Collagen vs. Biotin: Which Should You Be Taking?
In the pursuit of better health, a growing number of people have begun turning to daily supplements to help achieve an adequate intake of different vitamins and nutrients. These supplements are so popular, in fact, that the National Institutes of Health maintain an extensive list of different dietary supplements, their ingredients, and how to use them.
Few products, however, have enjoyed the overwhelming popularity of either collagen or biotin. Primarily recognized for their roles in supporting hair, skin, and nail health, collagen and biotin offer many benefits beyond the external.
Despite their similarities, however, the specific uses of collagen and biotin are often confused, with many buyers left wondering which is best for their needs. To clear up that confusion, we've decided to tackle the collagen vs. biotin debate once and for all.
In this article, we'll walk you through biotin and collagen, how they're related, and how to incorporate each into your daily routine.
The Relationship Between Biotin Supplements and Collagen
Many casual health enthusiasts believe it necessary to take only collagen or biotin. In actuality, the relationship between biotin supplementation and collagen is far more complicated. While collagen contains the essential amino acids needed to build different types of tissue, biotin supplements help you break down and use those amino acids more efficiently.
Because of this symbiotic relationship, pairing biotin with collagen or collagen builders can double down on the health benefits of each, making them ideal partners for all types of health goals.
What is Biotin?
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is a water-soluble vitamin responsible for the health of various bodily functions related to skin, eyes, hair, and even your nervous system. Like all B complex vitamins, biotin helps the body convert food, such as carbohydrates, into usable energy.
Specifically, biotin aids in the production of glucose and fatty acids and helps the body catabolize amino acids.
Finally, biotin is an essential vitamin, meaning it must be consumed through outside sources.
What is Collagen?
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, representing 30% of its total protein. Typically drawn from collagen-rich foods like the connective tissues of animals, dietary sources of collagen play a vital role in helping your body build healthy skin, bones, muscle tissue, and tendons.
Despite its importance, however, several key factors, such as diet, low sleep quality, and lack of exercise can damage or impair the body's natural collagen production.
Unlike biotin, your body can create collagen--if given the right resources. This means individuals can increase collagen levels through external sources or dietary supplements known as collagen builders.
What is a Collagen Builder?
Collagen builders are specially-formulated dietary supplements designed to help your body produce collagen. Unlike collagen peptides, which provide an external source of collagen like the kind you would find in animal sources, these supplements take a systemic approach to health. When choosing a collagen builder, look for one that contains ingredients such as:
- MSM: A type of organic sulfur naturally found in many animals, MSM aids collagen production, reduces inflammation, and protects against damage from free radicals.
- Horsetail Extract: Long used in traditional medicines, horsetail extract provides a significant source of silica, one of the primary building blocks of collagen. Contrary to its name, this extract is 100% plant-based.
- Grapeseed Extract: This compound drastically improves the body's ability to regenerate cells, promoting collagen synthesis and reducing several signs of aging by bonding to collagen molecules.
- Fo-ti Root: With centuries of documented use as an anti-aging compound, fo-ti root may increase energy, promote liver and kidney health, and strengthen muscle and tendon tissues.
- Biotin: While collagen contains the amino acids needed to build healthy tissue, biotin helps to metabolize those amino acids for distribution throughout the body. This symbiotic relationship makes biotin an essential partner for collagen supplementation.
Collagen Supplementation vs. Improved Collagen Production
The first step for improving collagen levels often involves taking a concentrated collagen supplement. While this can be effective, it primarily treats the symptoms of collagen deficiency without addressing its underlying causes. This means that individuals must continue regularly taking large doses of collagen or face potential relapse.
Conversely, by providing your body with the building blocks to properly make its own supply of collagen, you address the issue at its root. And, because these collagen builders usually come in a compact pill rather than a bulky, messy powder, they make your supplement routine much more convenient.
Finally, collagen supplements are uniformly non-vegan. For those following a vegan or vegetarian diet, collagen builders such as our Purvana blend are the best way to promote healthy collagen levels.
