Biotin is becoming an increasingly popular natural supplement used to help promote healthy hair, skin, and nails among a host of other benefits.
But did you realize the benefits were first discovered on horses?
According to a few studies, researchers observed a significant increase in the growth of hoof horns in horses after supplementing with biotin. These positive results led researchers to begin studying the effects on humans.
Keep reading this informative guide to learn more about what biotin does and how it can help you today.
What is Biotin?
Biotin, also referred to as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is a b-vitamin that plays a critical role in converting food into energy for the body to use. It is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning the body doesn't store it, and it needs to be replenished through the diet.
The word biotin comes from the Greek word "biotos," meaning life.
This is because the b-vitamin is vital for proper bodily functions and is essential for life.
What Does Biotin Do?
Biotin is critical for many functions of the body, including assisting in converting food into energy.
Many people will get a sufficient amount of this b-vitamin through food sources, but new research is showing supplementing with it can provide additional benefits.
Biotin is an essential co-factor used for many functions in the body including
- Fatty acid synthesis
- Amino acid synthesis
- And Glucogenesis
In other words, biotin assists several key enzymes that are used in the breaking down and metabolizing of carbs, fats, and proteins.
Once these macronutrients are broken down, they can then be utilized by the body and converted into energy so you can feel your best.
Hair, Skin, and Nails
Many people, when asked, "What is biotin good for?" will answer with some sort of response related to having healthy hair, skin, and nails. This is because there have been several studies done, proving the effectiveness of biotin.
This systematic review of the use of biotin for hair loss took a look at 18 different reported cases of using biotin for healthier hair.
The results were astonishing. In every single case, the results showed clinical improvements after supplementing with biotin. So much so that companies started using the vitamin in hair products, including biotin shampoo.
Biotin has also been extensively studied for its potential benefits for people with weak nails. One study consisting of eight people with brittle nails were given 2.5 mcg of biotin a day. After the study was completed, the researchers observed a 25 percent improvement in the participant's nail thickness.
Another study took a look at 35 different participants with fragile nails. They were also given 2.5mcg a day for 6-15 months and observed an improvement in 62 percent of the participants.
Researchers have also noticed individuals who have a biotin deficiency, though rare, can develop red, itchy skin rashes that were improved after biotin supplementation.
Biotin is also a crucial nutrient to have during pregnancy and when breastfeeding.
Several studies have indicated that up to 50 percent of pregnant women may be biotin deficient. The study observed a significant improvement in women who were given biotin supplementation, 95 percent of women improved.
Researchers have also observed in mice studies, biotin deficiency can lead to birth defects, causing concern among pregnant women. As the mice were given biotin, they did notice improvements but still had more birth defects than those without deficiencies.
Most of these studies have concluded more research is needed to examine the effects of biotin deficiency in pregnant women.
A lesser-known benefit of consuming biotin is the effects that it has on regulating blood sugar.
Biotin is known for its role in converting carbs into energy. In a large study on patients who were classified as overweight to obese, and had type 2 diabetes, were studied for the effects biotin had when combined with chromium picolinate, another essential nutrient when it comes to carbohydrate metabolism.
The study concluded suggesting that the biotin & chromium combination could potentially be used as an add-on to current anti-diabetic medications.
What Foods Contain Biotin
As previously mentioned, biotin is an essential vitamin that is water-soluble, meaning you must consume it through your diet. Your body does not store this vitamin, so you are left with a few choices.
You can consume biotin in supplement form, or you could also consume foods that are rich in biotin. These foods include:
- Sweet Potato
- And Broccoli
Currently, there is no recommended dietary allowance for biotin. However, the National Institue of Health has provided a list of the adequate daily intake of biotin according to your age:
- 0 - 6 months = 5 mcg
- 7 -12 months = 6 mcg
- 1 - 3 years old = 8 mcg
- 4 - 8 years old = 12 mcg
- 14-18 years old = 25 mcg
- 19 Years and older = 30 mcg
- Breastfeeding = 35 mcg
Most research today suggests that consuming a healthy balanced diet will be sufficient enough in providing the amount of biotin that is needed. You can also explore the option of supplementing with biotin as needed.
Why Do You Need it?
Why do you need biotin? Well, to start, it is essential for life and provides your body with the proper nutrients to function normally.
Biotin also provides many benefits to the body while also being safe when taken in high doses. Several studies have found no side effects when taking up to 200 mg/day and no signs of toxicity as biotin is water-soluble and is not stored in fat as many other vitamins are.
If you are still wondering what biotin is good for here is a quick review for you:
- Assists in energy metabolism
- Strengthen nails
- Improves hair growth
- Crucial while pregnant
- Helps regulate blood sugar
You can consume biotin through food sources or, if necessary, in supplement form.
For More Lifestyle Advice
Biotin has been used for many years for various health benefits and has been known as a "magic pill" when it comes to hair, skin, and nail health. The research shows biotin is safe and effective.
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