Fact checked by Nick Blackmer
Biotin is a B vitamin involved in metabolism that may have benefits for skin, hair, and nails.
Some over-the-counter biotin supplements exceed the recommended daily dose of the micronutrient, but experts note that’s rarely a cause for concern.
Experts recommend people who are concerned about their biotin use speak with a trusted health care professional.
Getting enough biotin is important but is it possible to get too much?
Originally called vitamin H, biotin has been recognized as a micronutrient since 1927. Since then, the vitamin has quickly become a popular dietary supplement.
And, supplement use still appears to be on an upward trajectory. According to 2020 research, the prevalence of biotin use has increased from 0.1% of the US adult population in 19992000 to 2.8% in 20152016.
Biotin is known for its beneficial effects on the skin, and getting enough of it (30 micrograms per day for adults) supports other areas of health as well.
Meeting biotin needs is important for hair health, hormone health, and metabolism, says Vanessa King, MS, RDN, clinical nutrition manager for The Queens Health System in Honolulu, Hawaii, and spokesperson for the Academy. of Nutrition and Dietetics. Health.
While biotin use is worth prioritizing, there is a possibility of too much of a good thing.
Here’s how much biotin is needed, as well as the effects of taking too much.
What is Biotin?
Despite its original H moniker, biotin is a B vitamin. Today, it also goes by the name vitamin B7.
It is a cofactor for multiple enzymes involved in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. In other words, it helps the body convert food into energy.
In addition to its effects on metabolism, biotin has been studied for its potential effects on skin health and hair growth.
King explains that biotin deficiency is associated with skin rashes, hair loss, and brittle nails.
Some research has shown that increasing biotin intake can make a significant difference for people with these health issues.
For example, a 2017 study of 18 people found that biotin helped improve hair and nail growth.
However, some experts say there isn’t enough research to prove the connection between biotin and healthier hair and nails.
I do not recommend regular biotin supplementation for patients with hair loss, says Anthony Rossi, MD, dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Health. Most studies show no benefit to biotin supplementation unless a person has a lab-proven biotin deficiency.
According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, only case reports not research studies have supported claims that biotin supplements promote hair and skin health.
Related: The 8 Best Eyelash Growth Serums to Grow and Lengthen Your Look
Who Can Benefit From Biotin Supplements?
Although research may not have proven a connection between biotin and stronger nails, skin, and hair, B7 supplements may still be worth a try.
Anecdotal reports indicate that some people experience benefits in these areas, said Reid Maclellan, MD, adjunct faculty at Harvard Medical School and founder and CEO of the dermatology app Cortina. Health.
While there is no evidence to support the claim that taking biotin will help improve the health or overall appearance of your hair, nails, and growth, some people have had some success with faster nail growth. or hair after taking a biotin supplement, he said.
Biotin deficiency is another reason you may need to turn to supplements.
There is such a thing as a biotin deficiency, but it’s uncommon, Maclellan says. This deficiency is most common in pregnant women, when alcohol consumption is high, in smokers, and during malnutrition.
Bacterial imbalances in the GI tract from antibiotics or inflammatory bowel disease can also put people at risk of biotin deficiency, Rossi says.
Too Much Biotin Can Result in Undesirable Side Effects
The recommended daily intake of biotin is 30 micrograms, but many over-the-counter supplements exceed this level.
NOW Foods extra-strength biotin capsules, for example, contain 10,000 micrograms, and Pure Research liquid biotin drops provide a staggering 20,000 micrograms per dose.
So, are the levels dangerous?
In general, no. There is no established upper limit of toxic levels for biotin, in part because the body excretes what it cannot use.
It’s difficult to consume too much biotin from supplementation because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, and too much is detoxified through the urine, Maclellan says.
Then again, that doesn’t mean you won’t experience any side effects from overusing it with biotin.
Maclellan explains that some people report nausea or gastrointestinal upset, and sleep complications or dehydration may also occur.
According to King, very high biotin supplementation can also interfere with the results of some lab tests, such as thyroid and troponin.
Related: The 8 Best Vitamins for Healthy Hair Growth, According to Experts
How to Get Enough Biotin From Your Diet
Most people can get enough biotin from a well-rounded diet.
A surprising range of both plant and animal foods contain this nutrient.
To ensure your intake is adequate, King recommends focusing on the following:
If you’re concerned that your diet isn’t giving you the biotin you need, talk to your doctor or registered dietitian about the possibility of supplementation.
While they may recommend a supplement to help you reach your daily 30 micrograms, you may not need or even be able to use the very high levels of many commercial supplements.
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