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Biotin

Biotin is essential for life. It is also known as vitamin B7, or vitamin H. It is a member of the water-soluble B-complex group of vitamins and serves to assist the function of enzymatic reactions in the body, which govern our digestion, metabolism and production of fatty acids and proteins. This is why biotin is famous for its effects on skin, nails and hair health. Biotin also helps the body convert food into energy and maintains integrity of the nervous system.



This vitamin is not made in sufficient amounts by the human body so must be obtained from food. Nutritional biotin deficiency is rare and usually due to the excessive consumption of raw eggs on a regular basis causing biotin deficiency when avidin, the protein in raw eggs, binds to biotin, making biotin unavailable for absorption in the intestine[i]. That said, there are claims that supplementing additional biotin can have health benefits such as the regulation of blood sugar, promotion of healthy hair, skin, and nail growth. The vitamin may also assist in pre-natal health. Biotin, alike most vitamins in the B-complex family is water soluble, meaning it passes through the urinary system quite rapidly and is not stored in the human body for very long. Particularly high amounts are found in foods such as liver (offal), egg yolk, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, sweet potato and whole grains [ii].


Health Benefits of Biotin:


Brittle Nails and Hair Loss:


Brittle nails are a common symptom of a lack of biotin in the body[iii]. As mentioned previously, biotin is required for reactions in the body important for synthesis of lipid molecules, which bind the nail plate’s keratinocytes (cells which produce the hard protein substance in for hair, skin and nails) [iv]. It is well documented that hair loss as a symptom can present due to biotin deficiency or insufficiency [v] [vi].


32 women with brittle nails completed a trial; the group provided with biotin saw an increase in nail thickness by 25% and splitting of the nails also reduced significantly (5). Oral supplementation with biotin (2.5–10 mg orally per day) has been used to improve the quality of nails [vii].


Diabetes:


Animal studies have been completed to assess the antidiabetic capabilities of biotin mixed with chromium picolinate in rats with type 2 diabetes. This work suggested that type 2 diabetics may benefit from taking biotin supplements to help regulate blood glucose levels.


However, the research so far is not yet conclusive [viii].


Another study was carried out to investigate the protective role of biotin in kidney injury and oxidative stress in mice with diabetes type 1. It was concluded that this form of kidney disease was reduced by the protective role of biotin in this study. However, again it was said more research is needed to further validate these findings [ix].


Deficiency Signs and Symptoms [x]:


There is not an effective test for detecting low biotin levels, so it is usually identified by its symptoms:


  • Dermatitis, dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Alopecia or hair loss
  • Loss of hair colour
  • Fatigue, depression
  • Anorexia (loss of appetite)
  • Red scaly rash around eyes, mouth, nose
  • Seizures




Recommended For

Skin Support , Hair Health , Hair Loss , Dry Skin , Nail Health , Blood Sugar Balance

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