February 25 2021
You all must have heard of the term, Biotin before, especially all the beautiful conscious people reading this! If not, this is the answer to all your worries about brittle nails, dull and damaged hair, and dry and flaky skin.
Biotin, or Vitamin H (for hair) or vitamin B7 is a water-soluble vitamin that is responsible for converting our food into an energy form that can be utilized by the body. It is possible as biotin is a part of various enzymes that break down the fats and carbohydrates. Biotin is generally available from the food in our diet. Mostly, it is bound to proteins, but in some cases, it may also be present in free form in dietary foods such as yogurt and milk. In eggs, biotin is bound to avidin, a glycoprotein which hinders biotin absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. Cooking denatures this and makes biotin available for absorption.
SOURCES OF BIOTIN
- Plain yoghurt- 1 cup: 0.2 mcg*
- Eggs (mainly yolk)- 10mcg per cooked egg serving
- Nuts- roasted almonds (6 mcg per cup*)
- Spinach (1mcg per cup*)
- Cauliflower (0.8mcg per cup*)
- Organ Meat- liver, kidney
- Bananas – 1 cup: 0.4 mcg*
* Journal of Food Composition and analysis, Official publication of the United Nations University
In some cases, especially in those who are lactose intolerant and have nut allergies and in cases of diseases like Crohn’s Disease and celiac disease in which absorption of biotin is affected, supplements may be required to sustain optimum levels of biotin.
Now that we have looked at how you can obtain biotin, we'll see what happens when you don’t have enough levels of biotin, which is rare. Low levels of biotin can be due to cigarette smoking, malnourishment, rapid weight loss, and women who are pregnant. Usually, low levels of biotin will result in excessive shedding and thinning of hair, brittle nails, and a scaly red rash around the nose and eyes. In addition to this, it may also affect your mental health by causing depression, hallucinations and inducing tiredness and tingling of limbs.
BENEFITS OF BIOTIN
Our skin, hair, and nails have something in common- Keratin, which is a protein. Biotin enhances keratin structure.
- Promotes Thickening Hair: Biotin improves cell growth and gives you thick and lustrous hair that is resisting discoloring. It also reduces hair fall, overall giving a synergistic action.
- Enhances skin texture: It is the best solution for dry and flaky skin and even in extreme conditions like psoriasis. Most of the topical creams and gels targeting this particular issue contain biotin. However, it is difficult for the body to absorb topically applied biotin. For faster and effective results, ingesting biotin is the best option.
- Nourishes Nails and strengthens them: Research has proven that daily biotin supplementation can strengthen the nails in 25 days and prevent brittleness, splitting, and damage.
- Promotes Cell Growth: This vitamin’s primary role is in stimulating DNA replication and ensuring cell division takes place accurately. Therefore, intake of biotin is crucial to us.
- Promotes Tissue building: Biotin also has a paramount role in the rebuilding of muscle and bone tissue which is a regular process in our body. It also relieves joint pain and inflammation.
- Vital for Fetal Development: Pregnant women need to supplement their diet with biotin. The deficiency of this vitamin has resulted in birth defects. As we have discussed above, biotin is critical for body functions. During pregnancy, biotin is taken with folic acid.
- Promotes Infant growth: Babies usually receive biotin through breast milk. However, it is not enough. A biotin supplement is necessary in such cases. A consultation with the physician and proves to be helpful regarding dosage and requirement.
- Significant for Brain function: Biotin assists nerve function and minimizes the risk of getting neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia and boosts memory function. So, feel unable to recall something? Start taking biotin supplements.
- Balancing of blood sugar: studies have shown that B complex vitamins improve insulin secretion and thus, aid in lowering raised blood glucose levels. This mechanism has expanded its role in diabetes, both Type I and Type II. In Type II diabetes, there is evidence that a combination of biotin and chromium and significantly lower blood glucose levels. Moreover, it can prevent enzyme build-up that causes nerve damage in diabetes patients.
- Raises Energy levels and ameliorates mood: As mentioned earlier, biotin is required by the body to convert fats and carbohydrates into usable energy. Lack of this results in dampening of energy and mood. Thus, by boosting metabolism, it provides a constant supply of energy.
- Managing thyroid function: Biotin also regulates thyroid activity and keep tabs on sleep cycle and hunger. Imbalance of this regulation results in weight gain and fatigue which can be prevented by biotin.
- Lowering of cholesterol levels: Biotin is particularly helpful in lowering the levels of Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) or BAD cholesterol and increasing the levels of High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) or GOOD cholesterol. LDL results in the build-up of plaque in arteries which may lead to thromboembolism or blood clots. These blood clots can then travel to the brain, resulting in a stroke. Thus, biotin helps in protecting you from heart attacks.
- Weight Loss: Biotin itself doesn’t directly act as a weight-loss molecule. However, it increases the metabolism which then aids in the weight loss process.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS): Research has shown that biotin helps in reversing paralysis and vision in people with MS.
Biotin can never build-up in the body and cause toxicity as excess amount is rapidly eliminated from the body.
Supplements of biotin in the market include:
ALVIZIA'S Biotin 10000 mcg, Hair, Skin and Nails supplement (90 capsules) - Hair growth supplement, Biotin capsules for hair. 1-2 capsules daily are recommended in cases of biotin deficiency. It is Non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) and gluten-free.
So, what are you waiting for? Take your daily intake of biotin and enjoy its diverse benefits.
Article by: Anushka Kulkarni