If our body does not get required amount of essential vitamins and minerals, many of the important body functions such digestion, metabolism and immunity will gradually collapse.
Biotin is one such vitamin that is very important for several functions of the body. Many serious diseases do happen due to lack of this vitamin also known Vitamin B7.
In this article, we are going to examine the biotin benefits for our health, hair, skin, and nail.
We shall also look at Biotin side effects (pills), daily dosage, and the foods that contain this vitamin. Also, the good benefits of biotin for hair growth indeed deserve to be an important topic we cannot miss out in this post here.
What Is Biotin?
Biotin is a water-soluble B-Vitamin also known as coenzyme R, Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H.
Vitamin B7 is composed of a ureido (tetrahydroimidizalone) ring fused with a tetrahydrothiophene ring. A valeric acid substituent is attached to one of the carbon atoms of the tetrahydrothiophene ring.[2,3,4]
This B-Vitamin naturally occurs in many of the common foods that we use in our daily diet.
As several of the body functions and growth are closely involved with this vitamin, it is important to maintain healthy biotin level in our body.
Biotin Benefits For Health, Skin, Hair And Nails
The benefits of biotin are many as this vitamin is very important for the several functions of the body.
It has great importance in the development of skin, hair, nails, nerves and overall growth of the body.
It is true that biotin side effects do happen in the case of the overdose consumption of this vitamins in supplement form…however lack of this vitamin can cause much more havoc to the overall health of the body.
Here is a list of biotin benefits in a gist:-
- Helps in metabolization of amino acids and fatty acids[7,8]
- It is beneficial to the body as it carries carbon dioxide in the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle) which is essential for converting proteins and fats into glucose energy.
- Biotin is useful and essential for the growth and sustenance of hair… also helps in reducing breakages and premature loss of hair[10,11]
- It makes the nails strong and avoids cracks….actually brittle nails mostly due to lack of this B-Vitamin
- Biotin is beneficial in the treatment of diabetes; recent research suggests this Vitamin is good for the stabilization of blood sugar[13,14]
- A mixture of biotin and chromium supplement is found to be good for the treatment of Type-2 diabetes as it helps in reducing the blood sugar[15,16,17]
- Vitamin B7 is beneficial in reducing bad cholesterol by promoting healthier metabolism and faster burning of body fats.
- Beneficial for the treatment of certain types of nerve pathology like peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes and kidney disorders[19,20]
- This B-Vitamin helps in decreasing the insulin resistance; also helps the pancreas in insulin production and management of blood sugar[21,22]
- The benefits of biotin also seen in the treatment of cradle cap, hepatitis, and depression[23,24]
- It reduces triglycerides and cardiovascular disease risk[25,26]
- It is beneficial in reducing the risk of birth defects if pregnant[27,28]
- Good for weight loss as biotin helps to improve metabolic function and works as a coenzyme to help the breakdown of carbohydrates, protein and fat[29,30]
Biotin For Hair Growth
Does biotin work for hair growth? This is a widely debated and discussed topic among most dermatologists and hair experts.
At the outset itself, it must be noted that there is insufficient scientific backing to prove the effectiveness of biotin for hair growth.
However, this vitamin being such an important vitamin in helping several body functions and overall growth, there is a strong link between biotin and hair.
Let us see how biotin helps in hair growth and in preventing hair loss:-
- Biotin deficiency leads to hair breakage and hair loss along with cracked and brittle nails
- Biotin supplements have proven an effect on increased hair growth, reduction in hair fall and removal of hair dryness.[32,33]
- Sulphur is one of the active components of biotin that is good for the production of collagen that will help in growth of strong hairs 
- Biotin is one of the essential nutrients required for the growth and regenerations of hair follicles from which the hairs develop
- Biotin together with Vitamin E helps the hair lot in maintaining natural hair moisture and also helps in adding shine to the hair
It is important to understand that hair growth depends on combinations of vitamins and minerals. Biotin or Vitamin B7 is one of the vitamins required by the hair of its growth and strength.
Deficiency in biotin is one the reasons for thinning and breakage of hair. It essentially means that all hair loss instances and stunted hair growth not always due to lack of biotin.
Intake of Vitamins B7 rich foods or supplements is a good way to help your hairs to grow better.
It is true that people who take alcohol tend to lose more hair than other…because alcohol directly interferes with effects of biotin.
The raw egg whites contain a glycoprotein called avidin that effective in binding biotin, one of the B vitamins. This suppression of Vitamin B7 by the raw egg whites will actually lead to a deficiency of this vitamin in the body. That’s the reason many people say that eating raw eggs will cause hair fall.[36,37]
If you are suffering from excessive hair fall or breakage, it is good to do a clinical test to find the biotin levels in your body. If test results indicate low levels of biotin in your body, then you can assume that biotin deficiency is one of the reasons that have made your hair weaker and highly prone to breakage.
It is only the continuous growth of hair will make your hair long. It is good to eat the natural foods that contain biotin and other vitamins such as Vitamin A, E, D, and minerals like iron, zinc and potassium to make your hair grow healthy and long.
Here is a video in which Dr.Oz speaks on how biotin helps in hair growth:-
It is also good to take prenatal vitamins to avoid the hair loss issues usually experienced by women during pregnancy period and also for the healthy development of the fetus.
