Biotin is a B vitamin that is found naturally in foods like eggs and liver. However, the amount of biotin in a serving of eggs or liver may be too low to make a difference with your nails! Eggs contain 25 mcg of biotin per serving; liver contains 27 mcg per serving.
A Columbia University study found that a daily biotin supplement can improve nail strength big time! You just have to take a relatively large amount. Most multivitamins contain around 30 mcg and the Columbia University study participants took 2.5 milligrams daily.
The idea for using biotin to strengthen nails actually comes from veterinarians. Vets will sometimes give biotin supplements to horses to help strengthen hooves. And it works on humans, too! Biotin can help your nails become stronger, firmer, and harder — and resistant to chipping and cracking. Experts aren’t sure exactly why it works, but it does.
Some study participants also reported thicker hair, but that effect of biotin hasn’t been studied yet.
If you want to try biotin to firm up your nails, head for the nearest pharmacy or health food store. Look for a supplement with 2.5 milligrams of biotin. Biotin is water soluble, so it won’t build up in the body and leave you with strange side effects. Dermatologists suggest trying biotin for three months. If you don’t see any improvement after that time, discontinue the biotin supplement.
You should also talk to your doctor before taking any vitamin or other supplement — just to be sure your supplement won’t interact badly with other medicines you are taking.