How Biotin Benefits Health – Revealed!
Before I get into discussing some of the many biotin benefits, let’s clear up something that some people are confused about: biotin IS a B vitamin.
And that’s not just because it starts with a B!
Biotin is, in fact, otherwise known as vitamin B7, though you may not have heard it referred to as that.
The most likely place that you will have heard of biotin is in advertisements for hair, skin, and nail treatments, since it has become quite fashionable to include it in these. This is not without foundation (pun intended) but its importance goes well beyond its cosmetic benefits.
Biotin is actually essential for human existence and contributes to ensuring that the building blocks of life are in good working order.
To explain in a little more detail, biotin is similar to other B vitamins in that it acts as an essential cofactor, which allows enzymes to work efficiently. This makes it indispensable for gene expression, cell growth, and metabolism - particularly of fats and carbohydrates.
Below you will find out a lot more about this important natural substance and how biotin benefits the body. Before we get into that though, let’s take a closer look at what biotin is and how the body is able to acquire it.
What is Biotin?
Biotin does occur naturally in the body when some intestinal bacteria are able to synthesize it.
However, it’s generally sourced from foods such as brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast, egg yolks, liver, and whole grains.
Because some of these foods are less prevalent in modern diets than they used to be, some people may experience a deficiency in biotin levels in the body. This can lead to symptoms like skin problems, hair loss, and birth defects.
While egg yolk is a good source of biotin, it also contains high cholesterol. If you prefer the protein found in egg whites, then beware: avidin, which is a protein in raw egg whites, prevents the proper absorption of biotin. So go easy on the raw egg protein shakes!
It’s important for readers to understand that biotin is water soluble. This means that it’s not stored in the body and therefore requires regular replenishment. This is where supplements may be of use.
It’s also important to bear in mind, that just because biotin is a B vitamin, it doesn’t mean it is an ‘energy booster’. Some supplement retailers will have you believe that all B vitamins provide a natural energy boost - and this is simply not true.
Biotin is very popular among the beauty crowd for good reason, but don’t be fooled by other erroneous claims.
The Biotin Benefits Explained…
Most people are familiar with the fact that all vitamins play an important role in human health. Biotin, though, has traditionally been thought of as a ‘beauty vitamin’. While this is understandable, it is also underplaying the critical role it has in other aspects of health.
With its important action on enzymes, the biotin benefits stretch far beyond hair, skin, and nail health. These include applications that may be of use in treating or preventing some of the most serious chronic diseases in modern society, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
We start below with an overview of the benefits of biotin in the health of the hair and skin, but you can also find more detail about its other uses:
→ Hair, nail, and skin health
Biotin once had the nickname ‘vitamin H’ - standing for ‘haar’ or ‘haut’ in German. These words translate roughly to ‘hair and skin’, indicating its fame as a beauty enhancer.
Biotin is needed for keratin production - a key structural component of skin, hair and nails. For this reason, it has been used to aid with splitting nails and thinning or brittle hair.
A deficiency of biotin causes a red, scaly skin rash, and other tissue abnormalities. Some studies support biotin’s use for brittle nails and hair loss - specifically, alopecia - but more evidence is needed to confirm its therapeutic effect.
→ Preventing birth defects
Deficiency of biotin in mothers may increase the risk of congenital abnormalities. This is due to biotin’s essential role in gene expression and the function of many important enzymes.
Similar to folate, women are advised to get enough biotin from food and/or supplements during pregnancy.
Enzymes that help regulate blood sugar, such as glucokinase, are dependent on biotin for proper function.
Supplementation may improve blood sugar management. Biotin combined with chromium has also shown particular benefits for people with diabetes.
→ Cardiovascular health
Some animal studies have shown that biotin supplementation can help with fat metabolism, making it a potential ally for those at risk of cardiovascular disease.
Studies have suggested that it can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, as well as triglycerides.
→ Multiple Sclerosis
Biotin is needed to create myelin - a fatty sheath that protects spinal nerves. In MS, myelin is gradually lost due to an autoimmune process, with biotin showing an ability to slow this process and reduce symptoms of MS.
Before you are tempted to put biotin solely in the beauty vitamin category, consider that beauty is a natural result of good health.
Skin and hair health is often a reflection of what is going on inside the body; so it is the action of biotin on bodily processes that are exhibited through beautiful hair and skin!
How To Enjoy These Biotin Benefits Safely
Biotin is considered extremely safe, with no reported adverse effects. While current daily recommendations are around 100 mcgs, even in high doses there appears to be little risk.
The highest dose ever tested in humans was for treating brittle nails. A dose of 2.5 mg was administered once per day for six months and this appeared to be safe and effective, with no adverse side effects.
Remember that, because the body doesn’t store it, the range of biotin benefits can only be achieved by taking it daily. However, note that high doses of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) may interfere with the absorption of biotin.
Also, being a B vitamin, absorption may be hampered by regular caffeine and alcohol intake, which is known to reduce absorption levels of all B vitamins. This can lead to a deficiency.
As always, people taking prescribed medication should check with their healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.
We include biotin in the Athletic Greens collection because most people are not receiving enough of it in their diets. Consequently, not only are their skin and nails suffering, but they are exposing themselves to some serious chronic diseases, as discussed previously.
The Biotin Benefits In A Balanced Plan
In your supplement plan, biotin works well alongside the vitamin C, zinc and grapeseed extract in Athletic Greens to help improve the quality of hair, skin, and nails.
Vitamin C assists with faster collagen formation, as does grapeseed extract; and zinc helps with faster wound healing and nail integrity. It’s best to think of biotin as something of an all-rounder, helping with all the various aspects of hair, skin, and nail health.
Biotin deserves its reputation as a beauty supplement and you’ll find it in hair, skin, and nail formulas in health food stores, supermarkets, and beauty salons.
While more research is needed, biotin does indeed appear to aid in the development of keratin production and the growth of healthy tissue. It is no beauty myth.
It’s worth noting here, that a study highlighting biotin’s potential in treating thinning and brittle hair also pointed out that a deficiency often results from a systemic problem of a poor ability to absorb nutrients. Supplementation with biotin alone then may not be the optimal solution.
Where Athletic Greens may help is not only in delivering an optimal balance of essential nutrients but also in increasing the absorption of these nutrients. This may be more effective than simply taking ad hoc nutritional supplements separately.
We also encourage Athletic Greens followers to focus on the developing evidence for the other great health benefits of biotin, apart from its beauty benefits. Most notably, these are in the areas of blood sugar regulation, the prevention of birth defects, cardiovascular health, and support for certain diseases such as MS.