Vitamin B7, also known as Biotin, is an essential nutrient that can be found in many different foods and can also be taken as a supplement. You have probably heard about Biotin in health and beauty advice, but Biotin has many health benefits beyond strengthening your hair, nails, and skin — yes, please!
Vessel has all the information you need to know about all things Biotin. Keep reading to learn more about Biotin, where you can find it, how much you should take, and how it can benefit you.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is one of eight essential B vitamins. It is used in a wide range of metabolic processes related to fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids, which helps your body convert food into energy.
The word “Biotin” comes from the Greek word biotos, which means “life.” It’s a fitting name because it helps nourish and strengthen the body in many different ways. Biotin is especially vital during pregnancy because it helps provide energy to both the mother and the developing child.
Sources of Biotin
You may not realize it, but many of your favorite foods are great sources of Biotin. Go, you!
Common sources of Biotin include:
- Salmon: Three ounces of cooked salmon contains 17 percent of your recommended Biotin intake. It’s a delicious and nutritious way to satisfy nearly 1/5 of your daily Biotin needs!
- Eggs: Eggs can provide 33 percent of your daily Biotin intake, and they are so easy to incorporate into your diet. Just scramble some eggs or make an omelet before you leave for work or school, or try a fancy new recipe for your weekend brunch and make that Biotin Insta-worthy. Make sure to cook your eggs and include the yolk — raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin that actually blocks Biotin absorption. (Lame.)
- Beef Liver: Beef liver is one of the most Biotin-rich foods you can consume. Three ounces of beef liver contains 103 percent of your daily Biotin intake. Incorporating organ meats like liver into your diet might be new to you, but there are plenty of great recipes online to get you started!
- Avocados: A whole avocado has 20 percent of your daily Biotin intake. Avocados are rich in many other nutrients, too, like healthy fatty acids, and can be used in tons of different recipes. Use this versatile ingredient in guacamole, burgers, salads, or really just add it to any other dish you’re craving.
- Pork Chops: Pork chops are also a great source of Biotin, and are a great choice for family dinner. In one three-ounce serving, you can get 13 percent of your daily Biotin intake.
- Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are a great way for vegetarians and vegans to consume more Biotin. Supplement your daily Biotin intake by consuming nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, or peanut butter!
Biotin can also be found in whole grains, cereals, spinach, cauliflower, bananas, brie cheese, and legumes.
If you are not getting enough Biotin, it's important to increase your daily intake through dietary supplements. If you don’t know whether your Biotin levels are high enough, you are very literally in exactly the right place.
Vessel’s Wellness Test Card lets you test not only Biotin, but other important markers of health like pH, Cortisol, Hydration, and much more. You can learn more about our easy, affordable at-home testing here!
Benefits of Biotin
Biotin is a must-have nutrient to support proper bodily functions. Some people receive the proper amount of Biotin in their food, but most others can benefit from Biotin supplements to support their hair, skin, nails, cholesterol, and even their blood sugar.
Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails
People with a Biotin deficiency often find that they are experiencing hair loss or that their nails are becoming weaker.
First, Biotin levels affect the health of your skin. Biotin breaks down fatty acids that help protect skin cells from damage and water loss. This fatty acid breakdown reduces dry, itchy skin and helps trap moisture beneath the skin’s surface.
Biotin’s role in the breakdown of fatty acids also helps strengthen hair follicles, which reduces the chances of hair thinning or breaking. Finally, Biotin assists keratin production (AKA the protein that helps build your skin, hair, and nails), helping strengthen brittle fingernails.
When you have high cholesterol, you have a higher chance of cardiovascular disease with an increased risk of a stroke or heart attack. Biotin has been thought to help lower LDL levels (the “bad” cholesterol), helping to support your heart health. B vitamins have also been known to help reduce inflammation in the arteries, and a healthy heart leads to a happier you!
Balances Blood Sugar and Improves Metabolism
Biotin is typically prescribed alongside insulin because Biotin can help regulate and lower blood sugar levels. Biotin supplements may be able to help people with metabolic health issues balance their blood sugar.
Biotin also helps speed up your metabolism, meaning it may aid with weight loss (of course, when paired with a healthy diet and exercise routine!).
What is a Biotin Deficiency?
A Biotin deficiency happens when you aren’t receiving enough Biotin in your diet to support healthy bodily functions. Luckily, low levels of Biotin are very rare.
Nevertheless, some signs that you might be experiencing a Biotin deficiency include:
- Thinning hair
- Red skin rashes
- Conjunctivitis (aka “pink eye”)
- Brittle nails
- Hearing and vision loss
- Mental health issues
Some people are more prone to Biotin deficiencies than others. If you think you fit into one of the categories below, you should consider testing your Biotin levels:
- People Using Anti-Seizure Medications: It’s common for people on anti-seizure medications to have low levels of Biotin because these medications can make it difficult for the body to absorb Biotin naturally.
