Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What is Biotin, Benefits and Side Effects of Biotin | The Ultimate Beginner's Guide - Health and Fitness City



What is Biotin?

Also known as vitamin H, biotin is one of the B complex vitamins that help the body convert food into energy. 

The word “biotin” comes from the ancient Greek word “biotos,” which means “life” or “sustenance.” B vitamins, and specifically biotin, help keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system healthy. Biotin is also a crucial nutrient during pregnancy, as it’s important for embryonic growth.

Most people get the biotin they need from eating a healthy diet, but there have been many claims that getting more biotin can regulate your blood sugar, promote healthy hair, skin, and nails, and help pregnant moms have healthier babies.


Benefits of Biotin

1. Macronutrient metabolism
Biotin is important for energy production. For example, several enzymes need it to function properly.

These enzymes are involved in carb, fat and protein metabolism. They initiate critical steps in the metabolic processes of these nutrients.

Biotin plays a role in:

  • Gluconeogenesis: This metabolic pathway enables glucose production from sources other than carbs, such as amino acids. Biotin-containing enzymes help initiate this process.
  • Fatty acid synthesis: Biotin assists enzymes that activate reactions important for the production of fatty acids.
  • The breakdown of amino acids: Biotin-containing enzymes are involved in the metabolism of several important amino acids, including leucine.

Summary: Biotin assists in energy production. It supports a number of enzymes involved in the metabolism of carbs, fats, and protein.

2. Brittle Nails
Brittle nails are weak and easily become chipped, split or cracked.

It's a common condition, estimated to affect around 20 percent of the world's population.

Biotin may benefit brittle nails.

In one study, 8 people with brittle nails were given 2.5 mg of biotin per day for 6 to 15 months. Nail thickness improved by 25% in all 8 participants. Nail splitting was also reduced.

Another study of 35 people with brittle nails found 2.5 mg of biotin per day for 1.5 to 7 months improved symptoms in 67% of participants.

However, these studies were small and more research is needed.

Summary: Brittle nails are fragile and easily become split or cracked. Biotin supplements may help strengthen the nails.

3. Hair health
woman brushing hair
Biotin is often associated with increased hair growth and healthier, stronger hair.

There is very little evidence to support this.

However, a deficiency in biotin may lead to hair loss, which indicates that the vitamin is important for hair.

While it is often marketed as an alternative treatment for hair loss, only people with an actual biotin deficiency get significant benefit from supplementing.

It is recommended that people with biotin deficiency take 30 to 100 micrograms (mcg) per day. Infants would need a smaller dose of 10 to 30 mcg.

Whether it improves hair growth in healthy people has yet to be determined.

Summary: Biotin is claimed to promote hair growth and healthy hair, but the evidence is weak. However, deficiency has been linked to hair loss, and those who are actually deficient may benefit from supplementing.

4. Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Biotin is important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. These life stages have been associated with an increased requirement for this vitamin.

In fact, it has been estimated that up to 50% of pregnant women may develop a mild biotin deficiency. This means that it may start to affect their well-being slightly, but isn't severe enough to cause noticeable symptoms.

Deficiencies are thought to occur due to the faster biotin breakdown within the body during pregnancy.

Additionally, a major cause for concern is that animal studies have found that a biotin deficiency during pregnancy may cause birth defects.

Nevertheless, remember to always consult your doctor or dietitian/nutritionist before taking supplements during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Summary: 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.

5. Reduced blood sugar in people with diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease. It's characterized by high blood sugar levels and impaired insulin function.

Researchers have studied how biotin supplements affect blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.

Some evidence shows biotin concentrations in blood may be lower in people with diabetes, compared to healthy individuals.

Studies in diabetics given biotin alone have provided mixed results.

However, several controlled studies indicate that biotin supplements, combined with the mineral chromium, may lower blood sugar levels in some people with type 2 diabetes.

Summary: When combined with chromium, biotin may help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

6. Skin health
lady holding washcloth to face
Biotin's role in skin health isn't well understood. However, it is known that you may get red, scaly skin rashes if you're deficient.

Some studies also suggest that biotin deficiency may sometimes cause a skin disorder called seborrheic dermatitis, also known as cradle cap.

Biotin's role in skin health may be related to its effect on fat metabolism, which is important for the skin and may be impaired when biotin is lacking.

There is no evidence showing that biotin improves skin health in people who aren't deficient in the vitamin.

Summary: People with a biotin deficiency may experience skin problems. However, there is no evidence that the vitamin has benefits for skin in people who aren't deficient.

7. Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease. In MS, the protective covering of nerve fibers in the brain, spinal cord and eyes is damaged or destroyed.

This protective sheath is called myelin, and biotin is thought to be an important factor in producing it.

A pilot study in 23 people with progressive MS tested the use of high doses of biotin. Over 90% of participants had some degree of clinical improvement.

While this finding needs much more study, at least two randomized controlled trials have been carried out in people with progressive MS. The final results have not been published, but the preliminary results are promising.

Summary: High biotin doses hold promise for treating multiple sclerosis, a serious disease that affects the central nervous system.


Side Effects of Biotin

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Biotin is POSSIBLY SAFE when used in recommended amounts during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Children: Biotin is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth and appropriately.

An inherited condition in which the body cannot process biotin (biotinidase deficiency): People with this condition might need extra biotin.

Kidney dialysis: People receiving kidney dialysis may need extra biotin. Check with your health care provider.

Smoking: People who smoke might have low biotin levels and may need a biotin supplement.

Laboratory tests: Taking biotin supplements might interfere with the results of many different blood lab tests. Biotin can cause falsely high or falsely low test results. This might lead to missed or incorrect diagnoses. Tell your doctor if you are taking biotin supplements, especially if you are having lab tests done as you may need to stop taking biotin before your blood test. Most multivitamins contain low doses of biotin, which are not likely to interfere with blood tests, but talk to your doctor to be sure.




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