Fact or Fad: Biotin


Charlie Desnoyers, Staff Writer

If you have an Instagram, chances are you’ve seen a celebrity endorsing a cosmetic brand, skin care brand, etc, and seen them speak highly of the benefits of the product. One item in particular seen plastered across celebrity’s Instagram pages including the Kardashians, Real Housewives, and other celebrities is the Sugar Bear Hair Vitamin Brand. These small and colorful bear shaped gummy vitamins, on the company’s website, promise they will improve nail and skin quality, support hair growth, improve overall health, and nourish your hair from within. These controversial claims, yet to be approved by the FDA, are caused by a vitamin named Biotin.

Biotin, also known as vitamin H, is a vitamin that aids in the digestion of food into energy. Specifically, creating glucose from other macromolecules within the body, breaking down certain amino acids within the body, and producing fatty acids. While the specific chemical reactions of what biotin conducts is not important, the fact that it produces energy sources from our food is. The byproducts of what biotin does within our body (fatty acids and digestion of amino acids) are what we see that improve one’s hair, skin, and nails. These reactions taking place in our body can be sufficiently supported by the biotin we take in naturally from our diets, so there would be no need for a supplement here. 

An additional function Biotin has is to support the strength and health of your hair, skin, and nails. Naturally, biotin ensures the skin’s elasticity, nail’s strength, hair’s health, and the overall health of these three parts. Scientists are lacking to find the correlation between extra biotin supplementation and health of the hair, skin, and nails, but they do find a biotin deficiency to be detrimental to these categories. If there is a lack of biotin in one’s diet, one’s nails may become brittle or cracked, skin may become rashy or red, and hair can fall out or become brittle. This problem can be easily avoided with a healthy diet full of nutrients which support the body.

While the deficiencies listed above may come as a scare to many, you are most likely consuming the recommended amount of biotin needed for your health. A recommended amount of biotin for children and adults come around 30-75 micrograms per day. You can find this amount fairly easily in egg, nuts, fish, meat, broccoli, milk, and more. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning it is not stored in the body and any more biotin that you consume which is not needed will pass through you and is not used. So, any excess biotin you take in supplement form will not be used or stored for later use.

If a biotin deficiency is a problem concerning you, a medical professional would recommend a diet filled with the foods listed above and possibly a supplement. However, you would not find a doctor prescribing Sugar Bear Hair Vitamins, but rather a pure or form of biotin in a pill. These vitamins are cheaper and much more effective, as they are a concentrated form of the vitamin. So rather than reaching for an over-hyped and expensive vitamin which may not deliver the drastic results they are showcasing, reach for a cheaper pure vitamin supplement if you do need it. 

Do you need to invest in a social media biotin supplement? Health-wise, no. There has not been a study or data showcasing a supplement of biotin in addition to the normal amount to be helpful to your hair, skin, or nails. You are already most likely consuming the proper amount and the extra biotin from the supplement would be passed through your body anyways. If you would like to try it, feel free to, just don’t expect the results promised to you on social media.