5 Signs You Might Be Biotin Deficient | Hair Loss, Skin Rashes, and More

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Biotin is a crucial vitamin. It’s also known as vitamin B7. Our bodies need it for various functions. It helps convert food into energy. It’s important for healthy hair, skin, and nails. Most people get enough biotin from their diet. However, some may develop a deficiency.

Biotin Deficient

Here are five signs that could indicate you’re low on biotin.

1. Hair Loss

Thinning hair is a common sign. You might notice more hair falling out. It could happen when you brush or wash your hair. This isn’t just normal shedding. It’s more than usual. Your hair might also look dull or brittle.

Why it happens:
Biotin helps produce keratin. Keratin is a protein that makes up hair. Without enough biotin, hair growth can slow down. Hair strands may become weak and break easily.

Research says:
A 2015 study in the journal Skin Appendage Disorders found a link. Women with hair loss often had lower biotin levels. The researchers suggested biotin supplements might help.

2. Skin Rashes

Skin problems can be a sign. You might develop a red, scaly rash. It often appears around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Sometimes it shows up on the scalp too. The skin might feel dry and itchy.

Why it happens:
Biotin helps keep skin healthy. It’s involved in fat metabolism. This process is important for skin cell production. Without enough biotin, skin can become inflamed and irritated.

Research says:
A review in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology discussed biotin’s role. It’s crucial for skin health. The authors noted that biotin deficiency can lead to dermatitis.

3. Brittle Nails

Your nails might become fragile. They could split or peel easily. You might notice they’re thinner than usual. Sometimes, they might develop ridges or unusual textures.

Why it happens:
Biotin helps strengthen nails. It’s involved in protein synthesis. This process is crucial for nail growth and strength. Without enough biotin, nails can become weak and brittle.

Research says:
A study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology looked at biotin for nail health. Participants with brittle nails took biotin supplements. After six months, their nail thickness improved by 25%.

4. Fatigue and Weakness

You might feel unusually tired. This isn’t just normal sleepiness. It’s a persistent lack of energy. You might also feel weak. Simple tasks might seem more difficult than usual.

Why it happens:
Biotin helps convert food into energy. It’s involved in breaking down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Without enough biotin, your body might struggle to produce energy efficiently.

Research says:
A review in the journal Nutrients discussed biotin’s role in metabolism. The authors noted that biotin deficiency can lead to fatigue and muscle weakness.

5. Neurological Symptoms

In severe cases, you might experience neurological issues. These could include tingling in your hands and feet. You might have trouble with balance or coordination. Some people experience mood changes or confusion.

Why it happens:
Biotin is important for nervous system function. It helps produce myelin. Myelin is a protective coating around nerves. Without enough biotin, nerve signals might not transmit properly.

Research says:
A case study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported severe biotin deficiency. The patient experienced neurological symptoms. These improved with biotin supplementation.

Understanding Biotin Deficiency

Biotin deficiency is rare. Most people get enough from their diet. However, certain factors can increase your risk.

Risk Factors:

  1. Pregnancy: Biotin needs increase during pregnancy.
  2. Certain medications: Some anticonvulsants can interfere with biotin absorption.
  3. Genetic disorders: Some rare genetic conditions affect biotin metabolism.
  4. Excessive raw egg consumption: Raw egg whites contain a protein that blocks biotin absorption.
  5. Intestinal problems: Conditions like Crohn’s disease can affect nutrient absorption.

Recommended Daily Intake of Biotin

Age GroupRecommended Amount (mcg/day)
0-6 months5
7-12 months6
1-3 years8
4-8 years12
9-13 years20
14-18 years25
19+ years30
Pregnant women30
Breastfeeding women35

Source: National Institutes of Health

Diagnosing Biotin Deficiency

If you suspect a biotin deficiency, see a doctor. They can perform tests to check your levels. This usually involves a blood test. Sometimes, urine tests are also used.

Treatment Options

Treatment for biotin deficiency is usually straightforward. It typically involves biotin supplements. These are available over the counter. However, always consult a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen.

Dietary Sources of Biotin

You can also increase your biotin intake through diet. Here are some biotin-rich foods:

  1. Eggs (cooked)
  2. Nuts (especially almonds and peanuts)
  3. Whole grains
  4. Sweet potatoes
  5. Spinach
  6. Broccoli
  7. Salmon
  8. Avocados
  9. Cheese
  10. Liver

Biotin Content in Common Foods

FoodServing SizeBiotin Content (mcg)
Beef liver3 ounces30.8
Egg1 whole, cooked10
Salmon3 ounces, cooked5
Pork chop3 ounces, cooked3.8
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup2.6
Sweet potato1/2 cup, cooked2.4
Almonds1/4 cup1.5
Spinach1/2 cup, cooked0.5

Source: National Institutes of Health

The Bottom Line

Biotin deficiency can cause various symptoms. These include hair loss, skin rashes, and brittle nails. It can also lead to fatigue and neurological issues. If you experience these signs, consult a healthcare provider. They can determine if you’re deficient and recommend treatment.

Remember, a balanced diet is key. It can help prevent nutrient deficiencies. If you’re concerned about your biotin intake, talk to a nutritionist. They can help you plan a diet rich in biotin and other essential nutrients.


[1] Trüeb, R. M. (2016). Serum Biotin Levels in Women Complaining of Hair Loss. International Journal of Trichology, 8(2), 73–77
[2] Patel, D. P., Swink, S. M., & Castelo-Soccio, L. (2017). A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss. Skin Appendage Disorders, 3(3), 166–169.
[3] Hochman, L. G., Scher, R. K., & Meyerson, M. S. (1993). Brittle nails: response to daily biotin supplementation. Cutis, 51(4), 303–305.
[4] Zempleni, J., Hassan, Y. I., & Wijeratne, S. S. (2008). Biotin and biotinidase deficiency. Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism, 3(6), 715–724.
[5] Mock, D. M., Dyken, M. E., Earley, C. J., & Sato, Y. (1997). Biotin Deficiency: An Unusual Cause of Depression, Lethargy, and Hypotonia in an Infant. New England Journal of Medicine, 336(19), 1373–1375.
[6] National Institutes of Health. (2021). Biotin – Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/


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