Last update: May 3, 2024

Biotin: The Complete Guide

Explore the secrets of Biotin with our comprehensive guide. Learn about dosage, benefits, sources, and potential side effects for optimal health and wellness.

Stephanie Wright

By Stephanie Wright, RN, BSN

Edited by Dr. Dimitar Marinov, MD, MBA, PhD

Learn more about our editorial standards

Key takeaways

  • Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in breaking down carbs, proteins, and fats
  • It’s known for helping the production of keratin, which is a protein that is important for keeping your hair, skin, and nails healthy
  • A deficiency may cause symptoms like hair thinning, hair loss, brittle nails, and a rash
  • Your body can’t make biotin on its own, so consuming biotin-rich foods or taking supplements is important for your overall health

    What is biotin?

    Biotin, or vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that is vital in breaking down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your body. It also plays a key role in helping break down food for energy and supports cell health. Biotin also plays a role in keeping your hair, skin, and nails healthy by helping produce proteins like keratin [2]. It's found in foods like eggs, meat, nuts, and seeds [1].

    Your body needs biotin to function properly. While most people get enough biotin from their diet, some might benefit from supplements, especially if their diet isn't balanced.

    Can your body produce biotin?

    No, your body can’t produce biotin on its own. Biotin is readily available in many foods, and your gut bacteria even chip in to produce some [3].



    When should you take biotin?

    The timing of taking biotin doesn't have a significant impact on its effectiveness. It can be taken in the morning or at night, based on personal preference and convenience.

    How does biotin work in your body?



    What are some benefits of biotin?

    Biotin is essential for maintaining good health. Here are a few benefits of maintaining sufficient biotin in your diet.

    1. Supports pregnancy

      Pregnancy and lactation increase the need for nutrients, and biotin isn’t an exception. Studies show that some pregnant women may face a marginal biotin deficiency, potentially affecting preterm labor and fetal growth [6].

    2. Enhances hair, skin, and nails

      While biotin supplements may not be a magical solution for everyone's hair, skin, and nails, they shine in addressing deficiencies [2].

    3. Reduces blood sugar

      Biotin may be beneficial as a dietary supplement. Research suggests that it could have an impact on blood sugar and lipid levels, which are important factors in metabolic health. However, further studies are required to comprehensively evaluate its effectiveness, especially in the context of managing conditions like Type 2 Diabetes [7].

    4. AAAAA


    What are some signs of biotin deficiency?

    Biotin is an important B vitamin, and not having enough of it can cause problems with your skin, hair, nails, and how you feel overall [8].

    • Hair Loss: If you don't have enough biotin, your hair might become thin or fall out. Biotin is important for keeping your hair follicles healthy, and not having enough can affect how your hair grows and stays in place.
    • Brittle Nails: Biotin also helps in keeping your nails strong. If you're low on biotin, your nails can become brittle and break easily.
    • Skin Rashes: Not having enough biotin can lead to skin problems like red and scaly rashes around your eyes, nose, and mouth. Biotin is needed for your skin to stay healthy and regenerate.
    • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye): Low levels of biotin might cause pink eye. This happens because biotin-dependent enzymes, which are necessary for eye health, might not work well if you're deficient.
    • Neurological Symptoms: Though it's not common, a severe lack of biotin can bring on neurological issues. This might include numbness and tingling in your arms and legs, muscle cramps, and trouble coordinating your movements.
    • Fatigue: Biotin helps your body use energy, and not having enough can make you feel tired and sluggish. It might even contribute to feelings of low energy.

    Never self-diagnose

    If you feel you may have a deficiency or are concerned or curious about taking this supplement, talk to a doctor or healthcare professional. They can accurately diagnose and recommend the appropriate treatment plan for your specific needs.

    Sources of biotin

    Biotin can be obtained from various sources, primarily from foods but also from supplements when dietary intake is insufficient.

    Biotin-rich foods

    Below is a categorization of various foods based on their biotin content, helping you to identify sources that can boost your dietary biotin intake.

    Is food intake always the best?

    Obtaining biotin from food is generally recommended. However, in cases of significant deficiency, dietary restrictions, or certain health conditions, supplements may be necessary.

    Biotin supplement formulations

    Delivery methods

    Biotin supplements come in various delivery methods, each offering its own set of benefits and ways of consumption. Here's a brief overview of the different delivery methods:

    Choose a method that fits your routine

    Do not overlook the delivery method. Biotin supplements come in tablets, capsules, soft gel, chewable, powders, and liquid forms—choose the one that best fits your daily routine to stay consistent.

    What to look for in biotin supplements

    When selecting a supplement, several key factors must be considered to ensure you choose a high-quality product that effectively supports your health goals and overall well-being.

