Biotin, also known as vitamin H, makes up part of a complex group of vitamins known as B vitamins.
The main role of these vitamins is to help the body with the conversion of food into usable energy, something which is extremely vital for our every-day functions, particularly for those who are active and fitness orientated.
What Is Biotin?
As already mentioned, biotin is a part of the group of B vitamins. It is an important component of enzymes within the body that break down certain substances such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, which all each have their respective enzymes that are required to break them down.
Biotin can be found naturally in some foods, and whilst we receive most of the biotin that we require through our diets, it is often desirable to supplement in order to gain some of the various health benefits that have been linked with biotin, and its consumption.
Biotin Health Benefits
There are many benefits which biotin has to offer, most of which are to do with physical appearance.
✓ Strengthens Hair
There is strong evidence to suggest that biotin has a great positive effect on hair growth and similarly, that biotin deficiency can lead to hair loss. As such, many manufacturers of hair products are now including biotin in their formulas to combat hair loss, which is a problem which many people face.
✓ Strengthens Nails
Similarly to the way in which biotin has been linked with strengthening hair, there have also been studies that have shown it also improves the health of your nails. This is because it helps thicken the nail cuticles which can help to prevent breakages.
✓ Improves Skin
Biotin has also been linked with improving the overall appearance of your skin, as well as certain skin rashes and conditions, such as acne. Biotin, as well as other B vitamins, play a key role in our hormonal systems, which can be a trigger for conditions such as acne.
✓ Helps Build and Repair Muscles
B vitamins are required in order to build back muscle tissue when it is broken down, for example, after intense exercise. This makes it vital when it comes to building muscle.
Whilst not concrete, there have been animal studies which have shown that biotin can help to lower cholesterol, namely LDL (low density lipoproteins) which is more commonly known as ‘bad’ cholesterol.
✓ Helps Blood Sugar Levels
One particular study has found that biotin can help to lower blood glucose levels when paired with another vitamin, chromium.
✓ Supports Your Metabolism
Of course, because biotin and other B vitamins are used for the conversion of food into usable energy, it is vital for a healthy and effective immune system. Biotin helps to convert glucose from carbohydrate sources to the body’s preferred source of energy, ATP, or glycogen if it is being stored.
Biotin Daily Dosage
As reported by the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine, the daily recommended intake of biotin is as follows:
✓ 5 micrograms daily for infants
✓ 6–8 micrograms daily for infants ages 7 months–3 years
✓ 12–20 micrograms daily for children ages 4–13
✓ 25 micrograms for adolescents
✓ 30 micrograms for male and female adults over 19
✓ 30 milligrams for pregnant women and 35 milligrams for women who are breastfeeding
Plainly speaking, biotin deficiency is quite rare, as we usually consume an optimal dosage of it through our regular diets.
However, some of the symptoms of biotin deficiency that are worth making a note of are as follows:
✓ Dry skin
✓ Hair loss
✓ Brittle hair
✓ Mood swings
✓ Muscle aches
✓ Muscle cramps
If you believe you may be deficient in biotin then it is best to consult your doctor, who will advise you on what procedure to take.
Food Sources of Biotin
As previously mentioned, we usually receive enough biotin through our everyday diets.
This is because it is found in sufficient quantities in foods which are regularly consumed, such as the following:
✓ Eggs (yolk)
This list is not exhaustive, meaning there are many other foods which are a good source of biotin; these are just some of the most regularly consumed which you will probably eat on a daily/weekly basis.
Biotin Side Effects
Biotin is deemed safe for consumption when taken orally and in appropriate doses, as previously outlined. In some cases, it is injected into the muscles, though this is not deemed as safe a practice as when it is taken orally and can offer some of the same risk that any form of injection would.
It is worth noting that you should probably consult with your doctor before taking any form of supplement, or if you believe that you may be deficient in biotin or any other vitamin.
Take Home Message
Biotin is an essential vitamin which carries out some important processes in our bodies. Supplementing with it can help to provide some wonderful health benefits, though we often receive sufficient doses through our normal diets, as a lot of frequently consumed foods are rich in biotin.
If you have any of the symptoms of biotin deficiency listed above, do not hesitate to contact your doctor who will recommend to you how to proceed.