There’s a good chance you’ve heard beauty gurus raving about the benefits of biotin – it’s known to help encourage the growth of long, luscious hair. But you should know that the benefits of this vitamin actually extend far beyond its hair-boosting properties. In fact, biotin does a whole lot of good for your entire body.
Want to know more about what this nutrient is, and what it can do for your body? Read on.
Biotin: Part of the B-Complex Family
Biotin actually goes by several different names, including vitamin H. And here’s a fun fact: the vitamin “H” designation is derived from the German words for hair and skin – haar und haut. So yes, biotin has long been famous for its beauty benefits.
Biotin also goes by the name vitamin B7, and it’s part of the B-complex family. Now, there are two types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body, but water-soluble vitamins are not – so they must be replenished daily through dietary sources or supplements. And B-complex vitamins? They’re water-soluble, so it’s important to be diligent about getting enough of them.1
So, just what does biotin do for the body? Here are seven key benefits.
1. Boosts Hair Growth
Let’s start with the most well-known aspect of biotin – its beauty benefits.
Biotin has become super popular as a hair growth booster. And there’s definitely evidence that biotin and hair growth are closely linked. For example, a 2016 study found that out of 541 women complaining of diffuse hair loss, 38 percent of them were biotin deficient.2 Another study found that increasing biotin intake resulted in significant hair growth in women with thinning hair. (This same study found that biotin smoothes and moisturizes skin as well!)3
Keep in mind, hair loss can be the result of a variety of factors – it’s not always a vitamin deficiency. That being said, there’s no harm in experimenting with biotin to see if it makes a difference!
2. Strengthens Nails
Nothing can ruin a good manicure like brittle nails, which are soft, thin, fragile, and prone to breakage.
But biotin is a great remedy, as it can help increase nail firmness and strength.4 Biotin has even been shown to increase nail thickness by up to 25 percent.5
3. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
Biotin plays an important role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, by helping them to remain stable. This stability ensures that your body converts glucose — which you get from food — into energy that your body can use. And without biotin, your body may not be able to perform this function as effectively as it needs to.6
4. Supports Mood and Energy
Symptoms of a biotin deficiency include feelings of fatigue, lethargy, and emotional stress.7 So, to maintain good energy and a balanced mood, be sure you’re getting plenty of this B-complex vitamin.
5. Helps Manage Weight
Studies have shown that some people who struggle with weight actually have lower levels of biotin circulating in their blood. Since biotin is integral to the food-energy conversion process, a lack of this vitamin may actually be a key factor in obesity.8
6. Promotes Healthy Muscles
Muscle cramping is an unpleasant phenomenon, and it can be due to many factors. But a recent study found that biotin may actually help relieve symptoms of muscle cramping in patients undergoing dialysis.9
Researchers have yet to prove that biotin can relieve cramping that occurs as a result of exercise or other factors – but perhaps it’s only a matter of time.
7. Protects the Nervous System
A healthy nervous system is essential for a healthy brain. And a healthy brain? It’s essential for clear thinking, well-articulated speech, and a whole host of functions you barely give a second thought to. Scientists have found that biotin may have protective effects for the nervous system, and may even help to improve symptoms of a compromised nervous system.10
Biotin deficiency is relatively rare. In fact, if you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, there’s a good chance you have adequate levels of this vitamin. But that’s not to say deficiencies don’t exist. You’re more likely to have insufficient levels of biotin if…
- You’re chronically exposed to alcohol
- You take certain medications, like anticonvulsants
- You’re pregnant or breastfeeding11
What are the symptoms of biotin deficiency? Skin redness, hair loss, seizures, clumsiness, and a severe lack of muscle tone.12 If you’re concerned about a deficiency, be sure to check in with your doctor.
So, how much biotin should you be getting every day? Experts recommend between 40 and 60 micrograms.
And here are some great dietary sources:
- Eggs: 1 large egg contains 13-25 micrograms
- Liver: 3 ounces contains (a whopping) 27-35 micrograms
- Pork: 3 ounces contains 2-4 micrograms
- Salmon: 3 ounces contains 4-5 micrograms
- Avocado: one whole avocado contains 2-6 micrograms13
Biotin For Better Health
So, biotin isn’t just for beauty – although it certainly can boost the health of your hair, skin, and nails. But don’t forget that this B-complex vitamin is also hard at work supporting energy, mood, a healthy weight, muscles, and your nervous system. It turns out, those beauty gurus really were onto something.