If you’ve attempted to find a solution for broken nails, split ends, and dull skin, there’s a good chance you’ve stumbled across biotin as a holy-grail product. Highly marketed as a “miracle” vitamin, it’s on the shelves at pretty much every beauty and health retailer. But no matter how many glowing reviews a product receives, it’s always a good idea to get the opinion of a health expert. I did just that by reaching out to a doctor who focuses primarily on holistic health. Read on to find out which biotin supplements are doctor recommended and which ones are taking over the internet with glowing reviews.
Biotin (also known as B7 or vitamin H and sometimes even referred to as coenzyme R) is one of the water-soluble B-vitamins within B-complexes and sometimes multivitamins. It’s found in a variety of food sources including egg yolks, salmon, mushrooms, and spinach but also produced in our bodies. It’s not an essential vitamin, but because it’s water-soluble, our bodies cannot hold large amounts of biotin internally, and it can’t stay in the body long, so it’s best to supplement it daily.
“Biotin increases the strength of hair strands, as it simulates keratin production, which can increase the rate of hair follicle growth,” explains Lana Butner, a naturopathic doctor serving NYC and the surrounding areas. “B7 increases the strength of nail matrices, decreasing the occurrence of brittle nails and frequency of your fingernails splitting.” To see a major impact on the hair and nails, Butner recommends supplementing for at least four to six months (5000 micrograms per day). It’s also helpful for individuals with diabetic symptoms, such as neuropathic pain.
For some users, the vitamin is not without its drawbacks. “Biotin can have some interactions with various thyroid markers on bloodwork, making thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) appear falsely decreased and free T4 and free T3 falsely elevated,” shares Butner. However, other than thyroid interaction on bloodwork, supplementing with biotin is relatively benign. Butner favors biotin supplements with 5000 micrograms up to 10,000 micrograms per capsule. Some of her favorites include Pure Encapsulations Biotin 8mg, Vital Nutrients Biotin 10mg, and the Allergy Research Group HiBiotin.