Could the biotin transform your health?
What’s biotin deficiency?
If you are suffering from dry or cracked skin, hair loss or lifeless hair, dry or irritated eyes, cracked skin at the sides of your mouth or low mood you could be suffering from a biotin deficiency. While a deficiency in the biotin is thought to be quite rare, there are several groups of people who are thought to be more likely to develop a deficiency, with lifestyle or health factors meaning they may not be getting enough biotin in their bodies.
Biotin deficiency risk groups include:
– heavy drinkers of alcohol
– chronic smokers
– women during their pregnancy
– those who have rapidly lost weight
– people suffering from conditions like liver disease or Crohn’s Disease
– people who have poor diets, comprised of lots of junk and processed foods
People who consume raw egg whites are another group at risk of developing a biotic deficiency. Raw eggs have been found to reduce the body’s ability to absorb the vitamin biotin, as egg contains high levels of a protein which binds to biotin. This means the quantity of biotin which you are breaking down can be reduced if raw eggs are a major part of your diet, for example in food or as part of a shake.
The vitamin biotin is known by a few different names, including Vitamin B7, Co-enzyme R and Vitamin H (with the H coming from the German words for hair and skin – ‘Haar’ and ‘Haut’). Biotin is a water-soluble B-vitamin which fulfills many vital roles and functions in our bodies. It supports the functions of our nervous and digestive systems, is used in energy production and cell growth. Biotin is also used to form glucose (also known as blood sugar) and fatty acids (a molecule present in oils and fats), as well as aid in the breakdown of key dietary components like fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
Why is it a problem to have a Biotin deficiency?
As the biotin is involved in this diverse range of biological processes, a deficiency in the vitamin can mean our health starts to suffer – with problems with our skin and hair (including fine, brittle hair) being the most obvious signs. While these visible signs form outside our bodies, on the inside the deficiency can also lead to less obvious signs which we may not easily detect – like and anaemia or an inability to maintain our blood sugar levels. Psychological symptoms which may also arise from a biotin deficiency. If you are concerned that you may be showing the physical or other signs of a biotin deficiency, you should contact a medical professional for advice.
Very few foods which are rich in Biotin!!
Biotin is found in a range of the foods we eat, so most people obtain the biotin from their diet.
The B – vitamin is naturally found in:
– some fruits and vegetables (including bananas, cauliflower and carrots),
– some fish (including sardines and salmon)
– meat (including chicken)
– other dietary sources like egg yolk, mushrooms, whole grains, nuts, soy, beans and legumes
As there are very few foods which are rich in the biotin, plus due to the health benefits which biotin offers, many people choose to boost their diet with biotin supplements. Biotin supplements are usually taken once daily and you should take the Biotin at the same time each day (preferably in the evening before 22:00) in order to get the most benefit from it.
There are six main health areas in which consuming the vitamin biotin
– either as part of the diet or as dietary supplements – can positively contribute to.
The health benefits which the biotin can offer include:
– making the hair appear more healthy
– strengthening the nails and cuticles
– reducing dryness of the skin
– helping with weight loss
– reducing cholesterol levels
– regulating blood sugar levels
Here we will examine each health benefit in turn, to find out how biotin works in that area and how it may help with each health complaint or medical condition.
Many people, particularly women, find that as they grow older they start to have problems with the condition of their hair – like the hair starts to fall out or it can start to become increasingly thin or show breakage. Biotin has been found to help with a range of the hair problems people encounter. Scientific studies have suggested a biotin vitamin deficiency can lead to loss or thinning of hair. However, to date, little research has been undertaken looking at how the vitamin affects hair growth. Biotin has however been found to have a positive effect on the hair, with many shampoo and other hair care companies including biotin in their products. Many people take biotin supplements, saying the vitamin leaves their hair looking healthy and shiny. The biotin vitamin is important in cell growth, but how does this relate to our hair? When biotic is consumed, either through the diet or as a supplement, it reacts with the enzymes of the cell. These enzymes are important in producing animo acids, which are the sub-units of which proteins are built. Hair (as well as our nails) are comprised of the protein keratin. The role of biotin in promoting the growth of keratin is thought to be why the vitamin can help with people’s hair problems like hair loss, thinning or breakage.
There are three stages in the life cycle of your hair: these are the growing stage, the resting stage and the shedding phase. Taking the biotin vitamin helps make your hair appear healthier and promote growth by keeping the hair in the grow stage for longer. The vitamin helps with regrowth and an improvement of the hair’s condition, as it can help make your hair follicles stronger. Healthy hair also needs a healthy scalp, as for the hair to grow and be healthy you need to make sure your scalp is also in good condition. The biotin vitamin is important in dealing with any problems with your scalp, like dryness, and keeping your scalp in good condition. This improvement in the scalp’s condition, due to biotin, may promote regrowth of any lost hair. Although the biotin vitamin can play a role in improving the hair’s growth and condition, it is important to remember that you cannot rely on the vitamin alone for this role. For the best results in improving the hair’s condition (as well as that of the skin and nails), in conjunction with consuming the biotin vitamin you should practice a healthy lifestyle – including a good diet, taking regular exercise and reducing your stress levels.
