Thinning hair or brittle nails? It could be a lack of nutrients, specifically a vitamin called biotin. Biotin is one of the 8 B vitamins, B-7 to be exact, though it is also referred to as vitamin H. Biotin is essential for important metabolic processes such as breaking down macronutrients and converting them to energy. Biotin is also important for keeping your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system functioning normally. It becomes even more important during pregnancy as it is crucial for embryonic growth. In fact, some claims suggest that supplementing with biotin can help pregnant moms have healthier pregnancies and babies.
Where Do We Get Biotin From?
Biotin is an essential vitamin, meaning our bodies don’t produce it naturally. We get biotin from eating a healthy balanced diet. Biotin can be found in foods such as egg yolk, nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and pecans), organ meats like liver and kidney, soybeans and legumes, mushrooms, cauliflower, wholegrains, and bananas. If you’re hoping to get more benefits from biotin, it’s best to eat some of these foods raw. Biotin doesn’t do well in the cooking process, it becomes ineffective. Which may be why some people have biotin deficiencies. Many of the foods we eat in Western society are highly processed, depleting our foods of necessary vitamins and minerals, like biotin. Though biotin deficiencies are rare, they are more likely to occur in pregnant women or people who have a history of heavy alcohol use. Symptoms of biotin deficiencies include, hair loss, a red scaly rash, or brittle fingernails. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, a doctor may prescribe you biotin supplements. But how exactly does biotin affect your hair, skin, and nails? Will consuming more biotin make them even healthier?
Biotin is a popular supplement that is both consumed and used as an ingredient in various hair care products for claims that it stimulates hair growth. The B vitamin does indeed stimulate keratin production (the main component of hair) and increases the rate of hair follicle growth. However, there is little evidence to suggest that biotin used as a topical cream for hair care is effective. In order for biotin to provide any benefit, it must be consumed in the form of a supplement or through diet. Many factors can contribute to hair loss or breakage including pregnancy, genetics, certain medications, and even stress or depression. By taking proactive steps to strengthen (such as increasing your biotin consumption) your hair, it will be less prone to fall out or break.
Vitamin B7 helps maintain mucous membranes in the skin as well as aid in the formation of fatty acids, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy skin complexion. Biotin deficiency can cause skin problems such as red, scaly rashes on the body. Those who may be more susceptible to biotin deficiency such as those who have liver disease or crohn’s disease will benefit from regular biotin supplementation.
Keratin is a major component in nails as well as hair. Biotin can help strengthen nails by promoting keratin production. Studies have shown that by taking a 2.5 milligram biotin supplement daily over a 6-month period, nail thickness was increased by 25%. Those with easily breaking or splitting nails may be able to strengthen them by taking regular biotin supplements.
Should You Take Biotin Supplements?
Besides being a secret weapon for luscious locks and glowing skin, biotin may also help people who suffer from insulin resistance. Some studies suggest that biotin can regulate blood sugar and prevent kidney damage in those with type 1 diabetes. Biotin supplements will be most effective for those who have underlying health issues like diabetes, or those who are more at risk of biotin deficiency, such as pregnant women. But what about for the rest of us? Though biotin supplementation is not necessary in those who do not have a deficiency, consuming more biotin may make us that much healthier. Many biotin supplements use a combination of important vitamins and minerals for best health results. Biotin Gummies from Hot Bod Nutrition combine potent levels of biotin, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and many more effective vitamins and minerals for hair, skin, and nail growth. Regular intake of biotin along with other vitamins and minerals can provide extra health benefits even for those without a biotin deficiency. Looking for a glow-up? A daily supplement may be all you need.