Biotin for hair growth works as this B-Vitamin improves the growth and strength of the hair.
Biotin Side Effects
One of the sincere concerns of supplements users is the biotin side effects. It is excellent to learn about the side effects of Vitamins B7 overdose before you start taking the supplement to boost it.
Biotin is a naturally included vitamin in most common foods that we consume. If you already have a healthy and balanced daily diet, there is hardly any need to go for additional boost unless your doctor recommends it.
Biotin is LIKELY SAFE to consume as most people won’t be affected by any adverse health effects from it.
It is a water-soluble Vitamin…such vitamins typically will NOT be absorbed by the body in more than required amount. Most of it will be expelled from the body through urination.
In every healthy person, the body has the natural capacity to tolerate biotin supplements. It is also found that the injections containing Vitamins B7 are also SAFE for health provided the dosage does not exceed the clinically permissible amount.
- During pregnancy and breastfeeding, biotin supplements should not be taken without the recommendations of the physician.
- The extra amount of biotin in the body is found to increase your risk of developing cystic acne on the chin and jawline. In such cases, the acne will naturally fade away few weeks after you stop taking the biotin pill or supplement.
- An overdose of any vitamin or mineral in supplement form is sure to have adverse effects on health in the long run. In adults the daily intake of biotin should not exceed 2500 mcg….drinking lot water is a natural remedy to reduce the side effects of vitamin overdose.
- Allergic reactions are possible in persons who are normally sensitive to supplements and medicines. It is found people who have allergies with B12 vitamins are quite possible to face the same with biotin pills too. In the case of allergic reactions like nausea, itchy rashes, pain in stomach or chest, etc., should immediately consult a competent doctor.
- Increased chance of miscarriage is a side effect of biotin when it is taken in a higher dose than the permissible amount. It also risks the health of the fetus… never take any supplements or medicines during pregnancy without the recommendation of the physician.
- The interactive issue with other medicines is one of the known biotin side effects. The vitamins B7 supplement can adversely interact with medications used for epilepsy, cholesterol, etc. making those medicines work less effectively.
- Blood glucose levels may affect adversely with the intake of biotin. Normally Vitamin B7 is useful for improving the blood sugar to a balanced level, but taking biotin supplements and diabetes medicines at the same time can bring down the sugar levels lower than the optimum level.
- Biotin side effects can occur in person under heavy medication as their system may not respond positively to the additional biotin intake. It may also interact with other medicines that may give rise to unexpected physical discomforts.
Mostly biotin does not cause any side effects on health and can be consumed by any normally healthy person. However, persons with a history of reactions to supplements may experience side effects with Vitamins B7 pills too.
There are also health conditions where in a person necessarily need to take biotin pills or supplements. For example, peoples undergoing kidney dialysis requires extra biotin intake.
Natural Dietary Sources For Biotin
Biotin is a common vitamin that found in most of the common food items in our diet.
However, some portion of this vitamin will get lost by cooking and preserving. Best sources of Vitamin B7 are as given below:-
Here is another chart showing best foods that contain good quality biotin with DRI distribution.
Biotin Pills And Shampoo
With recent studies revealing the importance of biotin for hair growth, many shampoo manufacturers have come out with biotin shampoo and hair creams that promise improved hair growth and protection.
However, the results of the shampoos with biotin for the growth of hair are not known. It is obvious that Vitamins work effectively from within the body than from external application of it.
Biotin pills or supplements are usually taken by people on the recommendation of the physician. It is not at all advisable that you start consuming biotin pills on your own for the sake of hair growth or diabetes control.
It is good to have clinical tests done to analyze the biotin levels in your body before you start consuming them. You need to take biotin pills only if severe Vitamin B7 deficiency exists, that too if recommended by the physician.
In most cases, you overcome the Vitamins B7 deficiency by consuming the natural foods that contain this vitamin; biotin supplements are not really needed.
In all normally healthy persons, the body also has the efficiency to recycle the used biotins in the case of deficiency. Any person on healthy diets will hardly face biotin deficiency.
Mostly the biotin pills supplements are required by a pregnant woman as they could face the lack of Vitamins B7 or patients undergoing kidney dialysis. In some case, physicians suggest biotin supplements for persons undergoing treatments for diabetes and cholesterol.
The natural food we eat is the healthiest source of all vitamins and minerals. You need to think of supplements only if your food does not meet the bodily requirements of all vitamins and minerals.
Biotin side effects usually occur because of the overdose of this vitamin in pills or supplements.
The right dose of biotin intake depends on the age of the person and the current biotin levels in the body. However, there is no scientific study that says the exact dose of biotin to be taken.
Common recommendations only suggest that biotin intake beyond certain doses will be dangerous to health.
Generally accepted and recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of daily biotin intake required by a person according to the age are as follows:
- 7 mcg for infants 0-12 months
- 8 mcg for children 1-3 years
- 12 mcg for children 4-8 years
- 20 mcg for children 9-13 years
- 25 mcg for adolescents 14-18 years
- 30 mcg for adults over 18 years
- 30 mcg for pregnant women
- 35 mcg for breastfeeding women
The Bottom Line
Biotin is an essential vitamin required overall health of the body. It is well known for its benefits in hair growth and the development of beautiful nails.
The body also needs this vitamin for better metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.
It is good to consume natural foods that contain this vitamin in natural form than taking the biotin pill.