The Health Benefits of Biotin
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
The quest for fuller, healthier hair and longer nails has led many a person to take the supplement biotin.
The claim is that biotin will not only help your hair and nails grow, but it will also give you radiant skin. Biotin’s CV doesn’t stop there; it’s even also thought to be beneficial to your metabolism and nervous system.
We aren’t skeptics, but we do value research-backed claims. As such, we decided to examine some of the literature behind biotin’s fame and find out if taking biotin truly is the secret to healthier hair and a better-functioning body (spoiler: a newly discovered essential fatty acid might steal the show).
What Is Biotin?
Biotin is one of the B vitamins – it’s also called vitamin B7. The word biotin comes from the Greek word biotos, which has to do with life and living, which makes sense since a healthy serum level of biotin can make you glow with supported hair, skin, and nails.
It’s one of the essential nutrients your body needs to function properly, and it is also sometimes referred to as vitamin H. Biotin can be made by bacteria in your intestines, but for the most part our daily biotin requirements are met by the foods we eat.
Biotin is an essential water-soluble vitamin, which means our bodies do not store it and it gets passed out in urine. When a vitamin or mineral is essential, it means our bodies don’t make enough of it (or any at all) so we need to get it from our diets or from supplements.
Sources of Biotin
Biotin is found in both plants and animals. You’ll find biotin in:
- Organ meats — think beef liver, tongue, heart, and kidneys
- Cooked eggs (interestingly enough, eating raw egg whites prevents your body from absorbing the biotin because they contain the protein avidin)
- Fortified cereals
- Fish (especially salmon)
- Lean meats
- Seeds and nuts, including walnuts and peanuts
- Sweet potatoes
In the U.S., it is extremely uncommon to be deficient in biotin. We have access to many foods that contain biotin, and our daily recommended dietary allowance of biotin intake is 30 mg (30,000 mcg) per day.
If you are found to be deficient in biotin, you’ll develop symptoms that are fairly easy to spot.
The most common symptoms of biotin deficiency usually present together, and include:
- Hair thinning and loss
- A red, scaly skin rash
- Splitting, brittle nails
- Loss of appetite
Benefits of Biotin
Biotin has a reputation for being a hair and skin powerhouse supporter, and for helping support other processes in your body. Our bodies need adequate intakes of biotin to function, but let’s explore whether taking additional biotin in supplement form is actually beneficial to our health.
Hair and Nail Health
Hair and nails are made from keratin, a protein that grows in the base of your nails beds and deep in your hair follicles. Production of keratin proteins are usually slower than we’d like, especially if our goal is to add inches to our hair and length to our nails.
Biotin stimulates the production of keratin naturally; it’s part of what biotin naturally does in your body. However, there’s no scientific evidence that taking additional biotin (i.e. more than your body needs) will speed up keratin production or give you longer hair or sturdier-than-normal nails.
The caveat is if you are deficient in biotin. If you have a biotin deficiency, taking biotin will likely help you see an improvement in your hair and nail health (from weak to normal).
As for shampoos and nail treatments that contain biotin, there’s not much evidence that applying biotin topically will help improve the health of your hair or nails — sorry.
One of biotin’s roles in your body is to assist with fatty acid synthesis. This means it helps break down the fatty acids in your food and move them to the appropriate cells in your body that need them.
Your skin relies on fatty acids to produce new skin cells and stay hydrated. There are claims that because biotin helps aid your skin by metabolizing these fatty acids, taking a biotin supplement will help improve your skin health.
The truth is, unless you are deficient, taking additional biotin probably won’t make your skin glow like you expect it to. Your skin health depends on healthy skin cells, which naturally degrade as you age, and biotin can’t do anything to reverse that degradation.
Biotin’s involvement with the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats means it works with the liver to help carry out important processes. Your liver needs biotin to help assist with proper metabolic function, but taking more biotin won’t increase your metabolism.
