What is Biotin?

Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H, is a water soluble vitamin that is a part of the B complex group of vitamins. All B vitamins are essential in helping the body produce energy. These enzymes assist in the breakdown of food, carbohydrates, fats and protein into usable fuel (glucose) by the body. Biotin is found in high concentrations in foods like eggs, fish, meat and sweet potatoes. And healthy individuals can easily meet daily biotin requirements (30 μg/day) through a well balanced diet. Biotin deficiency is rare and not commonly diagnosed outside of pregnancy, malnutrition, or pediatric biotinidase deficiency seen in children. Symptoms of this deficiency include thinning of hair or brittle hair,  eczema like eruptions and/or a facial rash, especially around the mouth.  

The New Trend.

Biotin has become the new trend for consumers who wish to have longer, shinier, healthier hair and nail growth. And because this vitamin is quite inexpensive, an overwhelming selection of biotin supplements are available in vitamin shops and on pharmacy shelves.  Advertisements in support of biotin supplementation claim that biotin can improve a multitude of conditions in addition to benefiting hair, skin and nails including, liver disease, improved brain function, diabetes, seborrheic dermatitis, and more. But despite these ubiquitous claims, and although there is limited evidence that excess biotin is harmful, there is very limited evidence to support the utility of biotin in healthy people. One concern regarding biotin supplementation is its interaction with certain blood tests, in particular, with troponin, an important diagnostic marker to aid in the diagnosis of recent heart attacks. Multi-vitamin supplementation, especially those containing biotin, may falsely lower blood levels of troponin which can lead to missed diagnosis of heart attacks and ultimately have serious health consequences.  

Final Thoughts

There is little, if any, proven benefits of consuming excess biotin for hair, skin, nails, or for any other medical condition for that matter, in healthy individuals. Bottom line: you can skip biotin supplementation.  


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