Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that’s a part of the vitamin B family. It’s also known as vitamin H. Your body needs biotin to help convert certain nutrients into energy. It also plays an important role in the health of your hair, skin, and nails.
If you aren’t getting enough biotin, you may experience hair loss or a scaly red rash. However, a deficiency is rare. In most cases, the biotin you get from your diet is enough for you to reap the health benefits it offers.
Still, many people are increasing their intake in hopes of additional benefits. Keep reading to find out how to add biotin to your diet, what to look for in a biotin supplement, possible side effects, and more.
Keratin is a basic protein that makes up your hair, skin, and nails. It’s clear that biotin improves your body’s keratin infrastructure. But beyond that, researchers aren’t really sure what biotin’s role in hair or skincare is.
Research on the effects of biotin on hair growth is sparse. To date, there’s only limited evidence to suggest that increased biotin intake may help promote hair growth.
For example, in one 2015 study, women with thinning hair were given an oral marine protein supplement (MPS) containing biotin or a placebo pill twice per day for 90 days. At the beginning and end of the study, digital images were taken of the affected areas on the scalp. Each participant’s hair was also washed and any shed hairs were counted. The researcher found that women who took an MPS experienced a significant amount of hair growth in the areas affected by hair loss. They also had less shedding.
A 2012 studyTrusted Source by the same researcher produced similar results. Participants perceived improvement in hair growth and quality after 90 and 180 days.
Biotin deficiency is rare, so the U. S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t offer a recommended dietary allowance (RDA). RDAs can vary based on a person’s age, sex, and overall health.
Instead, experts recommended the following dosage guidelines. Anyone aged 10 or older should get between 30 and 100 mcg per day. Infants and children should get:
- birth to 3 years: 10 to 20 micrograms (mcg)
- ages 4 to 6 years: 25 mcg
- ages 7 to 10 years: 30 mcg
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may need higher levels of biotin.
Talk with your doctor about the right daily intake for you. They can provide guidance on how to safely increase your dosage to provide the maximum benefits. You can fulfill your recommended biotin allowance through your diet or by taking a biotin supplement.
You’re probably already getting the daily recommended amount of biotin from the food you eat. But if you’d like to increase your intake, you can add more biotin-rich foods into your diet.
- organ meats, such as liver or kidney
- egg yolk
- nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, and walnuts
- soybeans and other legumes
- whole grains
Heat can reduce biotin’s efficacy, so opt for raw or minimally-processed dishes. The amount of biotin can vary from food to food, too, so be sure to read the nutritional information whenever possible. This can help you select items with the most biotin for your buck.