Biotin, also known as vitamin H or B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps the body to metabolize fats, carbohydrates and protein, and this type of vitamins are not stored in the body so it is necessary to take them daily, and vitamin B7 is not synthesized by human cells. But it is produced by bacteria in the body and is found in many foods.
Biotin therapy may help treat some medical conditions, and some people also take biotin supplements to strengthen their nails and hair. In this article, we’ll show you why we need biotin, the recommended amount, the sources rich in it, as well as any potential health risks from overeating it.
Table of contents
Facts about biotin you should know
- Biotin or vitamin B7 is necessary for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and protein.
- Biotin deficiency can lead to hair loss and skin problems but is rare.
- Food sources rich in biotin: red meat, eggs, seeds and nuts.
- Biotin supplements aren’t likely to cause harm, but they haven’t been proven to help healthy hair, skin, and nails.
- Biotin helps reduce inflammation in the body.
- Having biotin in your daily diet helps improve cognitive function.
- Biotin has an important role in increasing good “HDL” cholesterol and reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol, which is a very important function for the health of the human body.
Benefits of biotin for the body
1 – Improving the metabolism process in the body
Biotin is one of the most important vitamins that the human body needs to produce energy, and as we mentioned, the body needs biotin to metabolize fats, carbohydrates and protein.
2 – Maintain a healthy pregnancy
Mild biotin deficiency often appears during pregnancy, which can lead to abnormal fetal development. Folic acid supplementation is recommended starting in the year before conception and also during pregnancy. It is also possible to take a multivitamin that provides at least 30 micrograms of biotin per day, in addition to folic acid, to avoid deficiency.
3- Maintain healthy nails, hair and skin
There is some evidence that biotin may improve the strength and durability of nails and promote healthy hair and skin. Researchers found that brittle nail syndrome began to subside with supplementation with a dose of 2.5 mg of biotin per day or a dose of 10 mg of silicon per day. Research published in 2015 also found that women with thinning hair experienced some reduction in hair loss after taking a biotin supplement for 90 days.
But according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), the evidence that biotin supplements can strengthen nails and promote healthy hair is still very little, and more studies are still needed to support the use of biotin supplements for this purpose in healthy individuals.
4- Reducing blood glucose
Several studies have tested biotin’s ability to lower blood glucose levels in type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients, and the results are promising.
In animal experiments, biotin has been shown to stimulate insulin secretion from the pancreas and thus lower blood glucose. Research published in 2016 also indicated that biotin may help control blood sugar in people with type 1 diabetes. More studies are needed before biotin’s effects on blood sugar can be confirmed.
5- Control of neuropathy
Biotin may also help reduce nerve damage in people with diabetes or who are undergoing dialysis. In 1990, scientists found that three patients who took a high dose of biotin for one to two years saw an improvement in their symptoms.
6- Treatment of multiple sclerosis
Studies show that treatment with high doses of biotin may help relieve symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system, leading to muscle weakness and a host of other problems.
Results of trials published in 2016 indicated that biotin was a safe treatment. In some patients, taking a high dose three times daily resulted in reduced symptoms after adhering to this dose for 9 months.
Biotin deficiency is rare, because biotin is found in a large number of foods, and “good” gut bacteria usually make more biotin than the body needs. Signs of a biotin deficiency include:
- Hair loss.
- A red, scaly rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and genitals.
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
- Loss of control of bodily movements (ataxia).
- Impaired immune function.
- Increased risk of bacterial and fungal infections.
Biotin deficiency is most likely to arise in:
- Women during pregnancy.
- People who smoke.
- Patients receiving prolonged parenteral nutrition.
- Infants if breast milk is low in biotin.
- Patients with impaired biotin absorption due to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or other gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.
Biotin deficiency may also affect:
- Patients taking epilepsy medicines, such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, or carbamazepine.
- And also people with some types of liver disease.
Foods rich in biotin
Food should be the first choice when looking for sources of biotin. The biotin in foods is related to protein.
Among the most important foods rich in biotin:
- Bread yeast.
