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Biotin and Hair Loss

Why Does the World Love Biotin So Much?

Biotin is a well-known and popular supplement for treating hair loss. Let's face it - the world loves biotin. However, true deficiencies in biotin are rare given the ability of bacteria in the gastrointestinal system to produce biotin. Nevertheless, many individuals and physicians turn to biotin in the search for treatment options. 

Soleymani and colleagues from New York University School of Medicine set out to critically examine the evidence for biotin use for treating hair loss. Their findings point out that there are no randomized trials to support the use of biotin in treating hair loss and that the public’s interest in biotin over the past decades is not supported by medical evidence. 

There is really no evidence to support routine biotin supplementation for individual’s with hair loss. Exceptions do exist, of course, and true biotin deficiency may be considered in individuals who are elderly, pregnant, using anticonvulsants or chronically using alcohol. 

Reference

Soleymani T et al. J Drugs Dermatol. 2017 May 1;16(5):496-500


Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887
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Coenzyme Q 10: What are the roles in hair loss?

Co Q 10 (Ubidecareneone)

Coenzyme Q 10 is an interesting supplement with anti inflammatory and anti oxidant activity. I've been investigating whether it has any benefits in hair loss ... but the evidence is certainly not in yet.

Coenzyme Q 10 may have some benefits - under certain conditions. The best studies conditions include heart failure, various neurological problems (especially a condition known as multisystem atrophy) and in blood sugar control. It can lower inflammatory markers in the blood, including C reactive protein (CRP). Coenzyme Q 10 may have a variety of helpful effects on obesity too. Patients on cholesterol reducing medications (i.e. statins) may be at increased risk for coQ10 deficiency so that warrants further study. 

In the autoimmune condition rheumatoid arthritis, a randomized study showed 100 mg per day of coQ10 reduced several inflammatory markers in the blood (such as tutor necrosis factor alpha). It's still too soon for those with various types of hair loss to start taking coQ10. But I am reminded of a 1995 study published in the Lancet that showed an improvement in hair loss in 2 patients who used coQ10 to treat hair loss caused by a blood thinner known as warfarin. The reference to this study is below. 

Oxidative stress occurs from a variety of sources including normal cellular functions in the body but also from irritants, ultraviolet radiation, smoking, and microbes on the skin surface. Even bad dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis generate significant oxidative stress. The abnormal scalp lipids in some scarring alopecias are a particular source of potential oxidative stress and a key research interest of mine.

Overall more research is needed to better understand the uses and benefits of coenzyme Q 10.

Reference
Nagao et al. Treatment of warfarin induced hair loss with ubidecarenone. Lancet. 1995; 21: 346:1104


Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887
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