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Do Sugar Bear Hair vitamins really work?

Question:
Do Sugar Bear Hair Vitamins make hair shine, nails stronger, and help both to grow? They taste good but are super expensive.

Answer:
These gummy supplements, labeled as "SugarBearHair Hair Vitamins" were launched in 2016, are extensively promoted, and appear to have become popular, particularly on college and high school campuses. The website that promotes them claims that "The majority of our customers found their nails and skin quality improved over time while taking SugarBearHair." However, there doesn't appear to be any published study showing that the specific formula in SugarBearHair improves hair or nails.

The dominant ingredient in SugarBearHair is biotin. The daily requirement for biotin (vitamin B7) is just 30 mcg (micrograms) for adults and 25 mcg for 14 to 18 year-olds, and nearly everyone gets this and more from the foods they regularly eat (see the Biotin section of the B Vitamins Review). A daily serving (2 gummies) of SugarBearHair is listed as providing 5,000 mcg of biotin -- 167 times the adult daily requirement. The apparent rational for this mega dose is a small study (by a pharmaceutical company) published in 1990 that showed a 25% increase in nail thickness and a reduced tendency for split nails when 2,500 mcg of biotin was taken twice daily for 6 to 9 months, and another study suggested that biotin deficiency may be common among women complaining of hair loss. However, there are no studies to suggest that biotin supplementation improves hair growth or texture in people who are not deficient in biotin.

On Amazon.com, the current price for SugarBearHair Hair Vitamin is about $32 for a bottle of 60 gummies — or about 53 cents per gummy, so over $1 per day for 2 gummies, which is very expensive based on its ingredients. If you want to get 2,500 mcg of biotin, you can get it for much less from other supplements on the market. For example, in our most recent B Vitamin Supplements Review we tested and Approved a hair, skin, and nails formula that costs just 10 cents per pill and provides 2,500 mcg of biotin, as well as a product that provides the entire 5,000 mcg in a single pill for even less — 5 cents. SugarBearHair appears to be safe based its listed ingredients (ConsumerLab.com has not yet tested this product, but may in the future): None of the ingredients exceed Upper Tolerable Intake Levels. The gummies include moderate amounts of vitamins A, B5, B6, B12, C and D, E and relatively small amounts of iodine, choline, and inositol. But don't expect these gummies to provide all the vitamins and minerals that are found in a multivitamin/multimineral -- it does not contain any iron (important to women prone to iron deficiency) or calcium (to support bone growth, particularly in young women). If you need these, there are many good multivitamins that provide all the essential vitamins and minerals and cost as little as 7 cents per day. One of these, plus a biotin supplement, would provide everything in SugarBearHair and more at roughly half the price.

Be aware that high-dose biotin in SugarBearHair Hair vitamins can potentially throw off results of variety of blood tests such as those for thyroid function. If you are getting blood tests, be sure you tell your doctor and consider discontinuing use of the vitamin at least several days prior to the tests.

The bottom line on SugarBearHair Hair Vitamins:



SugarBearHair Hair vitamins are not likely to help you unless you have a vitamin deficiency, and if you do a have deficiency, other supplements are available that are much less expensive. Also, be aware that these vitamins don't provide minerals such as iron or calcium, which would be found in a multivitamin/multimineral supplement. If you take SugarBearHair Hair vitamins, tell your doctor that you are taking high-dose biotin, as it may affect results of blood tests.

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This CL Answer initially posted on 12/13/2017.

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