Biotin Supplement Review

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  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Type II Diabetes (in combination with chromium)
+2 (Moderate Evidence)
Nail Health
+1 (Slight Evidence)


  • Biotin is a B vitamin that is synthesized by bacteria that live in our digestive tracts. It is also obtained from the diet. Good sources include nuts, egg yolks, sardines, legumes, whole grains, liver, cauliflower, bananas and mushrooms.
  • It may be useful to know that consumption of large quantities of raw egg whites can result in a severe biotin deficiency. Luckily, cooked egg whites do NOT affect biotin absorption or status.
  • The combination of biotin (2 milligrams) plus chromium (600 micrograms) showed benefits to blood sugar control in patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetics.
  • This combination also showed improvements in levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Individuals who took biotin for six months had thicker nails and less splitting.


  • Overall, the risk of side effects with biotin is quite small. However, a risk of DNA damage associated with high doses of riboflavin (vitamin B2) has been seen to increase further when high-dose biotin is taken with the riboflavin.
  • Even though biotin is frequently recommended for nail, hair, and skin health, we found no actual studies of biotin for hair loss. Also, although studies of biotin for brittle nails showed benefit, no studies were found that compared high-dose biotin supplements to the use of a lower-dose, biotin-containing multivitamin or B complex.

A risk of DNA damage associated with high doses of riboflavin (vitamin B2) has been seen to increase further when high-dose biotin is taken with the riboflavin.

DOSAGE:Take 2 mg orally per day.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that biotin is a safe and effective supplement for type II diabetes. While it shows promise for nail health, future studies will be needed for us to recommend its use for this indication. Remember to include it in your list of medications when you visit your doctor and other health care providers.

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Geohas, J. et al. Chromium Picolinate and Biotin Combination Reduces Atherogenic Index if Plasma in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blinded, Randomized Clinical Trial. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences (2007) 333, 145-153
Cashman, M., Sloan, S.B. et al. Nutrition and nail disease. Clinics in Dermatology (2010) 28, 420-425
Colombo, V. et al. Treatment of brittle fingernails and onychoschizia with biotin: Scanning electron microscopy. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (1990) 23, 1127-1132

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