Quick Health Scoop
- Biotin is part of the B vitamin family, known as vitamin B7
- As an essential water-soluble vitamin, you need to get it from food or supplements, your body does not make it
- Biotin is an enzyme cofactor needed in energy metabolism
- It may help support healthy hair, skin, and nails—especially for people deficient in this key nutrient†
- Biotin occurs naturally in many foods, including eggs, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables
If you’ve got healthy hair, skin, and nails, one of the essential nutrients you can thank is biotin. As one of the B vitamins commonly found in a B-Complex supplement, biotin helps metabolize the amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, and protein in the foods you eat and turn them into cellular energy as ATP. Also known as vitamin B7 (and sometimes referred to as Vitamin H), biotin not only helps fuel your body’s cells, it may help support healthy hair, skin and nails.†
Most people get the biotin they need from eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. If you’re looking to include more biotin-rich foods, consider these healthy options: 1, 2, 3, 4
- Egg yolk
- Dairy (cheddar cheese, milk, yogurt)
- Fish (salmon, sardines, tuna)
- Fruits (apples, avocados, bananas, raspberries)
- Meat (including organ meat such as liver)
- Nuts (peanuts, almonds)
- Seeds (sunflower)
- Vegetables (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, sweet potatoes)
- Whole grains (oatmeal, whole wheat bread)
But what are the specific biotin benefits? What are signs of biotin deficiency? And if you don’t eat a balanced, healthy diet, should you take a biotin supplement?
What Are The Benefits Of Biotin?
As an essential water-soluble vitamin, biotin plays many important roles in proper body functioning, such as: 3, 4, 5
- Supports many of the major systems in the body †
- Helps convert carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy your cells can use †
- Helps make glucose (sugar) in the body †
- Plays key roles in gene regulation and cell signaling †
- May help support healthy hair, skin, and nails by playing an important role in the cellular processes involved in the formation of hair follicles and skin cells†
How much biotin should you get every day? Generally, it’s recommended that adolescents and adults get 30-100 mcg of biotin a day. 3 However, if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, you may need more of this water-soluble vitamin. 4
What Are Signs of Biotin Deficiency?
Signs of biotin deficiency can include: 3, 4
- hair thinning
- hair loss
- brittle nails
- scaly red rash that appears on the face (around the eyes, nose, mouth) and genital area
- skin infection
Some conditions may increase your need for biotin, including biotinidase deficiency.3, 4
What Are The Benefits Of Taking Biotin Supplements?
Biotin supplementation may be most beneficial for people with a deficiency of this key nutrient; however, due to a lack of studies that measured biotin levels before and during supplementation, more research is needed to confirm this conclusion.7
If you’re deficient in biotin—or you simply don’t eat a balanced, nutritious diet—biotin supplements can help fill in any nutrient gaps.†
Are There Side Effects To Taking Biotin?
There is no upper limit set for biotin when taken in food or supplements, and studies have found no adverse effects at levels of 10-50 mg/day.3 However, very high intakes of biotin (over 10 mg/day) may interfere with some lab tests, so talk to your doctor about any supplements you are taking when getting lab tests done.3
When Should You Take Biotin: Morning or Night?
Generally speaking, taking multivitamins in the morning works best for increased absorption throughout the day. Another supplement rule of thumb: take most supplements with food to decrease the chances of stomach upset, improve absorption, and stimulate digestion. 8
Learn More: When Should You Take Vitamins?
Which Biotin Is Best?
A supplement can boost your biotin intake and it comes in a variety of doses and forms. For instance, Nature Made offers both Biotin softgels and Biotin gummies, with dosages ranging from 1000 mcg to 5000 mcg. Additionally, B-complex and multivitamins often contain biotin as well. Talk with your doctor to find out which supplement and dosage would best suit your particular needs.
The Bottom Line
Biotin helps break down the foods you eat and turn them into the cellular energy your body needs. It also plays an important role in many body functions. Most people can get enough biotin through their diet. But when it comes to hair health, skin health, and nail health, a biotin supplement can be beneficial—particularly for people who have a biotin deficiency.†
Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.
Learn More About Vitamins & Supplements:
This information is intended only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or a recommendation for any specific product. Consult your health care provider for more information.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “What Are B-Vitamins?” January 15, 2021. Accessed on: June 16, 2021. https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/what-are-b-vitamins-and-folate
- National Institutes of Health. “Biotin: Fact Sheet for Consumers.” January 15, 2021. Accessed on: June 16, 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-Consumer
- National Institutes of Health. “Biotin: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.” March 29, 2021. Accessed on: June 16, 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/
- Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute. “Biotin.” October 21, 2015. Accessed on: June 16, 2021. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/biotin
- Cleveland Clinic. “Is Biotin as Good as Advertised for Your Hair Loss?” September 25, 2019. Accessed on: June 16, 2021. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/is-biotin-as-good-as-advertised-for-your-hair-loss/
- UCLA Health. “What is the Evidence for Biotin?” 2020. Accessed on: June 16, 2021. https://proceedings.med.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Liao-A200128JL-revisedRKO-BLM-edited.pdf
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Biotin—Vitamin B7.” 2021. Accessed on: June 16, 2021. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/biotin-vitamin-b7/
- The Washington Post. “Morning or night? With food or without? Answers to your questions about taking supplements.” February 5, 2019. Accessed on: June 16, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/morning-or-night-with-food-or-without-answers-to-your-questions-about-taking-supplements/2019/02/04/5fcec02a-2577-11e9-81fd-b7b05d5bed90_story.html