At a glance
What is biotin?
The word “Biotin” comes from the ancient Greek “biotos”, meaning “life” or “sustenance.” With a name like that, it’s no wonder that Biotin has been linked to nourishing multiple areas of health, including being essential for building the proteins your body transforms into hair, skin, and nails. This includes keratin, the main structural protein found in your hair and your nails, as well as your body tissue in your skin. In fact, Biotin is also known as “Vitamin H”; the “H” comes from “Haar,” the German word for hair and skin.
Beyond that, Biotin is an essential nutrient that is present in certain foods and, of course, dietary supplements, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. And as encouraging as all that may be, we must refer to what the science says about this B Vitamin, especially when it comes to Biotin’s role in your beautiful hair, vibrant skin, and strong nails.
You have probably heard the benefits of B-Vitamins. They help the body convert food, specifically carbohydrates, into glucose, or “fuel,” which is used to produce energy. B-Vitamins also assist your body in metabolizing fats and protein, in addition to their important role in healthy hair, eyes, and liver. They even help your nervous system function properly.
By now, you’ve probably asked yourself, “What’s the deal with Biotin?” After all, it is connected to multiple areas of health both inside and outside our body. But the science tells us that the clinical evidence is quite limited.
In this article, we’ll cover all things Biotin — including the clinical evidence, the symptoms of Biotin deficiency, food sources containing this B-Vitamin, and more.
What The Science Says About Biotin
You may not know it from the hype surrounding what is called “the go-to vitamin for hair, skin, and nails,” but the jury is still out on Biotin. We do know that your body requires Biotin to help convert other nutrients into energy. And yes, it does play a key role in the health of your hair, skin, and nails. But what does the clinical research say about Biotin?
One study — a 3-month, randomized, place-controlled trial — tested the ability of a marine protein supplement containing Biotin to promote hair growth and decrease shedding in women with self-perceived thinning hair.
- The study notes that hair loss in women is often overlooked; it is a condition that affects women almost as frequently as it does men.
- 40% of Americans suffering from hair loss are women, while 40% of women have visible hair loss by 40 years of age.
- Hair loss in women may begin as early as their teens or 20s and increases with age.
- As a result, this study set out to evaluate the ability of an extra-strength marine protein supplement (MPS) to both strengthen and promote hair growth in adult women with a mean age of 48.6 years.
- The results demonstrated that, after 90 days of MPS tablet use, the number of terminal hairs increased, while the hair shedding decreased in women with self-perceived thinning hair.
- Note: the outcome of this study agreed with a separate study that tested the use of an oral supplement containing marine-derived protein and fish oil in significantly reducing hair loss in women.
However, despite the positive results of the study, it’s hard to determine if the marine protein or the biotin — or the combination — should get the credit.
“A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss” is a separate piece of evidence that sifts through 18 reported cases of Biotin use for hair and nail changes. In all 18 cases, patients who supplemented with Biotin had an underlying pathology for poor hair or nail growth. Furthermore, all cases displayed “evidence of clinical improvement” upon receiving Biotin.
And yet, the review concluded that the positive results could be attributed to the fact that the people in question all had a Biotin deficiency to begin with.
Again, the use of Biotin as a hair and nail growth supplement is prevalent, but research that demonstrates the actual efficacy of the vitamin is limited at best. And though the studies do show that Biotin plays a role in promoting hair growth in adult women, it is important to note that subjects combined Biotin with other nutrients and did not rely solely on Biotin to achieve these results.
However, there is hope for Biotin…
Clinically studied MB40X™ Biotin is a new, ultra-bioavailable Biotin matrix that is 40 times more bio-soluble than other Biotin formulas. Clinical evidence on ordinary Biotin is thin, but the all-new MB40X™ Biotin has shown in clinical studies to promote thicker hair in just 3 weeks. In all, MB40X™ is the subject of over 15 patents/pending patent applications worldwide, plus 28 research studies.
By blending the absorption power of Arginine and Silicon from Bonded Arginine Silicate with Biotin from Magnesium Biotinate, MB40X™ supercharges Biotin. The powerful, high absorption ingredients inside MB40X™ Biotin go to work to revitalize your skin, reinvigorate your hair, and more.
- Reduces facial wrinkles and fine lines in skin
- Improves skin texture, elasticity, and appearance
- Increases hair thickness in just 3 weeks, and then by 20% after 12 weeks.
- Increases hair density
The Rare Case of a Biotin Deficiency
Unlike other essential vitamins and minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Vitamin C, D, E, K, and others, a Biotin deficiency is rare — especially in people with a normal balanced diet.
However, according to “Biotin and Other Interferences in Immunoassays,” a concise guidebook by Amitava Dasgupta PhD, there are ways to develop a deficiency of Biotin. Dasgupta notes that prolonged consumption of raw eggs, for instance, may cause Biotin deficiency because it contains avidin — an antimicrobial protein that prevents Biotin from absorbing into your system.
Other studies show that smoking has been associated with increased biotin catabolism in women. A preliminary report published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the urinary concentrations of Biotin and some of its metabolites in both male and female smokers.
The results showed the urine of female smokers contain “significantly less urinary Biotin,” compared to the control subjects from previous studies. Furthermore, the evidence of accelerated Biotin metabolism in women who smoke lead to marginal Biotin deficiency.
Some symptoms of a Biotin deficiency include:
- Thinning hair, often with loss of color
- Skin rashes of both seborrheic and eczematous types
- Lethargy and hallucination, as well as numbness in hands, arms, legs, and feet (this is called paresthesia of extremities)
Food Sources of “Vitamin H”
Food Insight, a resource created and curated by food and nutrition experts at the International Food Information Council, says Biotin is found in red meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, and even some vegetables:
- Cooked beef liver
- Cooked eggs
- Canned, pink salmon
- Roasted Sunflower seeds
- Boiled spinach
- Raw broccoli
You see, Biotin is found in multiple food sources, but note: some food sources contain more Biotin than others. For example, 3 ounces of cooked beef liver yield 30.8 mcg per serving, whereas ½ of raw broccoli contains just 0.4 mcg per serving.
Be sure to head over to the official Food Insight website for a full list of food sources that contain Biotin.
Don’t Say “Bye” to Biotin!
Biotin is linked to multiple areas of health and is essential for building the proteins your body uses for your hair, skin, and nails. As great as this may sound, it only tells half the story on Biotin. The other half consists of the clinical evidence that either confirms or disputes the notion that Biotin is, in fact, a beauty boosting ingredient. And though the clinical evidence is scarce, the science tells us that the new MB40X™ Biotin is a gamechanger for this venerable but often misunderstood nutrient. It looks like “Vitamin H” is about to shine!