You may have seen ads that swear that taking biotin will give you the hair of a shampoo commercial model, a glowing complexion, or unbreakable nails. A form of vitamin B also known as vitamin B7, biotin has attracted a ton of hype — but when it comes to nutrition, it can be hard to know what’s real and what’s completely overblown.
While much of the fascination with biotin is about what it does for hair, skin, and nails, it can do a lot more for your body than potentially improving the appearance of these three. Here’s what you should know about the vitamin, plus how to tell whether taking biotin supplements is a good fit for you.
What is biotin, exactly?
This B vitamin is an essential nutrient for your body, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and dairy products contain it as well, Jessica Cording, a registered dietitian in New York City, tells Allure, and so do some vegetables like sweet potatoes, spinach, and broccoli. It can also be found in prenatal vitamins and multivitamins, per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If you’re on biotin supplements and you have an upcoming scheduled blood test, Angelone recommends stopping the supplements three days before your lab work. (It’s still a good idea to let your doctor know you’ve been taking them, though.) Biotin supplements can also interfere with medication, including anticonvulsants, so be sure to flag them to your doctor if you’re taking any regular medication.
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