Nutrition

What's the Deal with Biotin? Here's What We Know

2 min read

Let's talk about the benefits of biotin, and whether you should be taking a biotin supplement.
Let's talk about the benefits of biotin, and whether you should be taking a biotin supplement.

Suffice to say that biotin has a bit of a reputation—even if it’s not always entirely accurate. That’s not to say that biotin doesn’t play a role in supporting our health. To the contrary, this B-vitamin (vitamin B7, to be precise) is important for supporting normal energy-yielding metabolism. That makes it especially key during pregnancy. But at the end of the day, we all need biotin—we just might not all need biotin supplementation.*

So, does biotin belong in a multivitamin?

The thing is, most of us get adequate biotin via the food we eat—with the exception of pregnant women, who need a bit more biotin to make sure their daily needs are covered. (We’ll get to that in a minute.)

The adequate intake (or AI) for biotin for both men and women 19 and older is 30 mcg, and the good news is that it’s found in a wide range of foods: Eggs and beef liver are particularly rich sources, but biotin is also found in salmon, sweet potatoes, almonds, sunflower seeds, cauliflower, and avocado, to name a few. Like all B-vitamins, biotin is a water-soluble vitamin. That means your body passes any excess through urination, instead of storing it for later use. (1)

Basically, if you typically aim for a balanced, well-varied diet of nutrient-rich foods, chances are your biotin needs are covered. That’s why you probably don’t need any biotin in your regular multivitamin. (1)

Biotin during pregnancy

On the other hand, we use more biotin when we’re pregnant to help support increased metabolic demand. That’s why marginal biotin shortfalls are more common among those who are expecting—in fact, the National Institutes of Health estimate that more than one-third of pregnant women have marginally low biotin levels. (1,2)

Since biotin has an especially important job during pregnancy, it’s best to ensure that your needs are covered through supplementation–which is where a quality prenatal can come in handy.*

References:

  1. Office of Dietary Supplements - Biotin. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Institutes of Health
  2. Mock, D. M. (2008). ... Biotin in Normal Human Pregnancy.... The Journal of Nutrition, 139(1), 154–157. doi: 10.3945/jn.108.095273

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