You may recognize the word biotin from the label of a supplement bottle, or you may have heard that you should be taking it for your skin, hair, and nails.
But what is it? Is it a vitamin? And is the idea that it can make your hair grow a myth?
What Is Biotin?
Well, for starters, this is a vitamin that falls under the vast B-vitamin banner. It also masquerades under the name of vitamin H or vitamin B7. As with all B vitamins, it’s a water soluble vitamin – which means that your body can’t store it, so you need to replenish your supply.
Now, the job of all B vitamins (or B-complex vitamins) is to help convert the foods you eat into energy. Biotin helps your body process carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids. It also helps support a healthy nervous system.1
The Benefits of Biotin
Because biotin helps to create amino acids, and these amino acids produce a form of keratin, it is often linked to hair, skin, and nail benefits. This is because keratin is the main structural material found in your hair, skin, and nails. So, you may find this vitamin in skin care products and supplements, where it’s marketed as the ultimate beauty supplement.
But, is there any truth that taking this vitamin will give you beautiful skin and stronger hair and nails?
Turns out that though the scientific evidence around whether this vitamin can significantly boost the health of your skin and hair is still relatively weak, a biotin deficiency can actually lead to thinning hair, dry skin and irritation, and brittle nails.2
That means that rather than expecting biotin to perform miracles, it’s better to focus on making sure that your diet has enough of this vitamin in it, naturally. This may help you avoid dry, brittle hair, scaly skin, or hair loss.
Does Biotin Work For Hair Growth?
Another claim surrounding the benefits of this B vitamin is that it’s great for hair growth. Is it true?
Well, there’s minimal evidence that biotin will make your hair grow thick and strong… but there is some impressive evidence that a deficiency will cause hair loss. Evidence also suggests that when you fix a deficiency, the hair loss will grow back.3
So again, the best beauty “plan of attack” is to make sure you’re getting enough of this B vitamin in general, so you can avoid hair loss in the first place.
How Much Do You Need?
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 30 mcg for all adults.4 And here’s the thing: if you focus on getting enough from the foods you eat, you can reap biotin’s many benefits without spending a ton of money on a supplement.
Where Can You Find Biotin?
Here are six great ways to make sure you’re getting enough biotin to keep your skin, hair, and nails healthy and vibrant:
1. Beef Liver
Now, beef liver takes the lead in biotin nutrition, with just 2.5 oz supplying around 30.8 mcg – almost your entire RDA.
Eggs also offer big benefits. Studies have shown that the average whole egg contains around 10 mcg.
A 2 oz. serving of canned salmon contains approximately 4 mcg.
4. Nuts and Seeds
A great variety of nuts and seeds will help keep you from developing a biotin deficiency.
A one-ounce serving of…
- Almonds will give you around 1.32 mcg
- Peanuts (roasted and salted), 4.91 mcg
- Pecans, 0.60 mcg
- Walnuts, 0.78 mcg
- Sunflower seeds (roasted and salted), 2.42mcg
5. Sweet Potato
A 3 oz. serving of cooked sweet potato contains around 1.16 mcg
Grab a handful of fresh strawberries for a biotin boost of around 1.67 mcg.5
Final Thoughts: Biotin’s Beauty Benefits
It’s the deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals that usually creates trouble in the body. Thankfully, correcting these deficiencies can bring about some amazing outcomes, including growing hair back. But it’s important not to assume more of any vitamin or mineral will magically bless you with more beauty benefits. Don’t overdo things.
When it comes to avoiding a biotin deficiency, make sure you’re getting enough in your natural diet. If this is a struggle, you can certainly look to taking a supplement. Meeting your daily requirements will allow this B-vitamin to help keep your skin, hair, and nails all functioning at their best.
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