Biotin (Vitamin B7) Benefits, Recommended Intake, Food Sources & Deficiency
Maybe you already know that B vitamins are extremely important for good health. Vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 are very familiar, but have you heard about vitamin B7? Vitamin B7 is a water-soluble vitamin also called Biotin and formerly known as vitamin H or coenzyme R. It is involved in the conversion of food into energy. Found naturally in a number of foods, biotin is essential for the formation of fatty acids and blood sugar (also called glucose). Now let’s take a look at some of the benefits of biotin…
Health Benefits Of Biotin (Vitamin B7)
Biotin is considered as a catalyst for controlling a number of metabolic reactions that provide energy from the metabolism of important nutrients like fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. These processes are very important for the human body to carry out routinely in order to work properly and stay in good shape.
Strengthen Hair and Nails
Though there’s minimal research to support the effects of biotin on hair growth, there’s strong evidence to support a deficiency will cause hair loss. Similarly, the vitamin may also help thicken nail cuticles and prevents breakage. A number of hair care companies are now including biotin directly in their products though Fyshe suggests taking biotin orally for optimal results.
Biotin Blood Sugar Benefits
Biotin plays a major role in your blood glucose production. Since biotin is heavily involved in the breakdown of carbohydrates within your body, it is largely responsible for keeping your blood sugar at healthy levels. If you suffer from diabetes, you may be given a Biotin supplement as a way to get your blood sugar levels up to properly functional amounts.
Biotin, like other B vitamins, is great for protecting your heart. It can reduce inflammation and the build-up of plaque in the arteries and so lowers your risk of heart disease, strokes, and heart attack.
Protects Brain Function and Fights Cognitive Decline
Biotin benefits the health of the nervous system because of its role in nerve signaling and neurotransmitter activity. B vitamins together influence memory function and defend against age-related cognitive impairment, such as neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Because of their role in synthesizing hormones that are related to a mood regulation, B vitamins like vitamin B7 help to keep up a positive mindset, boost energy and increase concentration.
Supports Thyroid Function
In addition to your nervous system, your body relies on key glands to normalize functions and keep you going. Biotin is necessary for maintaining appropriate thyroid activity and regulating sleep, hunger, energy, and even pain. If your body has trouble controlling these basic functions or if you experience weight gain, trouble sleeping, or constant fatigue, additional biotin can help with thyroid regulation.
Biotin allows cells to grow and divide, which happens regularly in all humans. Part of biotin’s job is to regulate DNA formation, which keeps genetic information in cells working normally. When cells are growing and dividing at a rapid pace though like during pregnancy, biotin is increasingly important. Biotin ensures that cells and DNA develop properly in a growing fetus, minimizing the likelihood of having complications during pregnancy.
Recommended Daily Allowance
Between 30 and 100 micrograms (mcg) per day of biotin is often recommended for adolescents and adults.
Because it’s water-soluble, extra biotin will simply pass through your body when you urinate. While most people can handle biotin supplements, some people report mild side effects like nausea and digestive issues. There are no known toxicity symptoms associated with too much biotin.
Biotin-rich Food Sources
Biotin is found in a wide variety of foods. Specific sources include liver, mushrooms, peanuts, almonds, yeast, nonfat milk and yogurt, meat, soy protein, egg yolk, banana, grapefruit, tomato, watermelon, strawberries, and most vegetables. Although biotin is generally considered stable in most conditions, it can be destroyed by heat or under oxidizing conditions (or the presence of oxygen). In addition to food sources, bacteria within the intestine are shown to synthesize the vitamin.
Biotin deficiency is a rare but serious condition. Symptoms include dry skin, dry eyes, hair loss, cracking in the corners of the mouth, inflammation of the tongue, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia, and depression.
The most common causes of biotin deficiency are certain medications and conditions that reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Biotinidase deficiency is a genetic disorder which prevents the body from properly recycling biotin. Extreme cases can cause seizures, reduced muscle tone, breathing problems, balance problems, deafness, blindness, and candida infection. It can also cause developmental problems in children. Biotin deficiency can also affect alcoholics and people with inflammatory bowel disease.
Those suffering from biotin deficiency should avoid egg whites. Eggs whites contain avidin, a protein that binds to biotin and reduces its ability to be absorbed by the body. Biotin deficiency caused by a diet high in egg whites actually has a name—egg white injury, and eczema is a common symptom. Ironically, egg yolks are an excellent source of biotin.
To get the most biotin benefits, make sure to include above mentioned biotin-rich foods in your diet. If you have symptoms of a biotin deficiency or are considering taking biotin supplements, be sure to talk with your care provider before starting your supplement regimen.
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