Biotin belongs to the B vitamin family and is sometimes referred to as vitamin B7. Similarly to other B vitamins, biotin is responsible for converting nutrients in our food into energy, through the formation of fatty acids and glucose. This provides essential fuel for our bodies to function at full throttle. It is recommended that adults need between 30 and 100 micrograms of biotin per day. Foods that are high in this crucial vitamin include egg yolks, salmon, legumes and dairy products - luckily all the good stuff. Whilst most people can get adequate amounts of biotin through the diet, others may require supplements to avoid deficiency. Pregnant women in particular are encouraged to take prenatal supplements containing biotin.
But what is biotin actually good for? Well, perhaps most importantly to those of us who value our looks, biotin is good for maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails. It also plays an important role in the nervous system, embryonic growth, and is believed to help regulate blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Let us elaborate.
Biotin for nails, hair, and skin
Is biotin the secret to luscious locks, radiant skin and strong nails?
One thing we know for sure is that biotin is definitely a key player. Hair, skin and nails have a high cell turnover, meaning new cells are constantly needed to replace old ones. Biotin plays an important role in cell reproduction and is known to increase the rate of hair follicle growth and stimulate the production of keratin, an essential protein for building strong, healthy hair, nails and skin. Yes, the same protein that builds rhino horns!
A lack of biotin in the diet can lead to biotin deficiency, which can often cause hair loss, brittle nails and a red scaly rash. One study shows that supplements containing biotin help improve the infrastructure of keratin and increase hair growth in women with hair thinning. As biotin helps form essential fatty acids and provides energy for cells, it can also help improve skin hydration, smoothness and appearance, as well as nail strength and growth.
Biotin during pregnancy
Women are often recommended to take supplements containing biotin during pregnancy to provide energy for rapid cell growth and the development of the fetus. You have to eat A LOT of biotin-rich food to keep up with the growth of your little one. During pregnancy, the body also breaks down biotin much more rapidly and absorption can be impaird. Therefore, the risk of becoming biotin deficient is much higher in pregnant women, which could seriously harm the development of the baby.
Biotin and diabetes
Glucokinase is an essential enzyme that plays an important role in regulating blood glucose levels. It acts like a messenger to tell the pancreas to increase insulin production when blood glucose levels rise, keeping everything in order. Glucokinase is often found in low concentrations in people with diabetes - no one is there to pass on the message. Research suggests biotin may help improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes by increasing the activity of glucokinase. Another study found that biotin may protect the kidneys from damage and oxidative stress, in mice with type 1 diabetes.
Biotin and brain health
Biotin helps maintain neurons in the brain and provides the necessary energy for proper brain function. According to one study, high doses of biotin may help treat multiple sclerosis (MS), a life-long disease that affects the brain and nervous system. People with MS have damaged mitochondria, which are needed for producing energy for nerve cell function. Biotin can help compensate for these damaged mitochondria and increase energy available to improve function of the nervous system.
Wondering if you’re getting enough Biotin in your diet? Taking a biotin supplement, like our 10,000mcg daily tablets, can help prevent biotin deficiency, improve overall health and inject some life back into your hair, skin and nails.
Find out more about our Biotin supplements.