Health Benefits of Biotin

Biotin — also known as vitamin B7 — is a B-complex vitamin that helps your body break down food into valuable energy. While you can maintain a healthy biotin level by eating meat, eggs, fish, seeds, nuts, and some vegetables, many people choose to consume it in a daily supplement.  

The name “biotin” comes from the Greek word “biotos,” which means “sustenance” or “life-giving.” As a B vitamin, biotin offers a variety of health benefits. It can help maintain the health of your nervous system, liver, eyes, hair, and skin.

Health Benefits

Biotin helps maintain many of your body’s major systems. Like other B vitamins, biotin helps your body use enzymes and carry nutrients throughout the body. 

In addition, biotin can provide the following health benefits:

Diabetes Management

Studies show that biotin may help manage symptoms of diabetes. It helps regulate blood sugar levels in some people with diabetes.

In addition, the B vitamins promote healthy brain function — which helps manage neurological symptoms of diabetes like neuropathy (damage or dysfunction of a nerve).

Hair Health

Biotin is well known for its positive effects on hair. Research shows that biotin improves hair health — including shine, volume, and scalp coverage in women who experience thinning hair.  

Improved Skin and Fingernails

Research also shows that biotin helps improve skin’s hydration, smoothness, and appearance. In addition, some studies show that biotin can strengthen fingernails and make them grow faster. Biotin is a versatile addition to your beauty routine.

Prenatal Care

Biotin is also necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Studies show that a biotin deficiency — which is fairly common among women who are pregnant  — can lead to health issues in developing babies.

Because of this, women who are pregnant should regularly eat biotin-rich foods and should also consider taking biotin supplements.

As with any supplement, make sure you consult your doctor before use.

Health Risks

Biotin offers several health benefits and is crucial to your body’s overall function. Research suggests that consuming biotin supplements carries very little risk, even in high dosages.

As a B vitamin, biotin is water-soluble (dissolves in water), meaning that it is nearly impossible to overdose on it because your body will flush out any excess through urination. However, it is possible to experience some adverse effects from consuming biotin. 

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Amounts and Dosage

The amount of biotin you need daily varies by age, gender, and medical condition. It ranges from about 5 micrograms for infants to 35 micrograms in pregnant or lactating women.  

You can find biotin in a variety of foods, such as:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables

If you think you may not be receiving enough biotin through your diet, you can take a daily supplement. Always check with your doctor before using any supplements, and make sure to discuss how much to take.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 05, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Marginal biotin deficiency during normal pregnancy.”

Cleveland Clinic: “The Best Vitamins, Supplements and Products for Healthier Hair.”

Harvard School of Public Health: “B Vitamins.”

Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology: “A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair.”

Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry: “Pharmacological effects of biotin.”

National Institutes of Health: “Biotin: Fact Sheet for Consumers.” 

Oman Medical Journal: “Survey of the Effect of Biotin on Glycemic Control and Plasma Lipid Concentrations in Type 1 Diabetic Patients in Kermanshah in Iran (2008-2009).”

Skin Appendage Disorders: “A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss.”

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