Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is part of the B-complex family. The vitamins that are part of this group are folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins B5, B6, and B12. However, most supplements already contain sufficient vitamin B7, therefore the question is whether you really need to take an extra biotin supplement. Also, if you add extra biotin to a B-complex vitamin, will this lead to any negative effects?
What do B-complex vitamins do?
The B-complex vitamins work in collaboration with each other to metabolize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, so that body cells have the energy to function well. One of these B-complex vitamins, biotin, has the role of metabolizing carbohydrates. However, adding extra biotin to a B-complex supplement will not provide more energy.
- The impact on nerve and blood health
B-complex vitamins function to support blood and nerve cells. Vitamins B6 and B12, as well as niacin, assist with the production of red blood cells. These cells are vital in carrying oxygen for distribution to body tissues. Vitamin B7 or biotin also has an impact on oxygen, in that, when levels drop, anemia may result.
Furthermore, thiamine and B12 are essential for healthy nerve and brain function. When these vitamins are lacking, nerve damage can result.
- Healthy skin, nails and hair
The B-complex vitamins (especially B1, B2, B3, B6 and B7) ensure healthy skin, nails, and hair. A deficiency in any of these vitamins can result in rashes, brittle nails, or hair loss.
What if you take more than the recommended dosage of vitamin B supplements?
Taking more than the recommended dosage of vitamin B supplements will not provide you with extra benefits. As this vitamin is water-soluble, an excess supply will simply be excreted through the urine. What can be problematic, however, is that an overdose of vitamin B5 can affect the absorption of vitamin B7. As a rule, 30 micrograms of biotin each day is sufficient for adults. This includes all sources, both food, and supplements. If extra biotin is taken in addition to a good diet and a B complex supplement, this will not lead to any side effects nor will it impede the functioning of the B-complex vitamins. Possible causes affecting the bacteria in the gut could be antibiotics that kill the good bacteria in the gut. So too, alcohol can interfere with the absorption of biotin. In addition, it should also be remembered that, unlike with vitamin C, for instance, the body produces biotin via bacteria in the gut. Having a biotin deficiency is very rare. A biotin deficiency may, therefore, imply that there is a lack of the proper bacteria in the gut for production of this vitamin. There could also be a gut-health issue, more than simply a biotin deficiency.
The bottom line
As a rule, obtaining vitamins from food is normally best. Meats, dairy, eggs, vegetables, nuts, bananas, mushrooms, and cauliflower, are all good sources of B vitamins. The B-complex is naturally balanced: adding extra B vitamins will not provide additional benefits. Instead, if the gut is functioning optimally, through following a healthy diet, this will ensure that you produce the right amount of biotin, and that your vitamins are absorbed efficiently.