Everything You Need to Know About Biotin

Everything You Need to Know About Biotin

Also known as vitamin H, biotin is one of the B complex vitamins that help your body convert food into energy. Biotin also helps keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system healthy. Biotin is considered a crucial nutrient during pregnancy as it’s important for embryonic growth. In fact, the word “biotin” comes from the ancient Greek word, ‘biotos’, which means ‘life’.

Most people absorb the biotin their body requires by eating a healthy diet. However, with so many recent studies focusing on biotin’s positive impact on regulating blood sugar, promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails, and helping pregnant moms have healthier babies, it’s only natural to wonder just how much biotin is enough.

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Biotin helps maintain many of your body’s major systems. Like other B vitamins, biotin helps your body use enzymes and carry nutrients throughout the body. In addition, biotin can provide many diverse health benefits.

Health Benefits of Biotin

Diabetes Management

Studies show that biotin may help manage the symptoms of diabetes. It has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels in some people with diabetes. In addition, B vitamins promote healthy brain function. This can help manage neurological symptoms of diabetes, like neuropathy (damage or dysfunction of a nerve).

Hair Health

Biotin is well known for its positive effects on hair. Research shows that biotin improves hair health, including shine, volume, and scalp coverage in women experiencing hair thinning.

Improved Skin and Fingernails

Research also shows that biotin can help improve skin hydration, smoothness, and appearance. In addition, some studies show that biotin can strengthen fingernails and make them grow faster. Biotin is a versatile addition to your beauty routine.

Prenatal Care

Biotin is necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Studies show that a biotin deficiency, which can be common among pregnant women, can lead to health issues in developing babies. Because of this, biotin can be found in most prenatal vitamins.

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How Much Biotin Do You Need?

Between 30 and 100 micrograms (mcg) per day of biotin is the general recommendation for adolescents and adults. Because it’s water-soluble, extra biotin will simply pass through your body when you urinate.

Biotin-Rich Foods

Food sources of biotin include:

  • Cooked egg yolks
  • Oats
  • Wheat germ
  • White mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Milk and Cheese
  • Pork
  • Carrot
  • Apple
  • Tomato
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Lettuce

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Biotin Deficiency

If you aren’t getting enough biotin, you may experience hair loss or a scaly red rash. However, biotin deficiencies are rare. In most cases, the biotin you get from your diet is enough for you to reap the health benefits it offers.

A biotin deficiency can occur in people who consume a lot of raw egg whites. That’s because uncooked eggs contain avidin, a protein that blocks the absorption of biotin. Since biotin is produced in the intestines, people with inflammatory bowel disease or other conditions that disrupt the balance of intestinal bacteria may not be able to produce enough biotin. Excessive alcohol use, cirrhosis, and congenital biotin deficiency (biotinidase deficiency) may increase your need for biotin. In addition, several medications can create a biotin deficiency. Be aware of beta-blockers, blood thinners, anticonvulsants, and retinoids.

Taking a biotin supplement orally or via injection can treat and prevent low levels of biotin. While most people can handle biotin supplements, some people report mild side effects like nausea and digestive issues. There are no known toxicity symptoms associated with too much biotin, however, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider if you have concerns.

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Possible Side Effects

When taken orally, biotin is usually safe for most people when taken (doses up to 300 mg daily for up to 6 months). It is more commonly used in lower doses of 2.5 mg daily. When applied to the skin, biotin is generally safe for most people. Some cosmetic products can contain up to 0.6% biotin.

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