Anna Gragert
March 09, 2016 11:22 am
Walt Disney Pictures

If you’ve been to a grocery store or pharmacy of any kind, odds are that you’ve seen rows of vitamins claiming to work some sort of hair magic. Our question: Do these bold supplements actually do anything?

Dr. Marina Peredo told Daily Makeover that she often recommends her patients try supplements if they want to fix issues related to their hair, skin, or nails. She specifically mentions Biotin (or vitamin H). “Biotin encourages the production of protein for nail growth when absorbed in the core of the nail bed, where the cells are generated,” Dr. Peredo says. “In addition, it also stimulates new hair growth and promotes healthier texture by protecting against dryness, scalp flaking and increasing elasticity of the hair’s cortex to prevent breakage.”

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Foods such a nuts, bananas, and egg yolks contain Biotin, which aims to preserve the health of one’s nervous system, liver, eyes, hair, and skin. Because of this, many Americans want to get their hands on the vitamin to get Rapunzel-like hair. In fact, Medical Daily reveals that $176 million a year is spent on supplements that claim to keep hair long and luscious.

They’re not made-up pills. Our bodies are already taking them in and they should be a part of our diet,” celebrity hairstylist Devin Toth says. Be that as it may, he adds, “Vitamins and supplements aren’t miracle drugs, they simply allow your hair to reach its full potential. [They] maximize what the body is capable of. Your hair needs certain things to reach maximum capacity … that’s what vitamins are for.”

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On the other hand, not everyone in the healthcare field agrees. The National Institutes of Health explains that there is not enough data to correlate biotin with healthy nails, skin, or hair. There are also no vitamins that prevent hair loss. “Very weak evidence suggests that biotin supplements may improve thin, splitting, or brittle toe and fingernails, as well as hair,” the University of Maryland Medical Center writes.

Though many promote Biotin, dermatologist Dr. Melissa Piliang also recommends other vitamins/minerals to help with hair health: iron, vitamin D, and zinc. She told The Huffington Post, “Daily multivitamins or prenatal supplements help to fill gaps found in our diets. We tend to restrict carbohydrates or fats for weight lost or replace them with juices, but vitamins contain important nutrients like biotin, zinc and B-complex that help to enhance the health of our hair.”

Dr. Piliang also notes that vitamins should not be used as a bandage to cover up a real problem—especially since brittle nails and hair may symbolize complications relating to chronic anemia or a thyroid condition.

While there is no widespread conclusion that vitamins help our hair, it would probably be a good idea to visit a doctor if you’re really concerned about any hair issues (since they may indicate an internal problem).