Biotin: The Vitamin for Healthy Nails

Woman hands with french manicure ready for a treatment isolated on a white background

Medically reviewed in June 2021

Updated on April 12, 2022

Of all the nutritional supplements touted for treating nails that split, break, and peel, only one has gotten a universal thumbs-up from science: biotin.

Biotin, a B-complex vitamin, has long been used to treat damaged hooves on horses. And because our nails are made of the same stuff (keratin), it turns out the vitamin may work for us two-legged creatures, too.

What's good for the horse
When dermatologists first put biotin to the test in humans nearly 20 years ago, they found that extra biotin intake could increase nail thickness up to 25 percent in women who had soft or brittle nails. One study used 2.5 milligrams (mg) of biotin daily to help strengthen nails. it's worth noting that 2.5 mg is more than most diets and multivitamins contain. So if you have soft nails, first ask a healthcare provider (HCP) how best to increase your biotin intake safely.

RealAge recommends
Many experts recommend getting 300 micrograms of biotin each day. Your diet is always your best and safest source of vitamins and minerals, so if you want to strengthen your nails naturally, try eating more biotin-rich foods. These include:

  • Nuts, such as peanuts, filberts, cashews, and almonds
  • Eggs
  • Soybeans
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Fish, including haddock and salmon
  • Vegetables, like chard or carrots

If your nails are still brittle after making these adjustments, investigate with your HCP whether taking a supplement makes sense for you.

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