B complex vitamins are crucial nutrients the body needs to convert food into energy, among other important bodily functions. Of all the B vitamins, biotin, also known as vitamin B7, has become a beauty essential. Found in dietary supplements, cosmetics and personal care products, biotin is believed to support healthier-looking hair, skin and nails. Read more about the potentials of biotin for beauty in this blog.
Biotin is a B-vitamin that helps your body convert food into energy, a process that occurs when the enzymes containing biotin metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins, providing the body with the fuel it needs to function optimally. Biotin also supports the health of mothers and babies during pregnancy and breastfeeding; promotes healthy blood sugar levels already within the normal range; supports liver and eye health; and supports the overall healthy-looking appearance of hair, skin and nails.
When people don’t get enough biotin in their diet, they may experience hair loss, dry scaly skin, cheilitis (red, cracking lips), glossitis (swollen tongue), dry eyes, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia or depression. While deficiency is rare, some studies suggest supplements may specifically benefit people with thinning, splitting, or brittle hair; brittle toenails or fingernails; or red, dry skin.
While biotin can be found naturally in brewer’s yeast, egg yolk, nuts, cauliflower and mushrooms, it is also available in multivitamins, B complex vitamins, individual supplements and more. Here are more details about the potential benefits the vitamin may offer for various beauty-related needs.
Biotin for Hair
The natural aging process, stress, lack of sleep, frequent use of hair products or heat damage, as well as a poor diet may all contribute to thinning or brittle hair. Proteins, essential fatty acids, and foods rich in B vitamins all help keep the scalp and hair follicles healthy. Some dermatologists also believe taking a biotin supplement may support the keratin (basic protein) infrastructure that makes up hair, making it healthier-looking, stronger and thicker, so it is less likely to break or fall off.
Healthy blood circulation within the scalp gives hair follicles the ability to grow strong. You can keep your scalp hydrated and healthy by taking supplements of biotin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc, to support your hair’s resistance to breakage. For infants, biotin transferred through breast milk may protect against a scaly scalp skin known as cradle cap.
Biotin for Skin and Nails
Over time, sugar molecules may age the skin through a process called glycation, so try your best to avoid white sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. To protect your skin, you can also take a specialized supplement of vitamins and minerals formulated to support circulatory health, tissue function and metabolism.
Sources believe biotin may support fat metabolism and skin hydration, promoting healthy-looking skin with a youthful appearance. However, research indicates supplementation may have a greater chance at potentially benefitting people who already have a deficiency.
As for nail health, biotin may help spur nail growth, potentially benefitting people with nails that easily chip, split or crack.
Biotin for Mothers and Babies
Research suggests that pregnant women may develop a mild biotin deficiency, which could result in birth defects. Taking a supplement may support embryonic development during pregnancy and support the health of the mother and baby during breastfeeding. Because it’s water-soluble, excess amounts of the vitamin are released from the body during urination, so most recommended daily serving sizes as considered adequate by researchers.
How Much to Take
The National Academy of Sciences recommends these total daily dosages of biotin from food or dietary supplements.
- Infants birth – 6 months: 5 mcg
- Infants 7 – 12 months: 6 mcg
- Children 1 – 3 years: 8 mcg
- Children 4 – 8 years: 12 mcg
- Children 9 – 13 years: 20 mcg
- Adolescents 14 – 18 years: 25 mcg
- 19 years and older: 30 mcg
- Pregnant women: 30 mcg
- Breastfeeding women: 35 mcg
As with all supplements, consult your doctor before taking a dietary supplement, or giving it to a child. Natural Healthy Concepts also offers other supplements that support healthier-looking hair, skin and nails. Be sure to browse of wide selection today!
Keep in mind, if you take biotin supplements, be sure to inform your doctor. The FDA has found that biotin may interfere with certain lab tests and cause incorrect test results which may go undetected.
Have you tried biotin supplements? How did it affect your hair, skin and nails? Share your story in the comments below!