcg (treatment for a specific condition), there are no known side effects. However, it is always advisable to consult with your personal physician to ensure that an elevated biotin level will not interfere with your specific health condition or medication. If you want more information, I recommend going to the USDA “National Agricultural Library” to read their biotin study found in Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Acid pantothenic, biotin. , and Choline (1998), Chapter 11 Biotin. The study is fascinating.
Remember to enrich your diet daily with foods rich in biotin. Some foods that contain higher amounts of biotin are cooked egg yolks, liver, yeast, beef, chicken, peanuts, oats, walnuts, peas, and brown rice.
My last words are: don’t panic. Many of us will lose hair at various times in our lives for various reasons. In many cases it is not permanent. Remember to go to a dermatologist; he may be able to remedy your problem. He can even prescribe biotin for me, as in my case, and those furry little monsters will be gone.