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EXCLUSIVE: Is Biotin the right means to contain post COVID hair loss? An expert opines

Pinkvilla logo Pinkvilla 15-09-2021 Pinkvilla Desk

Scientists are yet to find whether the virus, the medicines to treat COVID, the stress of getting infected or any deficiency caused by the disease is behind the phenomenon of hair loss post getting infected. Since COVID treatment requires an intake of a lot of strong medicines, it is important to have a nutritious diet during recovery to control incidents like hair loss. Among the many nutrients that promote hair growth and prevent hair loss, biotin is one.

What is biotin and how does it work?

There are 13 types of vitamins that help our bodies to grow and develop normally. Biotin is one of the B vitamins. Also known as vitamin B7, it is soluble in water and acts as a catalyst that converts some other nutrients into energy. Biotin stimulates keratin production in hair and can increase the rate of follicle growth, and hence has a role to play in the health of hair and nails. The daily biotin requirement in adults is around 30 mcg, while women who are breastfeeding should take 35 mcg/day after consultation with a physician. Not getting enough biotin in your body may cause hair loss or brittle nails. Most of the body’s requirements can be sourced from the food we eat, but people with a biotin deficiency may need over-the-counter supplements to help prevent hair loss during and after recovering from COVID.

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Food sources of biotin

The common sources of biotin in food items include egg yolk, organ meats such as liver or kidney, vegetables such as cauliflower and mushroom, whole grains and cereals, nuts, like almonds, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts and butter made from nuts, soybeans and other legumes, and fruits such as bananas and raspberries.  

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Reduce stress to promote hair growth

As per dermatologists, the hair follicle cycle has three phases: growth, resting and shedding. For most people, it is normal to shed between 50 and 100 hairs every day. Stress may increase the rate of hair fall. However, there is generally a gap of two to three months between a stressful event and the beginning of hair loss; such events can last for as much as nine months. The pandemic-related stresses, such as anxiety about contracting the virus, concern for ill family members, financial stress, social isolation and changes related to working and schooling from home, have impacted us significantly. Take steps to calm the mind before you start any treatment for hair loss.

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Other uses of biotin

Biotin helps amino acids to perform normal bodily functions and converts carbohydrates in the food into energy. It is also believed to reduce inflammation and blood sugar in people with diabetes, improve cognitive function, and increase HDL or good cholesterol and decrease LDL or bad cholesterol in the body.

About the author: Ms. Shruti Kushwaha, Nutritionist at HealthKart

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