If you’ve ever looked up how to grow your hair longer or promote healthier skin, you’ve probably encountered biotin in your search results.
Biotin, a member of the B-vitamin family, is a well-known supplement marketed as a tool for better hair, skin, and nails. But it’s function is more than skin-deep.
Registered Dietician Scarlett Full explains that this essential B-vitamin’s primary function is to assist with your metabolism. This, of course, helps your body to convert and break down anything you nosh on into usable energy to get you through work, Aaptiv workouts, and anything else your day demands of you.
Here’s what you need to know about this all-star vitamin and how to ensure that you’re digesting enough.
What are the benefits of biotin?
Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FAND explains biotin has supportive roles for our organs, most notably, our metabolism.
This means that it helps the enzymes in carbs, fats, or proteins do their job, helping you to maintain a healthy weight and process your food effectively.
From producing the fatty acids we need to breaking down amino acids, when we have a healthy dose of biotin in our system, our bodies have an easier time functioning. However, there are some studies around biotin that Ayoob says still require further research, such as their part in insulin resistance.
How do we consume biotin?
Dr. Amy Heaton explains that this B-vitamin is water-soluble, which means that it’s a goodie that our body uses, but doesn’t store. When you have enough biotin, it’ll naturally absorb.
However, when you overdo it (more on that later), it goes to waste, since it leaves our body via urine.
Do we need supplements?
Biotin supplements are often a common purchase for those wanting to solve hair, nail, and skin issues. But Full says that there might not be a real use for them unless you have an actual deficiency, which she says is rare.
“Signs of a deficiency include brittle nails, hair loss, and skin rashes. [This] is why supplement companies make such claims and some doctors may recommend supplemental biotin,” she continues. “However, evidence to support that biotin treats these conditions is weak.”
On the other hand, taking supplements won’t hurt you as long as you don’t overdo it. According to Full, it’s important to pay attention to the dosage.
The recommended daily intake is around 30 mcg, while most supplements feature 5,000 to 10,000 mcg. Biotin toxicity is not common.
However, if you have too much fueling through your body, your blood tests could be jeopardized. That’s why experts recommend getting the majority of this B7 vitamin from food.
What foods are rich in biotin?
Full says that the most powerful sources of biotin include meats, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, and certain veggies, like sweet potato or spinach. Ayoob adds that canned salmon and beef liver are excellent sources too.
Both give you the extra benefit of protein, keeping you fuller for longer. If you are a big fan of breakfast (which, ahem, you should be!), Dr. Heaton says that bananas, breakfast cereals, and many nutrition bars are also fortified with biotin.
Do experts recommend any supplements?
According to our sources, nope. But, if you want to strengthen your hair, Dr. Heaton says to go the topical route instead.
For women and men looking for a drug-free dietary supplement that works naturally with the body to regrow hair that is structurally ‘younger’, Dr. Heaton recommends an ingredient called ‘Chromaviv.’
It also combats virtually all the signs of aging hair. These include hair loss, thinning, breakage, dullness, reduced volume, fullness, and even graying. She explains that it features a melanin-infused keratin that keeps our hair follicles soft, vibrant, and healthy. There are very few products that feature this all-star, so make sure to read labels carefully before purchasing. Plus, remember, you might have to pay a bit more since it isn’t easily found.
According to Registered Dietitian Laura Cipullo, taking a biotin supplement isn’t a great idea, but a different type of vitamin could be helpful. Vitamin D3 is consumed via the sun, and especially when the colder weather starts arrive, it can be difficult to get enough. So, a daily pill may be helpful.
Now that you have proper supplementation, try out Aaptiv’s workouts. We have classes for every fitness level in many different categories. You’re sure to find something you’ll love!