- Wheat Bran.
- Meat, especially liver and kidneys.
- Whole cooked eggs.
- Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, and walnuts.
- Soybeans and other legumes.
- Grains of all kinds.
- the banana.
Raw eggs contain a protein called avidin that prevents biotin from being absorbed.
Heat can reduce the effectiveness of biotin, so choose dishes that are raw or that don’t require much cooking. Also, the amount of biotin can vary from one food to another, so knowing the amount of biotin present in each type of food will help you determine the elements you need daily to get the required biotin dose.
Here are some foods and the amounts of biotin in them
- 3 ounces of cooked liver contains 30.8 micrograms of biotin.
- 1 large, whole cooked egg contains 10 mcg of biotin.
- 3 ounces of canned pink salmon in water: Contains 5 micrograms of biotin.
- One ounce of cheddar cheese: contains 0.4 to 2 micrograms of biotin.
- 1 cup sweet potato: contains 4.8 micrograms of biotin.
- 3 ounces of cooked hamburger: contains 3.8 micrograms of biotin.
- 1 cup of roasted sunflower seeds: Contains 9.6 micrograms of biotin.
- 1 cup roasted almonds: contains 6 micrograms of biotin.
Some other foods, such as fruits and vegetables, also contain low amounts of biotin.
The daily recommended dose of biotin
Anyone aged 10 years or over should get 30 to 100 mcg per day. For infants and children, the recommended dose is:
- Birth to 3 years: 10 to 20 mcg.
- Ages 4 to 6 years: 25 mcg.
- Ages 7 to 10 years: 30 mcg.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women need higher levels of biotin.
And because it is water soluble, extra biotin will simply be excreted out of your body when you urinate. While most people can take biotin supplements, some people experience mild side effects such as nausea and digestive problems but there are no known toxicity symptoms associated with excess biotin in the body.
Biotin nutritional supplement
You can buy a biotin supplement or get it by taking a B complex vitamin supplement or multivitamin tablet. Biotin supplements are often taken to avoid or treat:
- Hair loss.
- Brittle nails.
- Seborrheic dermatitis , which is a skin condition that affects infants.
- Cases of slight depression.
People with biotinidase deficiency usually start at a dose of 5 to 10 mg per day. People without this genetic condition should first try to get enough biotin from the diet, as dietary biotin also boosts the amount of other beneficial nutrients taken that work with it along with it.
It is always best to get the nutrients from food sources first, then from supplements if needed as a backup. Always consult your doctor before taking supplements, and choose brands carefully.
Biotinidase deficiency is another cause of biotin deficiency. It is called an autosomal recessive metabolic disorder. In people with this condition, the body does not produce enough of the enzyme needed to release biotin from the proteins in the diet during digestion or from the normal protein turnover in the cell.
About 1 in 60,000 newborns have a severe or partial biotinidase deficiency. In severe deficiency, the activity of the enzyme is less than 10 percent of its normal activity. In the case of partial deficiency, the activity of the enzyme is from 10 to 30 percent of its normal activity.
The risks posed by biotin
Large doses of it have no known toxic effects, but some medications and herbs may interact with supplements. If biotin is taken with alpha-lipoic acid, the body may not be able to absorb either of them effectively. The same is true for vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid.
Biotin supplements may also interact with some medications that are broken down by the liver, including clozapine (Clozaril), haloperidol (Haldol), olanzapine (Zyprexa), and others.
There is no evidence that most people need to take biotin supplements, and there have been no reports of severe deficiency in any healthy person consuming a balanced diet.
And if you suffer from thinning hair or hair loss, biotin may help regrowth. There is some research indicating that increased biotin intake can improve overall hair quality, including hair thickness and luster.
If you start to have any unusual symptoms while taking a biotin supplement, stop using it and see your doctor.
Unless otherwise advised by a doctor, a balanced diet is likely to meet the needs of most people.
Anyone considering a biotin supplement should see a doctor first.
Biotin: its benefits, its sources and its safe use – Medical News Today