Biotin is an essential vitamin, playing various essential roles in the human body, and is commonly available as an oral supplement. What is biotin? What does it do for us, and what happens if we don’t get enough of it? Here is a look at those questions.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is another name for vitamin B7, and it is naturally present in some foods and commonly taken as a dietary supplement.
It is a water-soluble vitamin, and it plays a variety of important roles. Biotin helps the body metabolize various substances, primarily fatty acids, glucose (sugar), and amino acids (which make up proteins).
Biotin also plays a crucial role in the regulation of genes, and in cell signaling, the process by which cells communicate with their environment.
Biotin deficiency is rare.
This is because most Americans get the recommended daily intake of biotin from the foods they eat. However, there are some factors which can precipitate biotin deficiency.
Individuals struggling with alcoholism are more likely to experience biotin deficiency, because alcohol prevents the absorption of biotin.
More commonly and more relevantly, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are at risk of developing biotin deficiency. Science doesn’t yet have a clear answer as to why this is, but biotin concentrations have been found to be low in about one-third of pregnant and breastfeeding women.
The Benefits of Biotin
There are a range of potential benefits one can experience from supplementing with biotin. Some of these benefits are supported by substantial scientific study, while others are supported by anecdotal evidence. We recommend that you talk to a doctor about supplementing with biotin before doing so.
Full, healthy hair is a benefit of taking biotin if you are someone who is biotin deficient. In men and women who are deficient in biotin, thinning hair is one of the typical symptoms. An oral biotin supplement can help remedy this symptom.
Strengthening the nails is possible with biotin supplements. Brittle nails are a typical symptom of biotin deficiency, and supplementing with biotin can almost certainly help those individuals. But, some studies suggest it can help those who aren't deficient as well.
Metabolic function might be improved by supplementing with biotin. Getting enough biotin helps your body make proper use of amino acids by converting them into proteins, and it also helps turn glucose in carbohydrates into energy.
Fetal development can be bolstered by getting enough biotin. This is because of the small chance pregnant women have of becoming biotin deficient. It’s important to stick to the recommended dose, as too much biotin can have adverse effects.
Heart health can potentially be enhanced by supplementing with biotin. This is because biotin can potentially help regulate the body’s cholesterol levels by increasing good cholesterol and lowering the bad. This helps protect against inflammation and therefore heart disease.
Biotin is an essential vitamin that should be considered as you ponder on having a healthy diet. If you or a family member might be at risk of biotin deficiency, then supplementing with biotin can certainly be of help. Or, if you just want to make sure that you are getting enough biotin, then it is worth having in your supplement cabinet.