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    Benefits of Biotin: A Vitamin With Looks and Substance

    May 10, 2024 5 Minute Read

    The benefits of biotin (including biotin for nails) have garnered attention in the beauty as well as health and wellness communities.



    Maybe you've seen the glamorous ads in magazines, watched the commercials on television or listened to social media influencers praise a vitamin called biotin. You've probably wondered about the health benefits of biotin and whether it's something worth adding to your wellness regimen.

    It can be hard to know which vitamins and supplements deserve your attention. Seeing as biotin continues to be a part of the collective health and wellness conversation, it's a great time to explore information about this vitamin and how it can impact our health and well-being.

    What Is Biotin?

    Biotin is the water-soluble vitamin B7, part of the B complex group of vitamins. According to Medical News Today, biotin is also known as vitamin H — where the "H" stands for "haar und haut," a German translation for "hair and skin." It has gained popularity for the potential health benefits it provides, including improved hair, skin and nails, as well as healthy embryonic development during pregnancy.* While the beauty perks tend to garner more attention at first glance, biotin plays a vital role in several important bodily functions.

    Sources of Biotin

    Accessing the benefits of biotin can be as simple as incorporating foods that are a good source of vitamin B7 into your balanced diet. It is naturally found in these food sources:

    • Cooked eggs (particularly the yolks)

    • Nuts and seeds

    • Legumes

    • Salmon

    • Sardines

    • Yeast (both nutritional and brewer's)

    • Beef liver

    • Pork

    • Sweet potatoes

    • Mushrooms

    • Bananas

    • Broccoli

    • Avocados

    • Whole grains

    • Cauliflower

    • Green, leafy vegetables

    Food processing practices can destroy biotin, so adding less processed foods will provide the greatest benefit.

    Adequate intake of biotin from food varies based on age and other factors. The adequate intake for men and women ages 19 years and older (including pregnant women) is 30 micrograms of biotin per day, while lactating women need 35 micrograms daily.

    A protein in raw eggs, known as avidin, could bind to biotin and prevent its absorption, so you may want to think twice when consuming foods like mayonnaise, Caesar salad dressing or eggnog, which call for raw egg as an ingredient.

    Is Supplementation Necessary?

    While it's advisable to get nutrients directly from a balanced diet, sometimes people need more of a specific nutrient than what's available through dietary intake. Populations who are on certain medications and those with health conditions that impact how the body absorbs nutrients can be at risk of developing biotin deficiency. If that's the case for you, supplementation in the form of a biotin capsule, tablet or gummy may be considered to address specific health needs.

    A biotin deficiency may be represented by symptoms such as thinning hair, scaly skin rashes around the eyes, nose and mouth, and brittle nails. It can also cause fatigue or numbness as well as tingling in the arms and legs.

    Ensure you monitor your biotin intake, as high levels of biotin in your blood may interfere with some lab tests, such as those for troponin, vitamin D and thyroid-stimulating hormone. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant dietary changes and/or adding a new vitamin or supplement to your regimen.

    Benefits of Biotin

    Biotin plays a role in a variety of bodily processes, but most notably, supports complete prenatal care and helps promote hair, skin and nail health.*

    Biotin for Hair, Skin and Nails

    When you maintain adequate biotin levels, benefits can include stronger, more resilient hair and improved skin and nail health. In wellness circles, this use for biotin has become popular due to the association of the nutrient enhancing not just health, but also appearance.*

    In addition to eating biotin-rich foods or taking a supplement, there are also biotin-enriched products like shampoo and conditioner. Other treatments include biotin for nails, applied topically for potential beauty benefits.

    Biotin for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    Biotin is connected to healthy embryonic development during pregnancy; however, one-third of pregnant women will develop biotin deficiency. While additional studies are needed to provide further insights, research suggests that maternal biotin deficiency during pregnancy might increase the risk of preterm labor or fetal growth restriction.

    Pregnancy and lactation often put mothers at a higher risk of biotin deficiency. Because of this concern, prenatal vitamins often include biotin along with folic acid to support health and nutritional requirements during this time. Generally, there's no need to take biotin in addition to a prenatal vitamin, but check with your healthcare provider to determine what is best for you and your baby.

    Understanding How Biotin Can Benefit You 

    Biotin's positive effects continue to garner attention from consumers and the medical community alike. Whether you are looking to improve the quality of your hair, skin and nails, are experiencing pregnancy or lactation, or want to explore biotin's other potential benefits, check with your healthcare provider to learn about biotin's role in your wellness goals.

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

    These articles are intended for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in these articles. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise or medication regimen.