Biotin vitamin deficiency has been linked to dry, brittle nails, with these being one of the visible signs of low levels of biotin in the body. This is why many people take the vitamin biotin to improve the health and condition of their nails, including thickening the cuticles, as well as treating brittle or dry nails. Biotin helps in this area due to the vitamin’s important role in cell growth, similar to its role in improving the condition of the hair.
As the biotin vitamin has important biological functions relating to hormones and the nervous system, as well as cell growth, a deficiency in the vitamin can lead to a visible in the skin’s condition. The biotin vitamin is also important in improving the skin’s condition, making it appear more healthy, as it can promote the renewal of skin cells which have died. Those with low levels of biotin can exhibit many problems with their skin, including acne, dermatitis, rashes, psoriasis and general itchiness. Many people take biotin supplements to improve the appearance of their skin and promote a more healthy, radiant look. Biotin supplements may be taken to help skin complaints including acne, eczema and a skin rash in infants called seborrheic dermatitis.
Help weight loss
Although research on biotin and weight loss is in its infancy, many believe the vitamin biotin can be an aid to weight loss due to its metabolic roles in the human body. The vitamin biotin is part of the B-complex and it is essential for energy production, with the vitamin helping to break down nearly every part of our diets, particularly the carbohydrates. It is suggested that biotin vitamin supplements could play a role in weight loss by increasing the body’s metabolism, with the body’s resting metabolic rate increased – with food being broken down at a faster rate – when the vitamin biotin has been ingested. This increase in metabolism is boosted further when chromium is also consumed. Although many people say biotin has helped them lose weight, biotic supplements are not a magic weight loss drug. You will still need to eat healthy and exercise regularly in conjunction with taking the supplements, in order to reach your target weight.
The biotin has also been found to function in lowering the body’s cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a type of fatty substance called a lipid. It is important for keeping the human body functioning normally. Cholesterol is produce by our livers, but is also present in our diets. There are health problems associated with having an excessive amount of lipids in your body (called hyperlipidemia). It is important to keep cholesterol levels low, as high levels of the molecules in the body can lead to an increased risk serious health problems, like heart attacks, strokes or mini-strokes. Early research has suggested the vitamin biotin may reduce the level of ‘bad’ cholesterols in the body, called low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Low-density lipoprotein functions in transporting cholesterol from the liver to the body’s cells which require it. Low-density lipoprotein is termed the ‘bad’ type of cholesterol as if the body’s cholesterol levels are too high for the body’s cells to utilize, it can start to accumulate in the walls of the arteries. This can restrict the blood’s flow to the brain, heart and all parts of the body – which can cause coronary heart disease and increase the risk of developing a blood clot anywhere in the body.
Regulation of blood sugar levels
Biotin is important for health as it helps the body use glucose. Glucose is a simple carbohydrate sugar that is an important energy source. Taking biotin has been linked to both fighting and treating diabetes, particularly Type II. Diabetics have levels of glucose in their blood which is too high, which means the body cannot utilize the glucose in the right way. This is caused by the pancreas either not producing enough insulin or not producing any at all, which means glucose cannot enter your cells, or that the insulin which is produced does not work in the right way (this is referred to as insulin resistance). As with weight loss, biotin’s positive effects in this area are boosted when chromium is also taken. You should make sure you get enough biotin to help maintain correct blood sugar levels, with a deficiency in the vitamin also connected with decreased use of glucose or a lowered tolerance of glucose. Biotin is sometimes given to diabetics due to its important metabolic roles in the body. The vitamin plays a role in breaking down carbohydrates, which help maintains the body’s blood sugar levels.
How much biotin do you need?
How much of the vitamin your body will require for normal functioning depends on your age, sex and health status – including whether you are pregnant or lactating. The Institute of Medicine and The Food & Nutrition Board recommend adults, in good health, over the age of 18 consume 35 mcg of biotin on daily basis. The same health organizations suggests teenagers between 14 and 18 years old should consume 35 mcg. It is recommended that pregnant women consume 30 mcg of biotin daily, regardless of their age. While women who are breastfeeding will require a slightly higher amount: needing to consume 35 mcg on a daily basis to maintain good health.
Notes on biotin
Biotin is a supplement and not a drug. Although preliminary studies have linked dietary biotin and supplements of the vitamin to a wide range of health benefits (with people worldwide singing biotin’s praises in how it has helped with their health complaints) and the vitamin is generally well-tolerated without side effects by many, you should – as with taking any dietary supplement – speak to you doctor or another health professional before starting to take it. It is thought to be safe for women who are pregnant to take without harming their babies, however it is best to check with a doctor what the right dosage for you will be.
Side effects from biotin are uncommon, with most people tolerating it with no problems. However, it is important to be aware of the problems which could potentially arise from taking biotin before you decide to take it. The most frequently reported side effects from consuming the vitamin in oral form are upset stomachs, diarrhea and constipation. These symptoms are usually short-lived and will begin to go away as your body becomes more tolerant of the vitamin. If these side effects increase in severity or do not go away, you should speak to your doctor or chemist. Serious risks from taking biotin are rare, but allergic reactions can occur.
The symptoms of this can include:
dizziness, problems with breathing, rashes, and swelling or itching – particularly of the throat or tongue. If you exhibit any of these symptoms after taking biotin, it is important that you see a medical processional immediately.
This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.