You've probably seen advertisements promising that taking biotin will give you the hair, skin, or nails of a shampoo commercial model. Vitamin B7 or biotin has been the subject of much hype, but it can be difficult to tell what is true and what is exaggerated when it comes to nutrition.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' registered dietitian nutritionist Sonya Angelone tells Allure, "Although there isn't good scientific evidence that taking biotin supplements will help thinning hair to grow or nails to get stronger, people who take biotin supplements will often see a benefit."
While many people are interested in biotin because of its potential to improve the appearance of hair, skin, and nails, the truth is that it can do much more for your health than just that. Whether or not biotin supplements are right for you is a matter of personal preference.
What is biotin, exactly?
Your body needs this vitamin, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (NIH). Biotin is more commonly known as a dietary supplement, but it can also be found in some foods. According to the National Institutes of Health, beef liver is the primary source, but pork chops and hamburgers are also good options.
As Allure reports, Jessica Cording, a registered dietitian in New York City, says fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and dairy products all contain it, as well as some vegetables like sweet potatoes. Besides prenatal vitamins and multivitamins, the FDA says it can also be found in these products (FDA).
What does biotin actually do?
According to the NIH, biotin aids in the body's metabolism of fatty acids, glucose (blood sugar), and amino acids. Angelone says that biotin aids in the conversion of food's carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into the energy that the body requires. Cell signaling (the process by which all of your body's cells coordinate their actions) and gene regulation (the process by which your genes are expressed) are also said to be affected by NIH.
Beth Warren, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Secrets of a Kosher Girl, tells Allure that it even helps maintain normal nervous system function. As Angelone points out, it does play a role in the development of healthy nailbeds, a healthy skin, and a healthy hair. (However, taking a biotin supplement won't make much of a difference if you're already getting enough biotin.)
How can I tell if I need more biotin?
Biotin doesn't have an RDA, so it's difficult to know how much you should consume on a regular basis. The Mayo Clinic, on the other hand, recommends that adolescents and adults consume between 30 and 100 micrograms of vitamin D per day. There are no hard numbers on how much biotin the average American consumes, but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that people in other Western countries consume an average of 35 to 70 micrograms of biotin per day.
But here's the thing: Cording says it's extremely rare to have a biotin deficiency if you eat a diverse diet. Biotin deficiency can be caused by a variety of conditions, including a genetic disorder of biotin deficiency, seborrheic dermatitis in babies (a scaly, itchy rash), and stomach surgery. Biotin absorption can be hampered by heavy drinking, according to the NIH.
There are some differences, however, when you're pregnant: According to the National Institutes of Health, at least a third of pregnant women have a mild biotin deficiency, even if they consume more biotin than the national average. In addition to the common skin rashes around the eyes, nose, and mouth caused by a biotin deficiency, other symptoms include seizures, brittle nails, and thinning hair, according to Angelone.
Talk to your doctor if you think you may be deficient in biotin. She can perform a blood test to confirm your suspicions.
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Last update on 2023-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API
A high-strength biotin supplement that isn't featured in our supplement guides has three key questions to answer before you buy.
What’s the cost per serving?
Biotin supplements typically contain just one ingredient, which makes it simple to compare prices and find the best deal. Take the price and divide it by the number of servings per day to ensure you don't overpay. Per-day costs will be calculated using this method.
There's nothing wrong with doing this as long as the supplements you're comparing have the same dose per serving. However, how do you do this when you're looking at two different supplements with different doses? Divide the result by the number of servings per dose. The cost per 1,000 mcg of biotin is shown here.
Are there any customer reviews?
Is a product's success based solely on customer feedback? Biotin supplements that rank among our top 10 have hundreds of customer reviews attesting to the positive effects on health and the length of time users have been taking the supplement.
What are the ingredients?
You'll want to check the label if you're vegan, have a gluten intolerance, are vegetarian, or simply don't want to eat soy products.
If you don't want to worry about how the capsule was made, tablets are your best bet. Vegetarians can take biotin capsules in some cases, but most contain gelatin rather than vegetable cellulose.
Non-GMO ingredients, GMP-certified facilities, and free of gelatin, soy, and gluten are all things we strive for in our products.
It also takes into account the company's reputation. In general, it's best not to buy supplements from a company that doesn't have a website or a phone number.
Only companies with a proven track record of high quality and excellent customer service should be considered when purchasing nutritional supplements. For new companies, this is a little trickier, but you may be able to find out about the founders' backgrounds through research. This is to determine whether or not they are a well-known subsidiary of a larger holding company (Six Star Pro is made by the same people that make MuscleTech, for example).
What are biotin supplements good for?
Most people take biotin supplements in order to promote healthy growth of their nails or their hair. Hair loss, skin changes, and brittle nails are all signs of a biotin deficiency.
Despite its widespread use as a vitamin for hair, skin, and nails, there is little evidence to support this particular application of biotin.
A biotinidase deficiency affects the body's ability to process biotin; therefore, those with chronic alcohol use disorder, pregnant women, and those who are breastfeeding may benefit from a supplement.
How much biotin should I take per day?
Adults should consume the following amounts of biotin each day to maintain Adequate Intake (AI).
Men: 30 mcg
Women: 30 mcg
Pregnancy: 30 mcg
Breastfeeding: 35 mcg
For the time being, the AI levels for biotin are estimated to be sufficient for at least half of the population.
There are a lot more biotin supplements on the market than in the AI. DV for biotin ranges from 830.33% to 33,333.3% for the supplements on this list. Fortunately, there is no evidence that high doses are harmful in any way whatsoever.
High doses of biotin, on the other hand, can tamper with lab tests, resulting in inaccurate results that could have a major impact on your medical care.
If you're having lab work done and taking a biotin supplement, be sure to tell your doctor or lab technician.
Are there side effects of taking biotin?
Biotin does not appear to have any significant side effects. Biotin side effects, such as rashes on the skin or digestive problems, have been reported by some users, but no studies have been done on this specific side effect.
Biotin, on the other hand, has the potential to affect the results of laboratory tests. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before taking biotin supplements if you are taking an anticonvulsant medication.