Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7 is part of the Vitamin B Complex group, a group that is responsible for the metabolism of fatty acids, carbohydrates and amino acids in your body. It converts these into energy that is used to perform important functions, such as psychological and physical functions. Furthermore, Vitamin B7 contributes to strengthening hair and nails, and beautifying the skin. It also helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. There are plenty of other benefits that this vitamin provides the body with, and the list seems to be very long.
Sources of Biotin
You can get biotin from the food you consume and from supplements. Some of the sources of this vitamin include foods like kidney, liver, mushrooms, avocado, and eggs.The bacteria in your intestines also produce biotin, however, the body is not built to store it. Hence it is important that one consumes food that does contain it.
Health Benefits of Biotin
- Improves metabolism
- Improves glucose intolerance and balances blood sugar
- Supports healthy nails, skin, and hair
- Combats cognitive weakening and protects brain function
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Supports adrenal and thyroid function
- Builds and repairs tissue and muscles
Biotin Deficiency and Symptoms
The deficiency of biotin is uncommon in areas where individuals normally eat enough calories and food in general. This is probably because the requirements of this biotin is very low; most food that is consumed contains biotin; and because biotin can also be produced by the bacteria in the digestive tract.
If the body does not need that much and most foods that people eat contain biotin, then what causes the deficiency? The answer to this question is that our bodies are not able to store biotin. Therefore, the body only takes what it is able to use, and the rest is eliminated through urine.
The body has three types of proteins called biotinidase, holocarboxylase synthetase and sodium-dependent multivitamin transporter. These proteins are responsible for ensuring that biotin is released from the food that is consumed and absorbed through the system. However, in some cases, these proteins are unable to do that due to interference from other types of proteins, which then lead to biotin deficiency.
Some of the causes of biotin deficiency include:
- Prolonged use of antibiotics and anti-seizure drugs
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Digestive disorders
- Consumption of many raw egg whites
The symptoms of Vitamin B7 deficiency include:
- Hair loss and brittle nails
- Skin disorders
- Chronic fatigue
- Digestive disorders
- Muscle pains
- Mood swings
- Cognitive challenges
- Nerve damage and tingling limbs
How to Avoid a Biotin Deficiency
If it is something that is natural that causes biotin deficiency such as pregnancy, or it is due to the medication that you are taking, speak to your doctor. Otherwise, try to stop smoking or using alcohol excessively, and ensure that you eat foods that contain biotin. You can also get biotin by taking it in the form of a supplement.