You might see biotin on the labels of beauty products – shampoo, in particular – if you peruse the aisles at the store. Unfortunately, it’s well-known that biotin is not very easily absorbed through the skin, so using these products topically isn’t going to give you those long locks you desire. The secret? Supplementing with biotin. This forgotten “beauty” nutrient can have big benefits. Beyond physical benefits, it’s also been shown to help people with diabetes manage insulin levels.
Here, you’ll learn which foods are rich in biotin, the benefits of using it, and which biotin supplement we recommend.
What is biotin?
Biotin is also known as vitamin B7. This vitamin is water-soluble (some are fat-soluble), which basically means that any excess biotin in the body will be excreted in the urine. The vitamin B complex contains many B vitamins, and as a force, they’re responsible for quite a few important functions such as metabolic health, cardiovascular health, nerve functions, and healthy digestion. Biotin helps the body process both fats and sugars, so it’s a pretty crucial nutrient. Basically, it’s essential for proper cellular functioning – a full-body process.
Biotin is especially important for pregnant and lactating women. The recommended dose is 30 micrograms per day for a healthy adult, and it jumps to 35 micrograms per day if the individual is breastfeeding.
Because it is water-soluble, that means our bodies cannot store biotin. This is why going without biotin for a long time is bad news. Ideally, we should take in small amounts daily to keep levels at bay. Biotin deficiency can show up as dry and irritated skin, brittle hair or hair loss, brittle and easily broken nails, digestive distress and cramping, muscle aches, and nerve damage. Severe deficiency is relatively uncommon in most people who receive enough calories.
Oh, and biotin in particular is notorious for being the hair, skin, and nails vitamin.
Food sources of biotin
Like with most vitamins and minerals, food is the desired source. Getting enough biotin in your diet can be quite simple of you focus on real, whole, nutrient-dense foods. You won’t ever see a biotin content on the nutritional label because it’s a varying number in the same foods (one egg might be better than the other), but we know a few things. Here is a list of biotin-rich foods:
- Liver. This might be the winner. After all, it is one of the most nutrient-dense foods from providing us with a unique source of vitamin D to biotin. It contains approximately 27-35 milligrams – more than any other food on the list!
- Eggs. The yolks are where the biotin is at. Watch out for overconsumption of egg whites without yolks; there is a specific element in the whites that bind to biotin which interfere with its proper distribution.
- Berries. They are also rich with antioxidants – eat up!
- Salmon & halibut. Fish is also a fabulous way to balance out omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Choose wild-caught when possible for the most nutrient-dense option.
- Milk. Whether you choose goat’s milk or cow’s milk, a quality dairy product offers up calcium, healthy fats, and biotin.
- Nuts. Choose a biotin-rich snack when you can. Many nuts are also rich in vitamin E which is great for the skin, healthy fats, and a dose of protein to keep you fuller for longer.
- Cauliflower. A serving contains 17 micrograms of biotin – around half the recommended dose for a healthy adult over the age of 18.
- Cheese. Raw cheese or cheese from grass-fed cow, goat, or sheep’s milk are rich with biotin. Some of the top contenders are camembert, bleu cheese, and cheddar cheese.
- Mushrooms. Particularly, raw mushrooms. Most mushrooms are rich with other vitamins and minerals too. Fungus among us – this is the good stuff! Check out some of the benefits of our favourite mushroom – reishi mushroom.
Biotin for healthy nails
This study shows that biotin increased nail thickness by 25% in people who suffered from brittle nails. While there is less research to back up any claims that taking a biotin supplement will make your nails grow if they are already healthy, many people suffer from nail weakness. If your nails chip and break easily, or peel by the layer, you may very well have a biotin deficiency. This can be annoying, unsightly, and even painful. A simple biotin dose each day can help restore proper nail strength and thickness.
Biotin for brittle hair & hair growth
If your hair is damaged from colouring or heat, brittle from biotin deficiency or sun damage, or you simply want to grow out longer locks, biotin is a good supplement. It can help strengthen the hair to reduce breakage and speed up the growth process slightly.
Risks of too much biotin
While there is very little risk in taking biotin supplements whether you’re deficient or getting enough through diet, there is something to worry about: vitamin B5 deficiency. B5 or pantothenic acid and B7 (biotin) are absorbed by the same receptors in the intestine. When we’re messing with the balance by loading up on biotin, the ratio of B5 to B7 is clearly outweighed by the biotin in the gut, thus we can easily become deficient in B5. If this is the case, you might notice acne popping up, or other skin issues. To fix this, supplement with both B5 and B7, or use a good B-complex vitamin to help reinstate stability.
This biotin supplement from Sports Research is a great one-stop shop, if you’re looking to increase your biotin intake for hair, skin, and nail improvement. This supplement provides a 5,000 microgram dose which is more than enough for your daily biotin intake. It’s also enhanced with coconut oil for better absorption – win! It’s also non-GMO certified, and a 100% natural product.
We hope you learnt more about biotin in this article today! Have you had experience using biotin for hair growth or nail growth? Let us know how it went for you. Don’t forget to share!
Music, mountains, dogs, travel, food and friends.