Biotin: For healthy skin, hair and nails
• Important for hair, skin and nail health
• Essential nutrient for carbohydrate metabolism
• Required for synthesis of fatty acids
• Helps to maintain a healthy nervous system
• Assists in converting food to energy
• Involved in transformation of amino acids into protein
• Contributes to health of sex glands and sweat glands
• Promotes normal cell growth
What is Biotin?
Biotin is a member of the B complex family, but it is not actually a vitamin. It is a coenzyme that works with vitamins. It is produced naturally in small amounts by the intestines. Biotin used to be known as Vitamin H. Biotin is found in many foods, including oatmeal, vegetables, peanuts, mushrooms, egg yolks, rice, nuts, spinach, potatoes and poultry and beef. Biotin gets its name from the Greek word bios, which means “life” and was first isolated in 1936. Biotin is water-soluble, so any excess will be eliminated in the urine.
What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
• Energy and Weight Loss: Biotin helps the body better use food for energy. This means that biotin may increase energy levels and, by making the digestive process more efficient, biotin may help people lose weight. This makes biotin an ideal supplement if you are looking to have more energy and lose weight.
• Hair and Nails: Biotin supplements may improve thin, splitting, or brittle toe and fingernails as well as hair health. Biotin has also been used to combat alopecia (partial or complete loss of hair) in both children and adults.
• Skin: An impressive body of anecdotal evidence exists to suggest that biotin can dramatically improve skin health. If you have dermatitis or eczema, biotin may be an appropriate adjunct to your current skin treatment program.
• Diabetes: People with type 2 diabetes often have low levels of biotin. Biotin may be involved in the synthesis and release of insulin. An improved insulin response may reduce your dependency on insulin and improve your overall health. Preliminary studies in both animals and people suggest that biotin may help improve blood sugar control in those with diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes. More research in this area would be helpful.
• Peripheral Neuropathy: There have been reports of biotin supplements improving the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy for some people who developed this condition from either long-standing diabetes or on-going hemodialysis for kidney failure. Peripheral neuropathy refers to damage to the nerves of the extremities, most commonly the feet and calves. It is felt as numbness, tingling, burning or strange sensations, and may be accompanied by pain, muscle weakness, and difficulty walking. People who have taken biotin for these purposes tend to notice improvement as early as 1 to 3 months after starting the supplement.
• Candida Infections: Candida infections affect the skin, mouth, and vagina and are caused by a yeast-like fungus. Possible symptoms include white patches in the mouth or on the throat, painful cracks at the corners of the mouth, skin rashes found commonly in the groin, between fingers and toes, and under the breasts, and vaginal itching and irritation. Some scientists believe that people with a biotin deficiency may be more likely to become infected with candida.
• High Cholesterol: Animal studies and a few human studies suggest that low levels of biotin are associated with high total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol.
• Attention Deficit Disorder: Controversial but interesting anecdote has shown that persons with ADD / ADHD may benefit from b-vitamin supplementation because of their role in improving attention span. Anecdotal evidence indicates that the effect of B-vitamins on attention span is effective.
Why should you take Biotin?
Biotin is necessary for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and protein. As a coenzyme, it is involved in a number of processes and is utilised by every cell in the body. Biotin is involved in energy metabolism, and plays a role in enabling the body to use glucose. Thus, Biotin is helpful in maintaining a steady blood sugar level. It is essential for cell growth and replication.
It helps form and maintain chemical structures in keratin (the major protein found in hair and nails). Biotin is often recommended for strengthening hair and nails. Consequently, it is found in many cosmetic and health products for the hair and skin.
What are some symptoms of deficiency?
Symptoms of biotin deficiency may include hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, short attention span, mental depression, birth defects and nausea.
Are there any side effects?
• There are no known reports of toxicity associated with Biotin.
• If you are pregnant or lactating consult a health care practitioner prior to using Biotin.