If you’re wondering what biotin is, it’s what we commonly call vitamin H or vitamin B7; it is one among the B complex vitamins. Foods like egg yolk, nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts), legumes like beans, whole grains, cauliflower, and mushrooms contain biotin. Apart from these foods, the vitamin is also produced by bacteria in the intestine. It is also water soluble like other B vitamins, so your body does not store it. The recommended intake is 30 mcg for adults and 5 mcg for infants. Biotin deficiency, however, is quite rare.
Although biotin is said to be quite beneficial for a lot of health reasons, not enough research has been conducted to validate many of its benefits.
Here are 7 great ways biotin benefits your health.
7 Health Benefits Of Biotin
1. Helps Produce Energy
Your body requires biotin to metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids in the food you eat. Biotin supports the functioning of enzymes involved in the metabolic processes of these nutrients. Biotin-containing enzymes help initiate the glucose production process.1 Not just that, biotin also aids enzymes that activate reactions essential for the production of fatty acids2 and those that are required for the metabolism of important amino acids3. These reactions are essential because they convert the food you eat into glucose, which is used to produce energy.
2. Essential For Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
Because the developing fetus requires biotin for growth and draws it from the mother, women tend to develop a biotin deficiency when they are pregnant or breastfeeding. This deficiency can be taken care of by additional biotin intake.4 However, remember to consult your doctor before you take any biotin supplements when pregnant or breastfeeding.
3. Lowers Blood Sugar In Type 2 Diabetes Patients
Biotin in combination with chromium is said to lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. It is also said to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol by converting it into good cholesterol.5 Both these benefits of biotin aid those with type 2 diabetes. However, more research is required to confirm the benefits.
The possible effects of biotin on cholesterol are also likely to help those with heart problems, possibly reducing the chances of strokes and heart attacks.
4. Treats Brittle Nails
Brittle nails are quite fragile and can break off, crack, or split easily. Consuming biotin proves to be an effective therapy for brittle toe and fingernails. Because biotin plays a role in supporting enzymes involved in protein synthesis, eating it will enhance the growth of proteins in your nails, making them stronger. However, research has been conducted only on small study groups so more research is required to confirm this.
Biotin has also been found to be beneficial for strengthening the hooves of horses and claws of pigs when consumed orally.6
5. Improves Hair Growth
Biotin is also said to make your hair healthier and stronger, but there isn’t enough research to support this. However, those with a biotin deficiency are likely to have hair loss and biotin intake has been found to improve hair growth.7
Whether consuming biotin aids hair growth in people without a biotin deficiency is yet to be proved.
6. Aids Skin Problems
Infants without sufficient biotin develop a scalp condition called cradle cap, or seborrheic dermatitis, in which the scalp has a scaly texture. Biotin intake is said to help with this condition because of its role in fat metabolism, which may be hindered in someone with a biotin deficiency
Biotin deficiency is also said to cause red, scaly rashes on your skin. There is no proof for the benefits of biotin on the skin of those who do not have a deficiency.
7. Good For Those With Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease (a disease that causes your immune system to attack healthy cells) in which the protective covering of the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord – called the myelin sheath – is damaged or destroyed. Biotin is said to play a vital role in the production of this protective covering. Some research suggests that those who use high doses of biotin may show improvement to a certain extent.8 While this is promising, more research is required to validate these findings.
Apart from these benefits, biotin is also said to be good for those with peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the feet, hands, legs, or arms). It is also believed to be helpful for those who have lost their sense of taste.9
Although biotin is considered safe for most people, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before adding biotin to your diet.
|↑1||Tong, Liang. “Structure and function of biotin-dependent carboxylases.” Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 70, no. 5 (2013): 863-891.|
|↑2||Tong, L. “Acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase: crucial metabolic enzyme and attractive target for drug discovery.” Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 62, no. 16 (2005): 1784-1803.|
|↑3||Hutson, Susan M., Andrew J. Sweatt, and Kathryn F. LaNoue. “Branched-chain amino acid metabolism: implications for establishing safe intakes.” The Journal of nutrition 135, no. 6 (2005): 1557S-1564S.|
|↑4||Perry, Cydne A., Allyson A. West, Antoinette Gayle, Lauren K. Lucas, Jian Yan, Xinyin Jiang, Olga Malysheva, and Marie A. Caudill. “Pregnancy and lactation alter biomarkers of biotin metabolism in women consuming a controlled diet.” The Journal of nutrition 144, no. 12 (2014): 1977-1984.|
|↑5||Geohas, Jeff, Anne Daly, Vijaya Juturu, Manley Finch, and James R. Komorowski. “Chromium picolinate and biotin combination reduces atherogenic index of plasma in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a placebo-controlled, double-blinded, randomized clinical trial.” The American journal of the medical sciences 333, no. 3 (2007): 145-153.|
|↑6||Floersheim, G. L. “Treatment of brittle fingernails with biotin.” Zeitschrift fur Hautkrankheiten 64, no. 1 (1989): 41-48.|
|↑7||Zempleni, Janos, Yousef I. Hassan, and Subhashinee SK Wijeratne. “Biotin and biotinidase deficiency.” Expert review of endocrinology & metabolism 3, no. 6 (2008): 715-724.|
|↑8||Sedel, Frédéric, Delphine Bernard, Donald M. Mock, and Ayman Tourbah. “Targeting demyelination and virtual hypoxia with high-dose biotin as a treatment for progressive multiple sclerosis.” Neuropharmacology 110 (2016): 644-653.|
|↑9||Vitamin H (Biotin). University of Maryland Medical Center.|