    • Dosage and potency

      The dosage of biotin in supplements varies, so it's important to choose one that aligns with your specific needs. This includes considering your age, gender, and health status, like pregnancy or existing deficiencies. The biotin formulation can impact its potency and bioavailability, which affects how effectively your body can absorb and use it.

    • Quantity and delivery method

      The delivery method is crucial. Biotin supplements come in various forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, chewables, and liquid forms. Your choice may depend on factors like ease of swallowing, convenience for traveling, or personal preference regarding taste and texture. Also, evaluate the quantity of biotin to determine how long it will last based on your daily requirements.

    • Quality and manufacturing

      Quality is paramount when selecting biotin supplements. Look for products manufactured under strict quality control guidelines and those that have undergone third-party testing for purity and label accuracy. Certifications from recognized bodies can be a reliable indicator of a high-quality product. Additionally, consider the manufacturer's reputation and transparency in their production processes.


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    How and when should you take biotin for maximum absorption?

    To get the most out of your biotin supplement, it's crucial to consider the timing and method of consumption. The following dos and don'ts offer guidance on optimizing absorption, efficiently supporting your health and wellness, and minimizing potential discomfort.


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      Take with water to aid in swallowing and digestion.

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      Consider morning consumption; start the day with your supplement routine.

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      Check for potential interactions with other medications.


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      Don't exceed the recommended dosage without consulting a healthcare provider.

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      Avoid taking on an empty stomach if you experience gastrointestinal sensitivity.

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      Don't overlook biotin-rich foods like milk, carrots, salmon, and nuts for natural intake.

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      Avoid self-prescribing high doses; as most people get enough biotin through their diet.

    Who should take biotin?

    Taking biotin supplements has its potential benefits, but it may not be for everyone.

    Recommended dosage

    Biotin plays an important role in many physiological processes, and getting the right dosage is essential for maintaining optimal health at different life stages. Here are the recommended dosages for biotin across various age groups.

    Side effects of excessive biotin consumption

    While biotin supplements are generally safe when taken within recommended limits, excessive intake can have adverse effects:

    • Allergic Reactions: Rare but possible, symptoms can include skin rashes, itchiness, or even more severe reactions.
    • Interference with Lab Tests: High doses of biotin can lead to false results in certain blood tests, including thyroid and cardiovascular tests.
    • Miscellaneous Effects: Overconsumption might cause skin rashes, digestive upset, problems with insulin release, and kidney problems in some cases.

    Always consult your doctor

    If you're experiencing side effects, consult your healthcare provider. They may recommend a different biotin formulation or adjust your dosage. Balancing your biotin needs with any discomfort is crucial and should not be overlooked.

    Health made easy: your go-to resource for essential vitamins and supplements

    Frequently asked questions about biotin (FAQ)

    Our library of expert-authored articles covers just about every question you might have about vitamins, minerals, and supplements — along with some you might not have known you had.

    Final thoughts

    In summary, biotin, a B vitamin, is generally safe and beneficial for hair, skin, and nail health. As with any supplement, it's recommended to consult a healthcare provider before starting biotin, especially for people with specific health conditions or dietary requirements.

    Sources and references

    1. Biotin - Health Professional Fact Sheet
    2. A Randomized Double-Blind Evaluation of a Novel Biotin and Silicon Ingredient Complex on the Hair and Skin of Healthy Women.
    3. Impairment of gut microbial biotin metabolism and host biotin status in severe obesity: effect of biotin and prebiotic supplementation on improved metabolism
    4. Biotin Supplementation Ameliorates Murine Colitis by Preventing NF-κB Activation - ScienceDirect
    5. Influence of biotin intervention on glycemic control and lipid profile in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis
    6. Serum biotin level during pregnancy is associated with fetal growth and preterm delivery
    7. Influence of biotin intervention on glycemic control and lipid profile in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis - PMC
    8. Full article: Biotinidase Deficiency: Prevalence, Impact And Management Strategies
    9. ORIGINAL - Serum biotin level during pregnancy is associated with fetal growth and preterm delivery


    Stephanie Wright avatar

    Stephanie brings over 13 years of diverse nursing experience to the table, having honed her expertise in critical care, mental health, and utilization management. Her journey as a registered nurse across these various healthcare sectors underscores her adaptability and deep commitment to patient care.

    Fact checker

    Dr. Dimitar Marinov avatar

    Dr. Marinov has years of experience in scientific research and preventive and clinical medicine. His publications in peer-reviewed journals are on nutritional status, physical activity, and musculoskeletal disorders among adolescents.

    At VitaRx, we're not just passionate about our work — we take immense pride in it. Our dedicated team of writers diligently follows strict editorial standards, ensuring that every piece of content we publish is accurate, current, and highly valuable. We don't just strive for quality; we aim for excellence.

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