What Is Biotin?
Biotin is one of eight B vitamins (B7). Also known as vitamin H, it was discovered in the liver 1931 by German scientist Paul György, and was isolated in 1935. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that cannot be synthesized in the human body, so it must be obtained from one’s diet. This vitamin plays a vital role physiological metabolic functions. Along with the other B vitamins, it helps to support adrenal gland function and maintain a healthy nervous system. Not only does vitamin B7 help convert fats, sugars, and carbs into glucose for energy, it helps with the breakdown of macronutrients such as fatty acids and amino acids.
Recommended Biotin Dosage
To avoid side effects of biotin, it is important to learn the recommended biotin dosages. The NIH publishes Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for many vitamins and minerals.
Note that there are cases when you need more biotin than recommended.
These are the NIH RDAs for biotin.
RDA in micrograms (mcg)
Birth to 12 months
12 months to 3 years of age
4 to 6 years
7 to 10 years
Adolescents and adults
30-35 depending on pregnancy and lactation status 
Common preparations of biotin in pill form are 10 micrograms (mcg), 500 mcg, and 5,000 mcg.
Top 10 Biotin Benefits
What is Biotin Good For?
1. Metabolism of Nutrients
Biotin acts as a coenzyme, which assists with the metabolism of fatty acids, amino acids, and glucosee, as well as assists with the metabolism of micronutrients and their conversion to energy. If you have a deficiency of biotin, you may feel lethargic and depressed, as well as have a loss of appetite.
2. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Benefits
Though it is uncommon to be deficient in biotin, pregnant women may be more susceptible. An estimated 50 percent of pregnant women may develop a slight biotin deficiency, though they may not even notice the symptoms. This is thought to occur because biotin breaks down faster in the body during pregnancy.
Biotin is also important for nursing mothers. Because it is used to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins, as well as convert food into energy, mothers need plenty of it to keep them and their baby healthy. When one is breast-feeding, they pass biotin to their infant through breast milk. The more one feeds their baby, the more biotin there is in their breast milk. This vitamin also supports an infant’s healthy growth.
3. Strengthening Nails
Finger nails and toe nails are comprised of several parts. The visible part of the nails, the nail plate, is made from a tough protein called keratin. The skin beneath the plate is the nail bed, and the skin that overlaps the base of the nail is the cuticle. The part of the nail that is hidden under the cuticle is the matrix. Finger and toe nails grow from the matrix, where new cells push out the older cells as they grow. If your nails are brittle and break easily, you may need to boost your biotin intake with a supplement. In one study, biotin was shown to strengthen nails by 25 percent over a period of six months.
4. Biotin Benefits for Hair
Your hair is a protein synthesized by cells inside the root, or hair follicle. Proteins are made up of individual molecules called amino acids and biotin helps with the production and synthesis of amino acidss. Like all B vitamins, biotin is water-soluble, which means it cannot be stored in the body and must be obtained from food or supplemental sources.
Biotin hair growth supplements can improve hair growth by strengthening the structure of hair. It is particularly helpful for hair that has suffered damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays, hair styling tools, and the harsh chemicals found in many hair products. Hair loss is a common symptom of biotin deficiency, so if you are noticing hair thinning or excessive hair loss, a biotin supplement helps support hair growth.
5. Blood Sugar and Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated levels of blood sugar and insulin resistance. There is some evidence to show that people with this form of diabetes may have lower biotin concentrations in their blood than healthy individuals. Studies indicate that in combination with chromium, biotin supplements may lower blood sugar levels for some individuals with type 2 diabetes.
6. Biotin Benefits for Skin
The benefits of biotin for the skin lie in its metabolic synthesis of amino acids, which is how skin receives nutrients. Creatine (produced by the amino acids glycine and arginine) is particularly important for the skin because it helps with the cell’s metabolism of energy and can help reduce the effects of aging and fatigue on the skin.
7. Supporting Neurological Health
Myelin is the protective sheath covering the nerve fibers in the spinal cord, eyes, and brain. The protective sheath is made of a material known as myelin. It is thought that biotin plays a role in its production by activating acetyl-CoA carboxylase, an enzyme involved in myelin synthesis. Recent research reveals that high doses of biotin support the health of myelin sheaths.
8. Supporting The Cardiovascular System
In combination with chromium, biotin can help support healthy cholesterol levels. Biotin has been shown to not only help reduce harmful LDL cholesterol but also to increase beneficial HDL cholesterol. This biotin health benefit is particularly helpful for people who suffer from diabetes and are at risk of heart disease.
9. Helping to Repair Tissue and Muscle Damage
When tissue or muscle becomes damaged, biotin, along with other B vitamins, help with repairs by promoting growth and strengthening the tissue. Because biotin also helps support a healthy inflammation response, it also reduces joint discomfort while tissue is being repaired.
10. Supporting Thyroid Function
As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid releases hormones that help metabolism as well as other vital bodily functions such as heart rate, breathing, maintenance of body temperature, menstrual cycles and central and peripheral nervous systems. Along with other B vitamins, biotin helps avoid negative thyroid symptoms such as insomnia, weight gain, and fatigue.
Biotin Vitamin Deficiency
Biotin vitamin deficiency is uncommon in Western countries where people have an abundance of food. This is largely because the recommended daily requirement (RDA) of biotin is quite low, many popular foods are rich in biotin, and also because the bacteria in our intestines are able to produce some biotin.
However, your body cannot build up reserves of biotin because it is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it passes throughout the bloodstream and any of the nutrient that is not used is eliminated via urine. The benefit of this is that it is incredibly difficult to ingest too much. The downside is that if you are not consuming enough, you will develop a deficiency. To gain the optimum benefits of biotin, you should consume small amounts each day to replenish your body’s supply.
People who may be at risk of a biotin deficiency include:
- Long-term users of some anti-seizure medications
- People who have been taking antibiotics for a prolonged period
- Sufferers of digestive disorders such as leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s disease or celiac disease
When a biotin vitamin deficiency does arise, symptoms may include:
- Irritated, dry skin
- Brittle or break hair and hair loss
- Weakness and fatigue
- Digestive issues
- Muscle cramps and pain
- Mood swings
- Tingling in hands and feet
- Nerve damage
- Poor focus and concentration
Foods with Biotin
Biotin can be found in some foods, such as:
Liver: 3 ounces cooked: 27-25 micrograms
Salmon: 3 ounces: 4-5 micrograms
Avocado: 1 whole: 2-6 micrograms
Eggs: 1 whole: 13-25 micrograms
Yeast: 7 grams/about 1 tablespoon: 1.4–14 micrograms
Raspberries — 1 cup: 0.2–2 micrograms
Whole Grain bread: 1 slice: 0.02 - 6 micrograms
If you feel you may not be getting enough vitamin B7 from your diet, the best solution is to take a daily vitamin supplement with biotin. Here is a rundown on the 10 main benefits of biotin.
Biotin Side effects and Safety
Biotin is considered to be very safe and the side effects of biotin are minimal. One study showed that even high doses of 300 milligrams per day, which were used to treat multiple sclerosis, did not lead to any negative side effects. Overdose causing biotin side effects is virtually impossible because biotin is water-soluble and any excess is eliminated in the urine.
Read our article: How to Avoid the Side Effects of Biotin Overdose