- Long-Term Antibiotics Users: Antibiotics reduce certain digestive germs that help your body use Biotin. People who are prescribed antibiotics for long-term usage should consider testing their Biotin levels.
- Heavy Drinkers and Smokers: Alcohol is known to lower Biotin levels, and cigarette smoking can have the same effect.
If you think you may have a Biotin deficiency or if you just want to stay on top of your Biotin levels, Vessel makes it easy to test your nutrient and vitamin levels at home with our Wellness Test Cards. Just pee on the test strip, scan it with your smartphone, and our app will guide you through the rest!
How Much Biotin Do You Need?
Depending on your age and any underlying health conditions you may have, the amount of Biotin you need may vary. Biotin deficiency is rare because so many foods we eat have enough Biotin to give us what we need naturally.
For example, pregnant women will sometimes have lower levels of Biotin throughout their pregnancy, but Biotin is necessary for their baby’s development. So, pregnant women may benefit from a Biotin supplement.
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, which means your body cannot store it and save it for later; you have to consume it daily because any extra you consume just gets flushed out in your urine.
The National Academy of Medicine has determined how much Biotin different individuals need each day based on age, health, and diet, with slight differences for pregnant women:
Biotin: Adequate Intake (AI)
19 years and up
What Happens If I Take Too Much Biotin?
Although Biotin is safe for use during pregnancy, high doses of Biotin above your daily dietary allowance are not advised. You might want to call your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.
Minor side effects of Biotin include nausea, cramping, and diarrhea. According to the NIH, high levels of Biotin are in no way toxic since they are water-soluble and can easily be flushed out of your system.
Should I Take Biotin Supplements?
Individuals who believe they are not consuming enough Biotin in their diet might consider starting Biotin supplements. Those at a higher risk for Biotin deficiency should monitor their symptoms and regularly test for low Biotin levels to determine whether Biotin supplements are right for them.
If you are unsure of your Biotin levels, you can test your Biotin levels without leaving the comfort of your home. Vessel Health is here to help you learn more about your nutrient and vitamin levels. We can tell you which supplements and dietary changes may benefit you—all you have to do is use our Wellness Card.
Vessel Health Wellness Card
The Vessel Health Wellness Card is a way to track what’s going on in your body, including your Biotin levels. When you sign up for Vessel’s membership, you gain access to tons of tools and resources like our nutrient database and wellness coaching to help you track important health markers alongside stress and food habits. The card is easy to use and gives you immediate access to loads of data that can help you understand your health.
How It Works
Using Vessel’s Wellness Card is easy. We’ll send you our test strip, and all you have to do is use it! Use our Wellness Card in three simple steps:
- Pee on the test strip, wait three minutes, then scan it using the Vessel app.
- Receive instant results that provide suggestions for which food, supplement, and lifestyle changes will be the most impactful.
- Implement these changes, and watch your Biotin levels improve!
We believe that information is everything. We also know there can be gaps in a person’s understanding of their health because of how the information is presented — it was only very recently that there’s been an emphasis in healthcare on making sure patients actually understand test results, diagnoses, and the health implications they can have.
Vessel’s mission is to help people better understand their health, without all the confusing medical jargon. With Vessel, you can understand your health on a new level.
Vessel was developed by nutritionists, doctors, and research scientists working together to help you improve your health, vitality, and longevity.
Our founder, Jon Carder, had his own health journey that led him to create Vessel. Carder noticed surprising new symptoms appearing in his 30s which affected his ability to be his best self, like brain fog, trouble sleeping, and low energy. After a lot of complicated and expensive tests, Carder and his doctor found nutrient deficiencies and high toxin levels that were causing these changes.
Once he identified the problem, Carder was able to adjust his nutrition and feel better than he had in years. Even though his issue had been solved, he was disillusioned by how complicated and pricey the testing process was. He learned that healthcare can feel inaccessible, and he wanted to give more people the ability to easily optimize their health and wellbeing.
With Vessel, you can track your health and make changes that actually make a tangible difference you can test for yourself.
Summing It Up
Biotin is an essential part of your daily life — it’s referred to as one of the essential vitamins because it helps energize us throughout the day. Making sure that you have enough Biotin in your diet is vital for skin, nails, hair, and heart health, on top of much, much more.
There are so many foods available to us that support our Biotin needs, but it’s important to know when food sources alone aren’t enough and there’s room for improvement.
Understanding the health of your body helps you know when to make positive lifestyle changes. Vessel Health offers an easy, digestible way to learn more about your body, including Biotin levels.
Sign up today to learn more about your body’s needs!