Clearer skin and healthier hair, those are the two things that come to mind when we speak about biotin. Biotin is used in many hair, skin and nail supplements sold on the market today, but is that all biotin is useful for?
The word “biotin” is derivative from the ancient Greek word “biotos,” meaning life or sustenance. Aside from keeping skin and hair healthy, it also keeps your eyes, liver and nervous system healthy too. Biotin is also a crucial nutrient during pregnancy, as it’s important for embryonic growth and normal bodily function. But, what else is it good for and how much are we supposed to be getting?
What Is Biotin?
Biotin, also known as vitamin H, is one of the B- vitamins, vitamin B7. It is a water-soluble vitamin, which means the body doesn’t store it. It has many important functions in the body.
This vitamin is necessary for the function of multiple enzymes known as carboxylases. These biotin-containing enzymes participate in important metabolic pathways such as the production of glucose and fatty acids.
Most people get the biotin they need from a healthy diet, but there have been many claims that getting more biotin in your diet has the ability to regulate your blood sugar, promote healthy hair, skin and nails, and help expecting mothers have healthier babies.
Aside from that, biotin assists in energy production and helps lower blood pressure for those struggling with diabetes, and it has also been proven effective in treating multiple sclerosis, which is a serious autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system.
In order to reap the benefits of vitamin B7, how much are we supposed to receive every day?
Biotin Recommended Daily Consumption
Because biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, it must be replenished every day. The recommended daily intake of vitamin B7 is 5 mcg (micrograms) per day in infants and 30 mcg in adults. This daily intake goes up to 35 mcg per day for mothers who are currently breastfeeding.
While there are plenty of supplements readily available to help increase your biotin intake, there are high levels of this vitamin in a lot of the food that we consume almost every day.
Natural Sources of Biotin
Biotin is naturally found in a wide range of foods including the following:
- Peanut butter
- Organ meats like the liver and kidney
- Egg yolk
- Whole grains
Because food-processing techniques like cooking can lessen the effectiveness of biotin, uncooked or less-processed versions of these foods will contain more active biotin.
When considering your daily vitamin B7 intake, it is always best to get nutrients from natural sources. If you’re unable to get enough biotin naturally, ask your doctor for their recommendation of a reliable biotin supplement brand.
Remember that supplements aren’t monitored by the FDA for safety, purity, dose or quality, so make sure you research each biotin supplemental brand you’re considering to buy.
Side Effects of Biotin
Biotin is rendered as extremely safe with little to no side effects, even in high doses. However, there have been some reports of high-dose biotin causing strange results on thyroid tests, so make sure you discuss it with your doctor before using if you are deciding to take it in conjunction with thyroid medication.