All about Biotin
Biotin has become a well-known word in the hair community, specifically when it comes to hair growth. This is because many studies have researched and tested biotin and its effects on the body, and the data shows there are a lot of benefits humans receive from ingesting biotin—hair growth being one of them. So what is biotin, and what else does it do for the body? Read on to find out.
What is Biotin?
Simply put, Biotin is a vitamin, part of the B-complex vitamin family, usually known as B7 and Vitamin H. It is water-soluble, meaning it dissolves in water, making for easy consumption; but this also means it’s easily diminished, and the body will need to replenish it. Luckily, biotin deficiency is rare in the majority of the human population. Unless born with a genetic mutation, or on antibiotics, most people do not need to worry about lacking biotin in the body. We get most of it in daily meals.
Many foods are a good source of biotin: egg yolks, fish, bread, milk, organ meats, peanut butter, poultry, the list goes on. However, notice the egg “yolks”; egg whites do not contain biotin, so if you eat them for your cholesterol, you can choose one of the many other foods to get biotin in the body. How much biotin the average human body needs varies from person to person, but overall the quantity is small. You may be wondering why you need all this biotin in the first place, and in fact, how your body makes great use out of it.
What Does the Body Use Biotin For?
The body uses biotin for many functions in the body. You can consume it as a supplement/pill, but as discussed, this isn’t necessary for people with a pretty good diet. Biotin is known as a “fat burner” because is plays a role in the metabolism of fats, amino acids, proteins, and carbs, but it also plays a role on smaller scales. Biotin is necessary for cell growth and replication, plays a part in the metabolic reactions that transfer carbon dioxide throughout the body, maintains a steady blood sugar level, and plays a role in the citric acid cycle, a process that generates the biochemical energy that keeps us breathing naturally.
You may also notice a change in the health of your hair, skin, and nails if you’re missing biotin in your diet. Brittle hair, dry skin, muscular pain, and nausea are some of the symptoms of biotin deficiency. As noted, biotin deficiency is rare, and these symptoms can happen from disease too. However, the main use for biotin intake these days is its ability to fight progressive hair loss, treatment of alopecia, and even premature graying.
There are a great amount of health benefits associated with ingesting biotin, or even applying it topically. Some of these have been discussed, but we’ll go into a little more detail:
- Skin care – Maintaining healthy skin and hair isn’t a terribly difficult task to achieve. However, if your bodily health has dropped recently, or you notice you suffer from dry skin, adding some extra biotin to your diet isn’t a bad idea.
- Body Tissues – Interestingly enough, biotin plays a role in growing and maintaining muscle tissues. That’s why a lack of biotin can lead to muscular pain, and probably why it’s good to eat bananas after going to the gym. In addition to muscle tissue, biotin helps to ensure the functioning of nervous system tissues, and the growth of bone marrow.
- Metabolism – As mentioned, biotin helps the body metabolize fats, amino acids, proteins, and carbs, and plays a part in many other metabolic processes. Moreover, some people use biotin to help with weight loss or to regulate their weight, and consume foods rich in biotin to help with this.
- Blood Sugar – Biotin helps to maintain healthy levels of sugar in the blood, something diabetics battle every day. Coincidentally, biotin also helps regulate insulin in the body as well.
- Heart Troubles – A functioning heart requires a lot of things; oxygen, biochemical energies, intact tissue, blood, and biotin. Who knew it could help prevent heart attacks and strokes?
- Hair Loss – Biotin does wonders for growing healthy hair, whether male or female, and it’s starting to show up in many hair care products these days.
As you can see, there are a lot of benefits for consuming biotin, and not just for your hair. The body makes great use of it in nearly every which way possible. Although we don’t need a lot of biotin, it is a very necessary nutrient to have.