Biotin (Vitamin B7) • Important for hair and skin

Split ends in the ends of your hair, brittle nails and a pale complexion? The effects of biotin are said to make hair shiny, fingernails firm and skin beautiful. The water-soluble vitamin B7 is not only found in many foods, but also in dietary supplements. How Much Do You Really Need?

Biotin – also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H – is considered a beautifier. Healthy hair and healthy skin are promised by dietary supplements that fill entire shelves in drugstores. But is that really true?

According to the nutritionist Bettina Halbach from Wuppertal, biotin promotes tissue build-up and renewal. Like all B vitamins, it controls important metabolic functions in the body, so it helps to convert food into energy. Among other things, the water-soluble vitamin supports the restructuring and building of proteins in the cells. “For example, biotin is involved in the formation of keratin proteins, the main component of hair as well as fingernails and toenails,” explains Halbach.

Article content at a glance:

Ten foods for beautiful hair

What is the vitamin biotin good for?

Biotin can help create a beautiful complexion by enabling the development of various enzymes that are involved in the conversion of long-chain fatty acids. These include linoleic and linolenic acids. Linoleic acid is a nutrient that regulates the skin’s water balance. If this is in imbalance, the largest human organ – the skin – is susceptible to bad environmental influences and diseases. Cosmetics that are supposed to help against skin irritation or damage from sunlight therefore often contain linoleic acid.

The body also needs biotin to make keratin, which is the main component of hair. The vitamin is therefore often advertised as a remedy for hair loss. However, there are no scientific studies on this.

Biotin can do even more: it indirectly regulates the glucose concentration in the body and thus balances the blood sugar level. Therefore, certain forms of diabetes mellitus are treated with vitamin B7. Biotin also affects the blood by helping vitamin K to form blood clotting factors without which humans would bleed to death after an injury.

The right dose of biotin

According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), adults and adolescents aged 15 and over should consume 40 micrograms of the water-soluble vitamin B7 daily to meet their biotin requirements. The same applies to pregnant women, breastfeeding women need 45 micrograms of biotin daily.

Since biotin is contained in many foods, the need can be met relatively easily. People who live in industrialized countries like Germany therefore only very rarely have a biotin deficiency. The human body, or rather bacteria in the intestine, can even produce biotin itself, but only in very small quantities.

Food: where is there a lot of biotin?

Biotin is found in legumes such as peas, egg yolks, nuts, oatmeal and wheat, for example. 200 grams of mushrooms contain 32 micrograms of biotin. There’s a lot more to innards: 100 grams of beef liver contains 58 micrograms of biotin.

The following table lists foods that contain around ten percent of the recommended daily biotin dose per serving:

Food Portionsgröße Biotin content per serving
Calf: liver 100 g 75 µg
Calf: kidney 100 g 80 µg
Beef: liver 100 g 58 µg
Beef: kidney 100 g 100 µg
Pig: liver 100 g 27 µg
Pig: kidney 100 g 30-130 µg
Peas, yellow 75 g 14 µg
Soybeans 75 g 45 µg
Beans, green 200 g 14 µg
egg yolk 20 g (1 egg yolk) 7-14 µg
Spinach 200 g 14 µg
Mushrooms 100 g 16 µg
oatmeal 30 g (3 EL) 6 µg
Walnuts 40 g (10 pieces) up to 14 µg
peanuts 20 g (handful) 7 µg

Hair loss due to a lack of biotin

In healthy people with a balanced diet, there is usually no biotin deficiency. However, those who eat large quantities of raw eggs can cause a deficiency in vitamin B7: egg white contains the glycoprotein avidin, which binds biotin and makes it no longer usable for the body.

In addition, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract such as a small bowel resection or short bowel syndrome lead to a vitamin deficiency. Alcohol addiction and smoking can also be causes of a deficiency, as nicotine and alcohol inhibit the absorption of biotin.

Breast-fed infants may also have a deficit, as breast milk contains little biotin. Pregnant women themselves also belong to the risk group for an undersupply of vitamin B7.

Consequences of a biotin deficiency can be:

The biotin level can be determined in the blood serum and in the urine. In the event of a deficiency, high-dose biotin is prescribed.

Biotin as a dietary supplement

Women in particular often use the over-the-counter, low-dose dietary supplements containing the vitamin biotin. Those who eat a wholesome and balanced diet should make tablets superfluous, but an overdose of the vitamin cannot harm them. “The body excretes excess biotin,” warned nutritionist Halbach: “If you use biotin-containing food supplements sensibly, you will not easily exceed the daily upper limit of 180 micrograms of biotin proposed by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment.”

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Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by

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