In fact, some studies have found a link between the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and an increased circulating level of biotin. It’s unlikely you’d have too much biotin in your system from dietary sources alone, which is why it’s worth being cautious about taking high doses of biotin supplements.
Nervous System Health
Biotin helps support nerve health by fortifying the protective fibers, called myelin, that coat them. Because patients with muscular sclerosis suffer from a deterioration of this coating, it was thought that high doses of biotin supplementation could possibly reverse the damage.
Unfortunately, studies didn’t support this claim. Although biotin is necessary to support your nervous system and help it function properly, additional biotin doesn’t increase the way it functions or reverse damage it has sustained.
Blood Sugar Health
One promising study in animals concluded that taking biotin supplements could help support healthy blood sugar levels. Biotin may be able to help regulate blood glucose levels and support better triglyceride levels in patients with diabetes, though these results haven’t been replicated in human studies just yet.
The Bottom Line on Biotin
Your body definitely needs biotin to function properly, but as with virtually all vitamins and nutrients, taking more of it only helps if you are deficient, and most Americans aren’t deficient in biotin.
Thankfully, there’s another nutrient with scientifically-backed research supporting that it can help improve your hair, skin, and total body health.
For years, fat has gotten a bad rap because of dietary guidelines recommended in the 1970s telling us to cut fat, especially saturated fats, from our diets. It turns out, not all fat is bad, and not all saturated fats are bad. Further, we now know that some fats aren’t just good for us, they’re essential for our health.
C15:0 (aka pentadecanoic acid) is one such essential fatty acid.
C15:0 is an odd-chain, essential, saturated fatty acid that integrates into our cells to provide the cellular support we need to live healthier, longer.*
What C15:0 Does
The foundation of our health begins in our cells. The smallest part of all our organs, tissues, and systems, our cells determine how efficiently our bodily processes work, and whether they begin to fail. Supporting our cells supports our entire body.
C15:0 offers cellular support for the trillions of cells that make you, you.
Cell membrane support. Your cells are protected by their outer membranes, but as we age, our cell membranes can begin to erode, becoming flimsy and leaving our cells vulnerable to damage. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that dives deep into your cell membranes, integrating itself to keep them sturdy.*
- Increased mitochondrial function. Aging cells begin to experience slowed mitochondrial function. The mitochondria of our cells are responsible for creating the fuel our bodies need to carry out our day-to-day processes, so when mitochondria become lethargic, so do we. C15:0 has been shown to increase mitochondrial function by up to 45%, giving our cells the fuel they need to keep our bodies running efficiently at any age.*
- PPAR activation. C15:0 activates special receptors in your body (called PPARs) that regulate functions like sleep, mood, appetite, and even immunity, helping to restore homeostasis so your body is in balance, just as it should be.*
Sources of C15:0
C15:0 is found mostly in whole fat dairy products, like whole milk and full fat butter, and the solution to getting the C15:0 your cells need to thrive isn’t as easy as consuming more whole dairy products — doing so would mean you’d end up consuming unhealthy, even-chain saturated fats, extra calories, and a lot of sugar in the form of lactose.
Fatty15 is the first and only supplement that contains just one simple ingredient, FA15™, which is the pure, vegan-friendly version of C15:0. Just one capsule a day is all you need to give your cells the support they need to thrive, even with a few years under their belt.*
In addition to eating a balanced diet, getting exercise, and making good lifestyle choices, taking fatty15 can help you take back the reigns so you age on your own terms, feeling youthful again, and living healthier, longer.*
For Healthier Hair and Skin, Go Straight to the Cells
Taking biotin will help you if you’re deficient in biotin, but few people really are.
If you aren’t deficient and you’d like to help support the health of your hair, nails, and body, go straight to the cells with fatty15 — our customers report healthier skin and hair in 4-6 weeks, along with more energy, calmer mood, and deeper sleep.*
Get started with fatty15 today, and see why more than 9 out of 10 people who try it make fatty15 a regular part of their routine.
Reviewed by Eric Venn-Watson, MD, MBA.
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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