Biotin, also known as vitamin H or vitamin B7, is a water soluble vitamin that is essential for the body. It is required for the production of glycogen and proteins, and helps to keep your skin and hair healthy.
This vitamin can be found naturally in foods such as almonds, hazelnuts and whole grains. However, if you are not getting enough biotin through your diet, your doctor or registered dietitian can also prescribe it as a supplement.
Learn how you can use biotin for hair growth.
Main health benefits
Biotin is an essential vitamin that has many benefits, such as:
- Being an energy source for cells, since it's essential for the production of glycogen, which also helps regulate glucose levels;
- Stimulating the production of proteins, as it aids in the formation of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins;
- Strengthening hair and nails, since it contributes to the production of proteins that are essential for healthy nails and hair;
- Promoting skin health, because it ensures the body produces collagen and keratin, which are essential proteins to guarantee skin elasticity and resistance;
- Increasing the reabsorption of vitamins B12, B5 and folic acid, which help to maintain optimal body functioning;
- Helping form blood cells, especially lymphocytes and antibodies.
In addition, biotin can also help keep the nervous system healthy, help in the treatment of acne and hair loss, and regulate cholesterol levels.
Best food sources for biotin
Biotin can be found in foods such as peanuts, almonds, chestnuts, wheat, boiled eggs, mushrooms, whole grains and hazelnuts. Biotin is also produced by natural bacteria in the intestines, therefore you should consume plenty of fiber and drink at least 6 cups (1.5 L) of water a day, to help keep the bowels healthy and encourage biotin production. See which foods are high in fiber.
The following table shows the amount of biotin found in 100 g of each food:
|Food||Amount of Biotin in 100 g|
|Wheat bran||44.4 µg|
|Boiled egg||16.5 µg|
|Cooked salmon||5 µg|
In addition to being found naturally in some foods, biotin can also be bought as a supplement in capsule form. Biotin supplements are usually prescribed if you're not getting enough biotin through your diet, or if you have signs of biotin deficiency such as hair loss, weak nails, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
Biotin supplement dosage
There is no specific recommendation for biotin dosing. Dosing usually depends on the reason it is being prescribed..
Therefore you should take biotin as recommended by your doctor or dietitian.
Precautions while taking biotin supplements
Biotin supplements should not be used by people who are hypersensitive to any of the component present in its formula. Biotin supplements should also be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women, unless recommended by a doctor.