Biotin: Benefits and Sources You Need to Know

What is Biotin?

Biotin is one of the B-complex vitamins, a group of water-soluble vitamins that all serve different purposes within your body. Often referred to as vitamin H, limited research suggests that biotin supports healthy hair, skin, and nails and may support the healthy development of a baby in its mother's womb.


Along with other B vitamins, biotin can be found in food sources or taken as a supplement. Biotin is found in both plant and animal foods, and anyone eating a healthy plant-based diet full of whole foods should have no problem getting enough of this important nutrient from dietary sources.


Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that your body doesn’t store it the same way it would a fat-soluble vitamin. Once absorbed, fat-soluble vitamins are easily stored in the body’s fat tissue; water soluble vitamins however, are not stored in fat, but tend to be washed out of the body relatively quickly. Other water-soluble vitamins include the rest of the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. The solubility of a vitamin can be important for determining the best way to take the vitamin, and for understanding how it works in the body.  


The Benefits of Taking Biotin

Biotin plays an important role in your body. Below are some of the primary benefits of getting enough of this crucial antioxidant.


  • Healthier Hair & Healthier Skin. Limited studies support the ability of biotin to support healthy hair and healthy skin. Those supporting hair health were completed in children with a particular hair syndrome, while the studies supporting skin health were completed in infants who gained dramatic improvement in a hair or skin condition. 

  • Stronger Nails. It’s been suggested, and limited studies support the ability of biotin to support nail health. Particularly, these studies support biotin’s ability to promote thicker or firmer, harder nails in a number of women who supplemented their biotin over a number of months. It’s important to note that these women began the studies with brittle, splitting, and/or soft nails, and we do not know their biotin status at the beginning of the studies.

  • Prenatal Development If you are pregnant, taking a biotin supplement may be a great choice for your baby’s health and development in the womb. A biotin deficiency can develop in some pregnant women. 

    When your baby is developing in the womb, it’s important for you to get all of the vitamins and minerals that you need to support your baby through dietary sources and supplements as needed. If you may become pregnant, are planning to become pregnant, or already are pregnant, be sure to speak with your physician or OB/Gyn about taking an acceptable prenatal vitamin. MaryRuth’s offers our Prenatal and Postnatal Liquid Multivitamin for your consideration, which contains 100% of the recommended daily value of biotin for those who are pregnant and lactating. MaryRuth took this multivitamin while she was pregnant with her twins! 


Does Biotin Help With Treating Acne?

If you’re dealing with breakouts, you might have perked up when you read that biotin can support healthy skin. Acne can be a frustrating skin issue that many people struggle with.


And while biotin may help support healthy skin, there is no proven connection between getting enough of this important nutrient and reduced acne. If you are dealing with stubborn, severe breakouts that seem to keep reappearing, it’s best to speak with your doctor or visit a dermatologist.



Signs of a Biotin Deficiency

Biotin deficiencies are uncommon among the general population. However, some groups of people, including pregnant women, may be at higher risk of a biotin deficiency.


Below are some of the primary signs that may be indicative of a biotin deficiency. While there may be other factors causing these symptoms, insufficient amounts of vitamin H may have a part to play.


  • Thinning hair. As the symptoms of biotin deficiency may appear gradually, hair may thin before progressing to loss. It’s important to remember that as biotin deficiency is uncommon, any hair thinning or loss that you experience could likely be caused by something else.


  • Brittle nails. Insufficient biotin levels may also lead to brittle nails. While more research needs to be completed in order to fully support biotin’s ability to support nail health, a few studies have supported biotin’s ability to promote thicker or firmer, harder nails in a number of women who supplemented their biotin over a number of months. Unfortunately, we do not know the original biotin status of the women before completing the study, so it’s not possible to determine how much biotin the women were consuming prior to these studies.


  • Skin problems. Skin problems caused by biotin deficiency are said to be due to impaired fatty acid metabolism. One of these skin symptoms is a rash of the face; a scaly rash may occur around the openings of the face such as the eyes and lips. Further difficulties may also occur including infections of the skin and the conjunctiva (the membrane that lines the eyelids).


If you suspect that you have a biotin deficiency, make sure to talk to your doctor and get professional guidance about how to approach treatment and get your levels of the nutrient back on track.


How Much Biotin Should I Get Per Day?

The recommended adequate intake (AI) amount of biotin as established by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) is 30 micrograms (mcgs) for adults aged 19 and older. If you’re not sure if you are getting enough biotin in your diet each day, consulting your doctor is a great idea.


The signs of a biotin deficiency may also be indicators of a different problem. If you have chronic hair, skin, or nail problems, you may be deficient in biotin – but something else may be wrong as well. Your doctor can help you address concerns related to nutrient deficiencies and help you make a plan for how to get enough of important nutrients like biotin in your diet.


Dietary Sources of Biotin

Aside from a few at-risk populations, biotin deficiency isn’t common, so it’s possible that you’re getting enough in your daily diet without even trying to do so. But, if you’re one of the at-risk individuals, want to increase your biotin intake in general, or just want to make sure you’re covering all of your biotin bases, we’ve pulled together some foods that may help you with your daily intake.


Below are some vegan-approved sources of biotin you may want to include in your diet.


  • Sweet potato

  • Broccoli

  • Spinach

  • Sunflower seeds


As all individuals are different, and some biotin deficiency is related to the body’s inability to metabolize it properly, if you’re at risk for deficiencies, or just want more information on your personal health as it relates to biotin intake, please speak with your doctor. He or she can help you determine if a diet change or the addition of supplements may benefit you.


Getting Your Daily Biotin

We prefer you to get your nutrition from a balanced, whole food diet, then introduce supplements as necessary to make up for any gaps. So, we highly encourage you to try incorporating healthy whole food sources of biotin into your diet, but when it may not be possible to do so, we’re here for you! Try our biotin supplement from MaryRuth’s!


And we have so much more to offer you too! MaryRuth’s has a full line of multivitamins, multiminerals, probiotics, and single nutrient supplements and more to choose from. Check out our liquid multivitamins!


If you’re at risk for deficiencies, or just want more information on your personal health, speak with your doctor. They can help you determine if a diet change or the addition of supplements may benefit you.


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