Head to Head for Hair Growth: Biotin vs Collagen - Amandean

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December 26, 2021 6 min read

In this article:

  • What causes hair loss?
  • What is biotin and where does it come from?
  • What is collagen and what is its role in the human body?
  • Biotin vs. collagen for hair loss and hair growth

Updated December 2021

What causes hair loss?

Although hair is a pretty simple thing, we spend a lot of time fussing over it. Each hair follicle is made entirely of keratin protein cells and is rooted in the skin's dermis by the hair bulb. Blood vessels nourish and deliver hormones to each follicle to help them grow and stay healthy and strong. Fall out is part of the natural life cycle of hair follicles, but if the follicles become damaged, new hair may not be able to grow. Humans have about 100,000 hairs on the scalp alone, so losing a couple a day really isn't a big deal, but it sure feels like it!

There are a couple of different kinds of hair loss with many different underlying causes; hair can fall out in clumps and leave bald patches, the hairline can recede, or hair can thin overall. Tight braids and hairstyles and harsh chemical products (such as perms and bleaching) can cause hair loss and breakage. Finding a single cause for hair loss can be tricky, but knowing the types and matching them with your pattern of hair loss can help you to identify the root cause and find ways to promote future hair growth.

Androgenetic alopecia:This is the most common cause of hair loss for both men and women. For men, this is often referred to as male pattern baldness and is characterized by a receding hairline and thinning at the crown of the head. For women, this usually results in overall hair thinning.

Telogen effluvium: This is a very common type of hair loss usually brought on by prolonged periods of stress. It is characterized by widespread thinning of the hair and occurs 2-3 months after intense body stress such as a major illness, the death of a loved one, surgery, infection, or after childbirth.

Tinea capitis:Characterized by a fungal infection of the scalp, tinea capitis causes patchy hair loss. It often results in the skin on the scalp becoming dry, flaky, and scaly.

Alopecia areata:Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes the hair to fall out in small patches. It's common in people who have been diagnosed with other autoimmune diseases, which, as we'll see, can also be a major cause of hair loss.

Side effects of medications:It's not uncommon for certain medications to cause hair loss. Guilty contributors include lithium, beta-blockers, warfarin, heparin, amphetamines and levodopa. If you think your hair loss might be attributed to a medication you're taking, you can always check for the side effects online.

Symptom of an illness:Autoimmune diseases and other illnesses such as lupus, syphilis, thyroid disorders, eating disorders, sex hormone imbalances, or nutritional deficiencies of protein, iron, zinc, or biotin can cause hair loss. It's always best to speak to a dermatologist or doctor about your hair loss in case it is a symptom of an underlying, undiagnosed illness.

If you're still not quite sure which type of hair loss you are experiencing, you can read this blog on ways to identify it and speak to your doctor. Thinning hair is normal, but that’s not to say we can't help to slow it down! Below we'll evaluate taking collagen vs biotin supplements for hair growth.

What is biotin?

You may be surprised to know that biotin is a B vitamin! It goes by many names; in Germany it’s called vitamin H and in France and many other countries it is called vitamin B7, vitamin B8, or Coenzyme R. At its core, biotin is a B complex vitamin that is water-soluble, meaning it is not stored in the body and must be received from food or supplements. Egg yolks, legumes, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and nuts are all great for increasing the amount of biotin in the body. Luckily, many of these foods are vegan, so they are obtainable in any diet. This gives biotin the edge over collagen for those following vegan diets, because collagen is sourced solely from animals. The benefits of biotin are widespread and include fatty acid and amino acid metabolism, cell growth, and blood sugar regulation. But it is especially important in supporting our hair and nail health. Biotin deficiency can result in brittle nails, hair breakage, and hair loss.

What is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is a structural protein whose name is derived from the Greek word for "glue" and is largely considered to be a major building block of the body. There are many different types of collagen, but it is found primarily in the connective tissues such as the joints, ligaments, skin, and the cartilage that surrounds the organs. The benefits of collagen are widespread; collagen supplements are frequently taken to support strong nails, silky hair and healthy skin, as well as to reduce joint pain and build lean muscle mass. Many skincare products use collagen for its powerful anti-aging benefits and to prevent hair loss.

Which one is better for hair loss?

Both biotin and collagen are commonly used to manage hair loss, but they manage it in different ways. Biotin has been found to help increase nail thickness and reduce skin rashes, which is why many products promoting hair and skin health include biotin in their mix. However, though some studies found that participants who received oral supplementation of biotin perceived hair growth, the evidence isn't quite there. In short, biotin is good for hair loss, but only if you are already deficient. And if you are deficient in biotin, the good news is you can easily find biotin in a number of foods. Whereas we need to consume specific foods or supplements to get an adequate amount of biotin, future collagen production can be spurred within the body through collagen supplementation.

Collagen promotes hair growth in a number of different ways. Collagen protein is made up of amino acids, including proline, which is vital to the production of keratin (what makes up our hair follicles). Therefore, consuming more collagen should help provide a necessary component to hair growth. Marine collagen, collagen derived from the skin and scales of fish, was also found to be a powerful antioxidantthat helps fight off the free radicals that can damage your hair and impede hair growth. Collagen may also help to strengthen the dermis where the hair follicles are rooted to help prevent the hair from thinning. Aside from bone broth, which contains collagen and gelatin (the cooked form of collagen), it's difficult to get collagen from foods. As we age, our collagen levels drop as does our skin elasticity and hair growth, so many people turn to supplements of collagen peptides to promote healthier skin and hair.

Collagen and biotin are very different, one is a protein and the other is a vitamin, so you can safely take them together if you want to cover all your bases. Amandean collagen powder is flavorless, non-GMO, and gluten-free, making it an easy addition to your morning coffee or tea without skipping a beat. Since biotin can be found in foods, you can try adding more biotin to your diet by eating more biotin-rich foods. Additionally, you can take a multivitamin that contains biotin and vitamin C to increase your body's production of collagen. When it comes to using biotin or collagen for hair growth, you don't have to choose one or the other - they work best as a team!

Summary Points

  • Hair follicles have a life cycle and fall out is part of that, but if the follicle becomes damaged, new hair may not be able to grow
  • It's not uncommon for certain medications to cause hair loss
  • Biotin is a B vitamin, but it goes by many names in different countries
  • The benefits of collagen are widespread; collagen supplements are frequently taken to support strong nails, silky hair, and healthy skin as well as to reduce joint pain and build lean muscle mass
  • Collagen promotes hair growth in a number of different ways. Collagen protein is made up of amino acids, including proline, which is vital to the production of keratin

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