Biotin is an important B vitamin that functions in many processes in the body. B vitamins are water-soluble and so they need to be taken daily as they are excreted from the body quickly. Not only are they needed for normal metabolism of nutrients (like carbohydrates, proteins and fats) but they are also a vital component of skin, hair, eyes and the liver according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. They are also needed for the nervous system to function properly.

The link between biotin and nail growth

When tested on animals such as horses and pigs, biotin supplements help to treat hoof abnormalities. This led scientists to believe that biotin can help treat brittle fingernails in humans. Uncontrolled trials on women with brittle fingernails found that when these women took biotin supplements, they experienced increased fingernail thickness and reduced fingernail splitting. Larger and more controlled trials are still necessary to completely establish the link between biotin supplementation and improved nail growth, but the evidence that all of these studies offer is quite reasonable to suggest that biotin can help with nail growth.

Biotin doesn’t necessarily help nails grow faster (they grow about one millimeter a month), but because of the decreased splitting and increase in their thickness, they grow more steadily and do not break as easily, which can speed up the overall process if a person is trying to grow their nails.

How biotin features in everyday health

Deficiencies in biotin can have a range of health effects. The affected tissues are often hair, nails and skin. Biotin deficiencies may, therefore, cause hair loss, dry and scaly skin and brittle fingernails. Other symptoms of a biotin deficiency include a rash around the mouth, nose and eyes.

A number of factors have been associated with biotin deficiency. Prolonged consumption of egg whites, anti-seizure medication and antibiotics have been shown to interfere with biotin absorption. Conditions like Crohn’s disease may also have an effect on its absorption.

During pregnancy the bodies need for biotin is likely to increase, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. This is because it is broken down more quickly. Reduced biotin intake during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects and abnormal development of an embryo or fetus.

Sources of Biotin

Food sources of biotin include cooked liver and egg yolk. Uncooked egg can reduce biotin absorption so be sure to cook the egg properly. A 3 oz. serving of liver contains 27 to 35 micrograms of biotin which is about 100% of the recommended daily intake for adults. One egg yolk contains about a third of the recommended daily intake.

There are also biotin supplements available for people who cannot obtain enough through food sources. Potential customers should always pay attention to the manufacturer of the supplement to see if they are trustworthy. Trustworthy manufacturers are completely transparent about what they put in a supplement as well as what guarantees are offered on the supplement.


There is a reasonable amount of scientific evidence to suggest that there is a link between taking biotin and improved nail growth. Some people may be getting enough biotin through their diet, but for those who experience brittle fingernails that break easily taking biotin is definitely a consideration.

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