The Benefits of Healthy Collagen Levels
As mentioned earlier, collagen plays a vital role in producing various tissues throughout the body. For most people, this means bone, skin, joint, and eye health. Even so, healthy collagen levels provide other lesser-known health benefits, including:
Better Gut Health
Many gastrointestinal issues result from a compromised gut lining due to poor diet or inflammation. Luckily, high levels of natural collagen repair and soothe this lining, restoring your intestines to proper health and protecting them against future damage.
Improved Skin, Hair, and Nail Health
Perhaps the most widely-recognized benefit of collagen supplementation is healthy hair, nails, and skin. This is due to collagen's crucial role in building keratin--the substance found in these body parts. Unfortunately, thinning hair and poor skin health often lead to low self-esteem and confidence issues. With high-quality daily biotin supplementation, however, you can support skin health, reduce hair loss, and say goodbye to brittle nails.
By increasing biotin intake via a high-quality collagen builder, you improve your body's ability to break down energy sources and regulate glucose. This effectively increases your resting metabolism, allowing your body to burn energy more efficiently.
And, although this is one of the lesser-known benefits of biotin, metabolism is nonetheless tied to countless other bodily functions. From energy levels to fat loss, using biotin to accelerate your metabolism can yield impressive results.
Because of its status as a potent B vitamin, biotin plays an important role in regulating healthy glucose levels. For individuals managing diabetes, this can lead to more stable blood sugar and a reduction in the pain associated with diabetic nerve damage.
If this is true for your situation, consider pairing your biotin supplement with chromium picolinate. This powerful pairing has been shown to improve glucose metabolism and reduce several symptoms of diabetes.
Symptoms of Biotin Deficiency
Although severe biotin deficiency is rare, recent studies have shown that low-level or "marginal" biotin deficiency is far more common than previously believed. And, despite its name, this condition often leads to gradual but significant symptoms, including:
- Hair loss
- Brittle nails
- Skin infections
Who is At Risk for Biotin Deficiency?
Often, conditions that make it difficult to absorb nutrients can lead to biotin deficiency. Unfortunately, many such conditions stem from gastrointestinal issues, which themselves increase, on average, by 7% each year. This means that biotin supplements that also improve gut health can be doubly effective.
Also, dietary factors can impair the body's ability to absorb biotin. Specifically, studies have shown that a protein called avidin (which is found in egg whites) bonds strongly to biotin, making it impossible for the human body to utilize.
Finally, pregnant women experience a higher risk of deficiency than most other demographics due to biotin's critical role in fetal development. Because of this risk, we suggest that expecting mothers speak with their doctors about taking a regular biotin supplement.
How Do You Treat Biotin Deficiency?
Luckily, the treatment for marginal biotin deficiencies is fairly straightforward. Generally, health professionals suggest incorporating naturally biotin-rich foods into your diet or, in some cases, a high-dose biotin treatment.
Can You Take Too Much Biotin?
Because biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin, the body cannot store it in fat or other tissues. This means that even taking biotin supplements in high doses very rarely causes issues. Instead, the body uses enough biotin to support its needs and passes the rest through your urine.
Even though, according to the Food and Drug Administration, it is nearly impossible to take too much biotin, always consult dietary reference intakes when starting a new dietary supplement.
Collagen vs. Biotin - The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, your health is a complex issue. All too often, it can feel as though you're adding yet another supplement or powder to an already-crowded health routine. To build an efficient, convenient routine, however, it's best to find supplements that work with one another toward the same health goals. And, when it comes to perfect pairings, very few combinations beat the tag team of biotin and collagen.
Regardless of whether you're trying to improve hair health, heal an unhappy gut, or boost your metabolism, these two supplements provide a wealth of potent benefits.
For those looking to simplify their routine even further, consider a collagen builder rather than a collagen peptide powder. With carefully-balanced products like our Purvana line, you can supercharge your body's ability to produce its own collagen supply. That way, you can ditch the powder and start building a better you from within.