Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in the body's metabolism and overall health. It is found in a variety of foods, including eggs, nuts, and leafy green vegetables, and is also available as a dietary supplement. In this article, we will explore the many potential health benefits of biotin, including its effects on hair, skin, and nails, energy levels, brain health, pregnancy, blood sugar control, inflammation, and cardiovascular health.
Natural dietary sources of vitamin B7 (biotin)
Here are some natural dietary sources of vitamin B7 (biotin):
Egg yolks: Egg yolks are a good source of vitamin B7, with a single yolk providing about 10-25 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B7.
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin B7, with a quarter-cup of almonds, for example, providing about 20 mcg of vitamin B7.
Legumes: Legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas are good sources of vitamin B7. A cup of cooked kidney beans, for example, provides about 15 mcg of vitamin B7.
Avocado: Avocado is a good source of vitamin B7, with a single fruit providing about 10 mcg of vitamin B7.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin B7, with a cup of cooked white mushrooms providing about 8 mcg of vitamin B7.
It is worth noting that the amount of vitamin B7 you can obtain from food varies based on factors such as the soil in which it was grown, the processing methods used, the form in which it is present, and the presence of other substances that may interfere its absorption.
While dietary intake of vitamin B7 is important for maintaining adequate levels in the body, it is possible to obtain this nutrient with vitamin supplements. However, the best way to get the essential nutrients your body needs is to eat a variety of whole, unprocessed, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based foods. These types of food ensure that you are getting a wide range of nutrients, which may include vitamin B7, and should not be replaced by vitamin and mineral supplements alone.
Benefits of biotin for hair, skin, and nails
Biotin is often referred to as the "beauty vitamin" because of its importance for the health and appearance of the hair, skin, and nails. It helps to build keratin, the protein that makes up these tissues, and may also help to prevent dryness and brittleness.
In a review of clinical trials, Lee et al. (2015) found that biotin supplements may be effective in improving hair and nail growth in individuals with biotin deficiency.
Benefits of biotin for energy levels
Biotin plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and may help to increase energy levels by converting food into fuel for the body.
A study by Hochman (2017) found that biotin supplements may be effective in improving energy levels in individuals with biotin deficiency. However, the study was small and more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Benefits of biotin for brain health
Some research suggests that biotin may have a positive effect on cognitive function and mood. It is thought to be involved in the production of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in mood regulation.
In a review of the literature, Selhub et al. (2014) found that biotin may be beneficial for brain health in older adults.
Benefits of biotin for pregnancy
Biotin is important for fetal growth and development, and may be beneficial for pregnant women. It is also important for lactation, as it helps to produce milk.
A review by Zempleni et al. (2017) found that biotin supplements may be beneficial for pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Benefits of biotin for blood sugar control
Biotin may help to improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. It has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity in several studies.
A systematic review by Hochman (2017) found that biotin supplements may be effective in improving blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Benefits of biotin for inflammation
Biotin has anti-inflammatory properties and may help to reduce inflammation in the body. This may be particularly beneficial for people with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
A review by Zempleni et al. (2017) found that biotin may have anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
Benefits of biotin for cardiovascular health
Some research suggests that biotin may have a positive effect on heart health by helping to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
A systematic review by Hochman (2017) found that biotin supplements may be effective in improving cholesterol levels in individuals with high cholesterol.
What are the symptoms of biotin deficiency?
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is an essential nutrient that plays a role in various bodily functions. Deficiency in biotin is rare, but it can cause a range of symptoms, including:
Skin rash: A deficiency in biotin can cause a skin rash, which may appear as red, scaly patches on the skin.
Hair loss: A deficiency in biotin can cause hair loss, which may be especially noticeable on the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes.
Nail changes: A deficiency in biotin can cause brittle nails that may break easily or become ridged or grooved.
Neural tube defects: A deficiency in biotin during pregnancy can increase the risk of neural tube defects in the developing fetus.
Neurological symptoms: A deficiency in biotin can cause neurological symptoms, including numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, muscle cramps, and seizures.
If you think you may have a deficiency in biotin, it is important to speak with a health professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. They can recommend appropriate supplements and make dietary recommendations to help you meet your nutritional needs.
What are the potential side effects of taking biotin supplements?
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is generally safe to consume in recommended amounts. However, taking excessive amounts of biotin can cause side effects, including:
Skin rash: Some people may develop a skin rash after taking high doses of biotin.
Acne: Some people may experience an increase in acne after taking high doses of biotin.
Digestive symptoms: Consuming large amounts of biotin can cause digestive symptoms, such as stomach cramps and diarrhea.
Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to biotin. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, and difficulty breathing.
It is important to note that these side effects are typically associated with taking large amounts of biotin, well above the recommended daily intake. It is important to speak with a health professional before taking biotin supplements to ensure that you are taking the appropriate amount.
Biotin supplements are generally well tolerated and have a low risk of side effects. However, as with any supplement, it is important to speak with a health professional before starting to ensure that they are safe and appropriate for you.
Is it safe to take biotin supplements if I have a particular health condition?
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is an essential nutrient that is necessary for various bodily functions. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before taking biotin supplements to ensure that they are safe and appropriate for you, particularly if you have a particular health condition. Some conditions that may be affected by biotin include:
Diabetes: Biotin may interfere with the accuracy of certain blood glucose monitoring devices, which can be particularly important for people with diabetes who rely on these devices to manage their blood sugar levels. It is important to speak with a health professional about the appropriate amount of biotin to take if you have diabetes.
Pregnancy: It is important to get enough biotin during pregnancy to support fetal development. However, taking excessive amounts of biotin during pregnancy may not be safe. It is important to speak with a health professional about the appropriate amount of biotin to take during pregnancy.
Kidney disease: If you have kidney disease, your body may have difficulty processing biotin. This can lead to an accumulation of the nutrient in the body and potentially cause side effects. It is important to speak with a health professional about the appropriate amount of biotin to take if you have kidney disease.
It is always important to speak with a health professional before starting any new supplement to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you.
In conclusion, biotin is an important nutrient with a wide range of potential health benefits. It is essential for the proper functioning of the body and has been shown to support healthy hair, skin, and nails, boost energy levels, promote brain health, support healthy pregnancy, improve blood sugar control, reduce inflammation, and support cardiovascular health.
It is worth noting that biotin supplements may interact with certain medications or supplements, and it may have side effects in some people. If you are currently taking any medications or supplements, or if you have any underlying medical conditions, you should speak to your health professional before taking biotin or any other nutritional supplement. Your health professional can help you determine if biotin is safe and appropriate for you, based on your individual circumstances and medical history.
Gaby, A. R. (2005). Biotin. The Journal of Applied Nutrition, 57(1), 8-13.
Hochman, LG. (2017). Biotin. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing.
Lee, YJ, et al. (2015). Biotin for hair growth: an evidence-based review. Dermatology Research and Practice, 2015, 480689.
Selhub, J, et al. (2014). B vitamins, homocysteine, and neurocognitive function in the elderly. Annual Review of Nutrition, 34, 533-558.
Zempleni, J, et al. (2017). Biotin. In: Shils M, Shike M, Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.
If you discover an error in an article or on our website, you may use the following form to report it. We thank you for your diligence and attention to detail.
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.