Every glossy-haired model in a shampoo commercial seems to pose a question: how can I get hair like that? If you are looking to support your hair, skin, and nail health, you may be curious about biotin. Today we will break down what it is, how it works, and when it’s a good idea to add a biotin supplement to your routine.
First, what is biotin?
Biotin, or B7, is a water soluble vitamin that helps our bodies break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Specifically, it works to metabolize amino acids, fatty acids, and glucose, but also plays a role in gene regulation and cell signaling. We can’t make biotin organically in our bodies, so we have to get it from our diets. High biotin foods include eggs, fish, meat, seeds, and nuts.
Do I need to take a supplement?
According to NIH, women should get around 30 to 100 mcg of biotin per day. Biotin is sold commercially as a supplement to boost hair, skin, and nail health, but does it really work?
In cases where people are biotin deficient, supplementing can be very beneficial. Biotin deficiency is rare. It’s usually inherited, but in some cases it can be acquired. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, you have used strong antibiotics that have harmed your normal gut flora, or you have struggled with alcohol abuse, then you may be more prone to a biotin deficiency.
Signs of biotin deficiency include:
- Hair loss or thinning
- Brittle nails
- Scaly, red rash around the nose, eyes, and mouth
Luckily for these groups, biotin supplementation has been found to be highly successful for dealing with these symptoms. Biotin supplementation can support healthy hair growth and thicken nail cuticles. So, if you have a biotin deficiency, then the answer is YES!
But what if you don’t have a biotin deficiency?
Unfortunately, the definitive scientific research on the effects of biotin supplementation is minimal. However, what we can tell you is that if you are looking to support the health of your hair, nails, and skin, biotin can definitely help. Biotin improves the keratin infrastructure in your body, which is the protein that makes up your skin, hair and nails. It supports healthy hair and nail growth, and it is safe in large doses -- since it is water soluble, you will just pee out whatever your body does not need. If you are a fan of gel manicures or acrylics, a biotin supplement might be a good idea to keep your nails from becoming too weak.
*Caveat: your skin
Some people find that after they add a biotin supplement to their regime, their skin breaks out. The health and happiness of your skin is actually reliant on two B vitamins: Biotin, or B7, and B5. B5 regulates the surface area of your skin, essentially preventing breakouts. Biotin breaks down fatty acids to give your skin a glow and protective structure. You need both of these vitamins to work together for your skin to look its best. However, B5 and B7 are both absorbed through the same receptors in your small intestine, so if you are consuming too much biotin, you may not be able to absorb enough B5, making your skin more prone to breakouts. When people experience breakouts after starting a biotin supplement, the biotin itself is not the culprit, but they may have become deficient in B5 and had a breakout as a result. B vitamins are complex, but super important for your health. To learn more about other B Vitamins and their effects on your body, click here.
So, how can you avoid biotin breakouts?
Get your vitamin as part of a multivitamin instead of in its pure form. At Binto, we put 0.05mg of biotin into our multivitamin, so it can support healthy hair, skin, and nails, without overwhelming your body. To read more about the ingredients in our multivitamin, click here.
As always, we are here to support you in your health journey in whatever way we can! If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat, you can reach out to us via our chat portal, or click here to schedule a telehealth consultation with one of our healthcare professionals!