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Biotin vs. Collagen: What to Know

Biotin and Collagen

Both biotin and collagen supplements have grown in popularity in recent years: chances are that you’ve noticed them as primary or secondary ingredients in various supplements, often claiming to promote healthy aging and bone health along with supporting healthy hair, skin, and nails. But while biotin and collagen are often used in similar supplements, biotin and collagen are not the same. So, when it comes to biotin vs. collagen, what’s the difference? Is one better than the other? We’ll cover the similarities and differences between biotin and collagen below.

Biotin vs. Collagen: What to Know

Biotin and collagen are often found in supplements that claim to support healthy hair, skin, and nail growth. But while both biotin and collagen have similarities, they are compositionally and functionally different.

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is an essential vitamin that plays a crucial role in the body’s metabolism, helping enzymes break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and convert them to energy. Biotin is often found in supplements claiming to support healthy hair, skin, and nails. For individuals with certain conditions (including brittle nail syndrome and alopecia), biotin supplements can help strengthen hair shafts, reduce hair loss, and prevent nail breakage.

Collagen, on the other hand, is a protein that is naturally found in the body. It is the main component of connective tissues, such as bones, ligaments, tendons, skin, and blood vessels, providing elasticity and strength. Collagen is responsible for making more than 30% of your body’s protein content, and as collagen production slows with age, it becomes more difficult for the body to produce more. 

Biotin vs. Collagen: Dietary and Supplement Sources

Biotin deficiencies are rare, but they can occur. Risk factors for biotin deficiency include certain gastrointestinal diseases (like Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease), taking certain medications (including antiepileptics, isotretinoin, and prolonged antibiotic use), alcoholism, pregnancy, certain genetic conditions, and high levels of raw egg consumption. Individuals with these conditions may require biotin supplementation.

Still, most people can achieve adequate biotin intake through their diet. Biotin can be found in a wide range of dietary sources, including:

  • Organ meats (like beef liver and pork)
  • Fish (like salmon)
  • Nuts and legumes (including black-eyed peas, soybeans, almonds, peanuts, and pecans)
  • Fruits like bananas and avocados
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Cooked eggs
  • Whole grains

Getting adequate collagen, on the other hand, is not a one-step process. That’s because collagen comprises four amino acids – proline, glycine, lysine, and hydroxyproline – forming the triple helix that makes collagen together. So unlike with biotin intake, which simply requires foods or supplements containing biotin, getting enough collagen in your diet is a multi-step process. To have adequate levels of these amino acids necessary to make collagen, you need to be getting enough vitamin C, zinc, copper, and manganese. Dietary sources rich in proline, glycine, lysine, and hydroxyproline include:

  • Bone broth
  • Unflavored gelatin
  • Dairy products (especially parmesan)
  • Legumes
  • Spirulina
  • Non-genetically modified soy products, including tofu
  • Animal sources, including red meat, poultry, pork, fish, and eggs

Biotin vs. Collagen for Hair Growth

Some research indicates that biotin supplementation has a clinically significant beneficial impact for individuals with conditions like alopecia or uncombable hair syndrome. While it’s unclear at this point if collagen supplements contain enough collagen to support healthy hair, nails, and skin, collagen supplements are considered safe for general use, and ensuring adequate intake of the amino acids that make collagen will help support skin, hair, and nail health and growth throughout the aging process.

Learn more about selecting the best biotin supplement. To learn more about collagen, read about what is the best collagen supplement.