Biotin, also known as vitamin H, is a water-soluble member of the B vitamin group. Biotin is beneficial for the human body in breaking down foods to create energy. Most individuals receive the recommend amount of biotin (between 30 to 100 mcg) in their daily diet from food such as eggs, bananas, nuts, oatmeal, liver and salmon. Biotin can be taken orally as a dietary supplement and is included in most multivitamins.
Biotin is an important coenzyme in the human body's metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Biotin supplements are recommended in some weight-loss programs because of its ability to break down fat and produce energy.
Hair and Nails
Biotin’s role in the synthesis of fat has many benefits for hair and nails. Biotin supplements are commonly used for strengthening weak, thin or brittle nails and for promoting hair growth. Biotin is also beneficial for people experiencing premature hair loss.
A lack of biotin can cause skin problems, including cradle cap for infants. The crusty white or yellow patches of dry skin from cradle cap can be alleviated with biotin supplements.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “No side effects have been reported for biotin in amounts up to 10 milligrams a day." Any excess biotin in the system is generally excreted in urine because it's a water-soluble vitamin.
Drug and Other Interactions
Any individual taking prescription or nonprescription medicine should check with her healthcare provider to discuss biotin dosage and precautions for possible dangerous drug interactions with biotin. Currently, there are no known biotin drug interactions, but some antibiotics and seizure medications can cause a biotin deficiency in the body.