A few weeks ago, I spotted a bottle of biotin on our kitchen table. When I asked about it, my wife told me she is taking the biotin supplement to deal with brittle fingernails.

Knowing that biotin is used to improve hoof quality and hoof growth, it got me thinking about the benefits of biotin for humans. Doing some research, I learned the benefits of humans taking biotin is based on earlier work with horses.

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The idea that humans can benefit from biotin is based on scientific studies dealing with improving hoof quality.

While biotin is often promoted as a dietary supplement for strengthening hair and nails in humans, the scientific data tends to be on the weak side. Even so, results from one trial showed fingernail thickness increased by 25% and nail splitting decreased after biotin supplements were taken.

With humans, proper levels of biotin may lead to faster processing of food and possibly speed up weight loss. Diabetics often take a biotin supplement to help keep blood sugar levels at functional levels.

When it comes to hair loss in humans, no published scientific studies support the claim that high-dose biotin supplements are effective.

Biotin deficiencies in humans are rare since intestinal bacteria can produce levels well above a human’s daily requirements. As a result, statutory agencies in many countries, including the U.S, do not prescribe a daily-recommended daily intake of biotin.

Yet it’s interesting to note that much of the human work dealing with biotin supplements is based on earlier work done with horses. This is another example of how animal research can often lead to breakthroughs in human nutrition and health care.