As we continue onto the next rung of the ladder in our intermittent series on B-complex vitamins, we now come to vitamin B7, otherwise known as biotin. This is a water-soluble vitamin that, among other things, acts as a catalyst for a variety of metabolic reactions programmed to extract energy in our bodies. Because vitamin B7 is water soluble, it is in constant need of replenishment, and that's up to us.
Symptoms of Vitamin B7 DeficiencyAs is the case with most B vitamins, we don't want to be caught short in terms of bodily supply of B7/biotin. A biotin deficiency can lead to the following conditions, per organicfacts.net:
- General fatigue
- Muscle pain
- Loss of hair
- Neurological disorders
- Restricted growth in infants
Food Sources of Vitamin B7Refueling ourselves with B7/biotin shouldn't be too much of a problem – not only is it readily available in nutritional supplement form, it also can be found in many foods that we not only eat but can also enjoy, depending, of course, on your particular tastes:
- Egg yolks, but be careful to avoid the egg whites, which can hinder the absorption of B7. Or, at least avoid eating egg whites in large quantities, per organicfacts.net.
- Fish, to include salmon and mackerel.
- Leafy vegetables.
- Brewer's yeast.
- Oat bran.
Vitamin B7/Biotin BenefitsConsuming vitamin B7 is about more than just avoiding deficiency-induced symptoms, like those mentioned above; it is also about being proactive in maintaining good health and improving on less-than-stellar health if that happens to be the case with you. Here are 10 potential B7 health benefits, although a consultation with a physician is always in order before diving into the biotin pool and hoping for the best:
- Diabetes. Biotin may help control and maybe even prevent diabetes thanks to its role in boosting the secretion of insulin, which is a protein involved in regulating blood sugar levels.
- Digestion. To break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, the body needs biotin to help in that process. Individuals who have metabolic issues might need to be on a biotin supplement, per thehealthsite.com. Again, discuss with a physician before doing anything.
- Epilepsy. Studies, as per ayurtimes.com, have found that treating epileptics with biotin has at least reduced the frequency of seizures. Another study pertaining to epilepsy showed a link between use of anti-epileptic drugs and biotin deficiency. Upping the consumption of biotin in such patients can minimize the risk of a biotin deficiency as well as thwart the side effects of the anti-epileptic drugs.
- Healthy hair and nails. What man or woman isn't all for that? Biotin has been referred to as the beauty vitamin for how it contributes to the health – and beauty – of our hair and nails. Biotin helps not only in hair growth but hair strength as well, and it can also be helpful for eyelash growth.
- Heart function. Vitamin B7 works to maintain healthy cholesterol (as well as triglyceride) levels while also protecting the heart from inflammation and atherosclerosis, per ayurtimes.com. It can also help our bodies in synthesizing important biological components such as DNA and proteins, per newsmax.com.
- Manage multiple sclerosis. This is a neurological disease whereby nerves' protective coverings get damaged. Biotin, per ayurtimes.com, may help counter this by activating carboxylase, an enzyme that contributes to the synthesis of fatty acids that can help repair those outer coverings of the nerves.
- Muscle cramps. Biotin's anti-cramp properties can diminish the severity of pain brought on by muscle cramps, such as those experienced by renal failure patients undergoing dialysis.
- Skin care. Well, if biotin is going to be good for hair and nails, it might as well work well for skin, too, which it does. That's why biotin is a key ingredient used in a number of skin care products such as massage oils and creams.
- Treating diseases. Among those diseases that have been singled out by health experts as responding to biotin treatment include alopecia, Parkinson's disease, Rett syndrome, Crohn's disease, and vaginal candidiasis, per organicfacts.net.
- Weight loss. Biotin's role in supporting the metabolic processes includes enhancing the efficiency with which our bodies break down food, thus potentially helping us lose excess weight.