We typically associate biotin with hair, nails, and skin health, partially due to great marketing, and also, because the health and beauty advantages of taking vitamins have been trending for some time now. The benefits of biotin, however, go beyond beautiful hair, and while they may not be hyped, they certainly should be. Biotin, also known as B-7, is an essential nutrient, meaning, your body needs it to function optimally (via National Institutes of Health).
You can get adequate amounts of biotin from food such as beef liver, eggs, fish and sweet potatoes, and because the vitamin is found in a variety of foods, a deficiency is rare, although pregnant women and those who drink alcohol heavily tend to have lower amounts (via NIH). According to the Mayo Clinic, adolescents and adults need 30 to 100 mcg of B-7 daily.
According to Gretchen Frieling, M.D., a dermatopathologist, B Vitamins are relatively safe and on biotin, she tells Shape “It’s a water-soluble vitamin, meaning it’s not stored in the body and any excess is eliminated through urine.” Frieling goes on to say that it is, in fact, beneficial for hair, skin, and nails.
Surprising health benefits of biotin
Registered dietitian nutritionist Sonya Angelone, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Allure that, “Although there isn’t good scientific evidence that taking biotin supplements will help thinning hair to grow or nails to get stronger, people who take biotin supplements will often see a benefit,” so, yes, biotin can improve hair and nails.
The B vitamin also helps metabolize the fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids in your body (via NIH). Basically, biotin assists with turning the carbs, fats, and proteins in the food you eat into energy you need, Angelone says. Registered dietitian, nutritionist, and the author of Secrets of a Kosher Girl, Beth Warren, tells Allure that biotin also helps to keep your nervous system functioning normally.
Taking biotin daily is relatively safe and according to Healthline, is beneficial for your liver, nervous system, and eyes. Dr. Frieling tells Shape that biotin is relatively safe to take, however, it is always a good idea to discuss new supplements with your doctor.
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