What Is Biotin?
Biotin is one of the B-vitamins, also known as vitamin B7. It was once called coenzyme R and vitamin H. The H stands for Haar und Haut, which is German for hair and skin.
Biotin is water-soluble, which means the body doesn’t store it. It has many important functions in the body. It’s necessary for the function of several enzymes known as carboxylases. These biotin-containing enzymes participate in important metabolic pathways, such as the production of glucose and fatty acids.
A commonly recommended intake is 5 mcg (micrograms) per day in infants and 30 mcg in adults. This goes up to 35 mcg per day in breastfeeding women. Biotin deficiency is fairly rare. However, some groups such as pregnant women – may experience it in mild forms.
Eating raw eggs may also cause a deficiency, but you would need to eat a lot of eggs for a very long time. Raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin, which binds to biotin and prevents its absorption. Avidin is inactivated during cooking.
Promotes a Healthy Metabolism
Biotin assists in energy production. It supports a number of enzymes involved in the metabolism of carbs, fats, and protein.
Promotes Lower Sugar Levels
Vitamin B7 biotin, especially when combined with chromium, has been shown to help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. This is especially true for those who have blood glucose (sugar) levels that are not controlled well by prescription medicines.
Vitamin B7 benefits to blood glucose levels because it facilitates the activity of insulin, which is the crucial hormone needed to bring blood sugar back to a balanced state. (1) Better insulin response helps to reduce the risk of widely fluctuating blood sugar levels, which can lead to pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, weight gain and forms of metabolic syndrome.
Vitamin B7 biotin decreases the expression of enzymes that stimulate glucose production by the liver, therefore less sugar is released into the bloodstream. For this reason, vitamin B7 deficiency has been linked to impaired glucose tolerance and decreased utilization of glucose, which are risk factors for diabetes. Vitamin B7 can also help reduce symptoms of existing cases of diabetes, including nerve pain.
Promotes Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails
Vitamin B7 is needed to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails — so when someone experiences a vitamin B7 deficiency, symptoms may manifest in the form of thinning, splitting and brittle hair, or dermatitis that results in dry, irritated skin. You may notice that biotin is included in many cosmetic face creams, hair masques, and other over-the-counter beauty products for this reason, but vitamin B7 biotin is much more effective when it’s eaten rather than applied topically.
According to studies, taking high doses of biotin can help treat weak hair and nails. In fact, this benefit of vitamin B7 biotic was first discovered when horses were effectively treated with biotin to correct problems with the horses’ hoofs becoming brittle and cracked. (2)
Promotes Brain Health and Prevent Brain Diseases
Vitamin B7 benefits the health of the nervous system because of its role in nerve signaling and neurotransmitter activity. (5) B vitamins together influence memory function and defend against age-related cognitive impairment, such as neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Because of their role in synthesizing hormones that are related to a mood regulation, B vitamins like vitamin B7 help to keep up a positive mindset, boost energy and increase concentration.
Helps Promote Heart Health
Vitamin B7 and chromium together can help improve cholesterol levels, according to studies. Vitamin B7 have been shown to have positive results with increasing “good” HDL cholesterol, while helping to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. This is especially true in people with diabetes who are susceptible to heart disease.
Promotes Thyroid and Adrenal Function
B vitamins like vitamin B7 biotin are needed for proper thyroid activity and defending against adrenal fatigue. The thyroid plant and adrenal gland are “master” glands that are responsible for multiple body states, including hunger, sleep, pain perception, mood and energy. (6)
A deficiency in B vitamins can result in thyroid and adrenal complications — and thus create many negative symptoms, such as fatigue, weight gain or loss, trouble sleeping, and more.
Helps Build and Repair Tissues and Muscles
Vitamin B7 helps in the growth and maintenance of bodily tissues, including to help repair and build muscles. When tissue or muscle is broken down, B vitamins like vitamin B7 biotin work to build back the strength of muscle and tissue that leads to growth. (7)
B vitamins also help reduce inflammation that can result in muscle or joint aches, pains, or trouble moving. Even more seriously, a deficiency in vitamin B7 and other B vitamins can stunt growth and result in improper development in fetuses and infants. This is one reason why acquiring enough vitamin B7 biotin and all other B vitamins is crucial during pregnancy.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, your biotin requirements may go up. Up to 50% of women may get less of this vitamin than they need during pregnancy.