Biotin plays a crucial role in performing normal body functions. An important nutrient, it supports the health of skin, digestive tract, nerves, cells and metabolism. It may also help in treating some type of nerve pathology, such as peripheral neuropathy, which can result from diabetes or kidney failure.
Biotin supplements have been studied as a common cure for a number of conditions. One of the studies was conducted on people with diabetes, where early research suggests taking a combination of biotin and chromium might help improve blood sugar. Biotin, on its own, may help decrease nerve symptoms and insulin resistance related to type II diabetes. However, more research is needs to be done.
Preliminary evidences suggest that Biotin might help strengthen brittle nails. It may also prove effective in conditions like hepatitis, cradle cap, depression and hair loss. Biotin deficiencies are rare as we get enough of this nutrient naturally from the foods we eat. You would be surprised to learn that our bodies recycle biotin that we’ve already used. This means that Biotin deficiencies are quite rare.
Pregnant woman and nursing mothers however may fall deficient in this important nutrient due to the increased demand of Biotin in the body. This is one main reason why you may recognize Biotin as a part of multivitamin formulas developed for women, or skin, nail and hair care products. Doctors especially recommend Biotin to pregnant women as it plays an important role in developing baby’s growth.
B complex vitamins including Biotin help the body metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Like the other water-soluble vitamins, even Biotin is not stored in the body. However, the bacteria in the intestines produce more of this nutrient than is required by the body daily.
While deficiency of Biotin is rare, it is especially observed in people with metabolic disorders. For instance, alcoholics on an average suffer from Biotin deficiency. Low levels of this nutrient have also been observed in athletes, elderly, epileptics as well as people who have had a part of their gastrointestinal tracts removed. You would be surprised to learn that including raw egg whites in your diet for extended period of time can also lead to biotin deficiency. This is mainly due to avidin, which is a protein found in significant amounts in uncooked egg whites.
Generally, hair loss is a common sign of severe Biotin deficiency. This is one of the main reasons of promoting Biotin supplementation for men. However, there is little scientific evidence supporting the theory that biotin alone can reverse or stop the hair loss problem.
Preliminary research suggests that men might be able to experience some reduction in hair fall if recommended dosage of biotin is taken orally. Also, people with type II diabetes taking chromium and biotin together could help manage blood sugar. It is, however, important to note that scientific research supporting both these claims is still ongoing and is inconclusive.
Biotin along with other B vitamins is involved in the release of energy from energy-yielding nutrients – proteins, fats and carbohydrates. There is very little evidence that suggests any changes occurring in the metabolism of Biotin with aging. However, multiple nutritional deficiencies can be observed in aging adults with poor dietary intake or even as a result of use of chronic medication. Biotin deficiencies have also been found to occur with limited functionality.
Biotin supplementation can be useful for elders having diabetes, those with skin & nail problems and those with dandruff. It can also be taken in case of heart problems and high blood levels of cholesterol.
Other conditions which may increase your need for Biotin, includes –
• Surgical removal of stomach
• Genetic disorder of biotin deficiency
Any sort of discomfort or any other health problem has not been reported in older adults with intake of normal daily recommended dosage of Biotin.
Biotin is generally safe when taken by mouth in prescribed amounts. Most people do not experience any side-effects with this vitamin as it is well tolerated when used at recommended dosages. Also, as Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, so excess of this nutrient is generally excreted in urine or faeces. General symptoms of Biotin overdose may include abnormal frequency of sweating, increased urge to urinate and rapid nail or hair growth.