What is biotin?
Biotin is also called vitamin B7. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is one of the vitamin B complex. The vitamin B complex as we all are aware is a group of key nutrients which are very much required for the good health of the nerves, heart, metabolism and digestive system. Biotin mostly acts as a co-enzyme that is present in the body which is very much required for the easy metabolism amino acids, glucose and fatty acids. Therefore, it would mean that if you consume foods which contain proteins, carbs and fats, there should be presence of vitamin B7 in them.
This would help in converting as well as using those micronutrients for the energy of the body. This energy is then used for carrying out various physical activities and also for smooth functioning of the psychological system. Biotin has numerous benefits and can help you feel attractive and young. Biotin plays a major role in good maintenance of the health of the skin, hair and nails.
There are various foods which are rich sources of biotin. Those foods include avocado, meats, fish, cauliflower, berries and fish. It is commonly recommended to take around 30 mcg for adults. This can be increased to 35 mcg for women who are breastfeeding. The deficiency of biotin has been found to be quite rare. But in rare cases, pregnant women may face this deficiency.
What can lead to biotin deficiency?
Since biotin is a water-soluble nutrient, it tends to travel in the bloodstream. But when there is excess or unused biotin present in the body, then the body will quickly eliminate it through urine. This is one of the reasons why the body does not buildup any excess or store any biotin in the body. Although it is difficult to consume too much of this vitamin. By taking the daily required amount of biotin everyday, you can prevent deficiency and improve your health.
Biotin or vitamin B7 has a number of health benefits for the human body. Below we have listed the main benefits of vitamin B7.
Helpful in balancing body sugar
When biotin is combined with chromium, it has been shown to be helpful in lowering the sugar present in the blood, especially for those suffering from diabetes. This is extremely beneficial in cases where the individual suffering from diabetes is unable to control their blood sugar levels even with the help of prescription medications.
Biotin has been shown to help the glucose levels present in the blood. One of the reasons being that it helps in facilitating the insulin activity. Insulin is an important hormone which is required for bringing the blood sugar to a proper and balanced state. A better insulin response helps in reducing the risk of the otherwise fluctuating sugar levels in the blood which can lead to prediabetes or type II diabetes.
Biotin has been proven to reduce the enzymes expression which helps in stimulating the production of glucose by the liver. This would lead to a lower amount of sugar in the bloodstream. This is also said to be one of the main reasons why a deficiency of biotin or B7 vitamin can also lead to glucose tolerance impairment and also reduction in the proper utilization of glucose. These two are mostly seen as high risk factors for diabetes. Vitamin B7 can also help in reducing the signs of any existing diabetes, which can include pain in the nerves.
It has been said that if you are biotin deficient, you may start to get scaly and red rashes on your skin. Some studies have suggested that being biotin deficient can cause a skin related condition known as seborrheic disorder. This is also commonly referred to as cradle cap. The role of biotin in the skin can be linked to its effect on the metabolism, which can strongly affect having healthy skin.
Protects the functioning of the brain
Biotin is also said to benefit the nervous system. It plays a major role in the neurotransmitter activity as well as the nerve signaling. The vitamin B complex when in combination can have an impact on the functioning of our brain memory. It would also fight against any of the age related issues that occur in the cognitive functioning, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, which is seen as a neurodegenerative medical disorder.
Due to its role of synthesizing the hormones which are mostly related to the regulation of mood, the intake of vitamin B’s such as biotin would ensure that we have a positive mindset. It increases the rate of concentration and at the same time promotes energy in the body.
Supports the functioning of thyroid and adrenal glands
There is a need for biotin or vitamin B7 so that thyroid activity can be carried out properly. This helps fight against any type of adrenal fatigue or tiredness. The thyroid gland and the adrenal gland are known to be the master glands, which are mainly responsible for various states including perceiving pain, feelings of hunger, energy, sleep and mood.
When there is a deficiency of any of these B vitamins, it can lead to complications that impact the thyroid and adrenal gland, leading to various negative impacts. The symptoms that may show up include, sudden weight loss or gain, feeling tired or fatigued, having trouble sleeping, etc.
Helps to strengthen the nails and hair
Even though there is not enough evidence to support the positive effect of biotin on hair growth, there is research to support the negative effect when an individual is biotin deficient. Someone suffering from low levels of biotin can have hair loss.
As per certain studies, intake of high doses of vitamin B7 has proved to be beneficial for the treatment of brittle nails as well as weak hair. But the question arises as to how much of vitamin B7 do we need for the growth of hair. The exact and proper dosage of biotin would be dependent on certain factors, the first one being your age and whether or not you actually suffer from biotin deficiency.
For treating hair loss, you can start with 1000 mcg of biotin and also increase the intake of foods containing biotin. This vitamin has also proved to be effective in thickening the cuticles of the nails and at the same time preventing breakage. This is why you may find biotin as one of the main ingredients in most hair products.
Biotin or vitamin B7 and the other vitamin B’s are very much required by the body to convert food we consume into energy that can be used appropriately. This in turn can help in supporting the metabolism. There are multiple ways in which this can be carried out. Biotin converts the glucose from the sugar and carbohydrates into a usable form of energy. This is also known as the body's fuel for carrying out various activities. It helps in the activation of fatty acids from those fat-containing foods such as animal fats or oil fats.
Biotin makes use of amino acids which are present in the proteins for carrying out many important activities. The body can only make use of the macronutrients just once from the food we consume so as to produce energy. This creates a healthy and normal metabolic activity. Biotin is also known to bring about improvement in the metabolism as well as utilization of the glucose present in the body.
This can turn out to be very beneficial for those who suffer from Type II diabetes. When the body does not have enough vitamin B7, this can lead to certain symptoms. Some of these symptoms include issues with the digestive system, appetite changes, mood swings, dips in energy levels, sudden weight gain, feeling tired or fatigued, and possibly developing diabetes.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Biotin is very important, especially for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. These are two very important life stages for a woman, which are mostly associated with the increase in the requirement for this particular vitamin. In a study, it was estimated that around 50% of pregnant women tend to suffer from mild cases of vitamin B7 deficiency.
This deficiency could have an effect on the well-being of the mother and the baby. But most of the time, it is not severe enough to show noticeable symptoms. These deficiencies are normal due to the breakdown of biotin which happens much faster in the body during the pregnancy period. However, do not just start taking supplements. Instead, consult with your doctor or your nutritionist before you start taking biotin supplements.
Building and repairing of the muscles and tissues
One of the benefits of biotin is the growth and maintenance of the bodily tissues, which also include the repairing and building of the muscles. When the tissues and the muscles are broken down, vitamin B’s such as biotin can work to build the strength back into the muscles as well as the tissues.
The B vitamins are also known to be helpful in reducing inflammation, which can lead to aches in the muscles or the joints, trouble while walking or pain while walking. A serious condition that can result from low levels of biotin could mean stunted growth. This could lead to improper development of the fetus or the infant during the pregnancy or during its growth years. This is why doctors may check your biotin levels while pregnant.
Sources of biotin
Biotin has been found in many food sources, so it is rare for someone to have a biotin deficiency. Some food items that have a good source of biotin include, cheese, cauliflower, egg yolks, liver, leafy greens, mushrooms, yeast, peanuts and soybeans. Also, the bacteria which is present in the gut does produce certain amounts of biotin in the body itself. You can take supplements of biotin either on its own or in the form of a mixed multi-vitamin supplement. Always check with your doctor before you start taking any supplement.
Biotin is for the most part a safe supplement, even in higher doses it rarely has negative side effects. Due to biotin being a water-soluble vitamin, any excess or unused amount of this vitamin in the body gets flushed out through urine.