Biotin for Nail Growth

Can Taking Biotin Lengthen Your Tips?

Biotin soft gels, capsules, and tablets

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak 

Biotin is a B vitamin often touted as a natural remedy for brittle nails. Found naturally in a number of foods, biotin is widely available in supplement form. Proponents claim that biotin supplements can also help promote weight loss and treat conditions ranging from acne and eczema to diabetes and depression. Although research on biotin and nail health is somewhat limited, some studies suggest that biotin supplements may help treat brittle nails.

The Science Behind Biotin and Nails

To date, there isn't enough scientific evidence to rate the effectiveness of biotin in treatment of brittle nails, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, studies have definitively shows that biotin deficiency does cause brittle nails. Therefore, supplementation of the vitamin in these cases is helpful for nail strength.


Although biotin appears to be well-tolerated and non-toxic even at high doses, another type of side effect does exist. That is, at very high doses, it may cause clinically significant falsely high or falsely low laboratory test results. This can lead to an incorrect diagnosis.

Supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label.

Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements here, but if you're considering the use of biotin, talk with your primary care provider first. 

Biotin softgels

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Using Biotin for Nail Growth

While some research suggests that biotin may help treat brittle nails, there's not yet enough evidence to draw any firm conclusions about the benefits of using biotin supplements for healthier nails. To get your fill of biotin without using supplements, include biotin-rich foods like liver, salmon, pork chop, hamburger, bananas, carrots, egg yolks, sardines, and sweet potatoes in your diet.

Although biotin deficiency is uncommon, it may occur in people who drink alcohol excessively or consume a great deal of raw egg white (which contains a protein that blocks the absorption of biotin). Genetic disorder of biotin deficiency, infant seborrheic dermatitis, and surgical removal of the stomach may also increase your need for biotin. Symptoms of biotin deficiency include thinning of the hair, a red scaly rash (especially around the eyes, nose, and mouth), depression, exhaustion, hallucinations, and tingling of the arms and legs.

Brittle nails are often a normal result of the aging process. However, nail brittleness can sometimes signal an underlying health problem (such as thyroid disease). Symptoms of brittle nails include frequent and/or easy tearing, cracking, splitting, or breaking of nails. If you have brittle nails, it's important to consult your healthcare provider rather than self-treating your nails with biotin supplements. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

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6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Sparavigna A, Tenconi B, La Penna L. Efficacy and tolerability of a biomineral formulation for treatment of onychoschizia: a randomized trial. CCID. 2019;12:355-362. doi:10.2147/CCID.S187305

  2. DiBaise M, Tarleton SM. Hair, nails, and skin: differentiating cutaneous manifestations of micronutrient deficiency. Nutrition in Clinical Practice. 2019;34(4):490-503. doi:10.1002/ncp.10321

  3. NIH National Institutes of Health. Biotin. Updated July 9, 2019.

  4. FDA. What you need to know about dietary supplements. Updated November 29, 2017.

  5. Saleem F, Soos MP. Biotin deficiency. In: StatPearls. Updated January 20, 2020.

  6. Singal A, Arora R. Nail as a window of systemic diseases. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2015;6(2):67-. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.153002

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