What Is Biotin?
Also known as vitamin B7, biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that’s a part of the vitamin B complex — a group of key nutrients needed for healthy metabolic, nerve, digestive and cardiovascular functions.
Biotin acts as a co-enzyme in the body, which is essential for the metabolism of fatty acids, amino acids and glucose. When we eat foods that are sources of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, biotin must be present within the body in order to convert and use these macro-nutrients for bodily energy to carry out physical activities and for proper psychological functioning.
Biotin benefits include helping to maintain a younger appearance as it plays a major part in maintaining the health
of our hair, nails and skin. Biotin is commonly added to hair and skin beauty products, although it’s believed to not be absorbed very well through the skin and must be ingested to be fully beneficial, making it a popular favourite in Nutricosmetics supplements.
Biotin is found in foods such as organ meats, eggs, avocado, cauliflower, berries, fish and mushrooms.
Vitamin B7 is water-soluble, which means it travels in the bloodstream and any excess or unused quantities present in the body are eliminated through urine. Therefore, the body doesn’t build up reserves of biotin and it’s very difficult to consume too much; because of this, toxic levels are very rare. However, this also means that you must ideally ingest small amounts of vitamin B7 almost daily to keep your body’s supply high enough.
The benefits of Biotin
Supports Healthy Metabolism:
Biotin regulates gene expressions that are critical in carrying out functions of the metabolism.
Vitamin B7, along with other B vitamins, is needed to convert the food you eat into useable energy that supports a healthy metabolism. Vitamin B7 does this in several ways:
- It converts glucose from carbohydrates and sugar sources into useable “fuel” that is the body’s preferred source of energy.
- It helps the body use amino acids from proteins to carry out multiple body functions.
- It activates fatty acids from fat-containing foods like oils or animal fats.
Maintains Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails:
Vitamin B7 is needed to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails, so when someone experiences a vitamin B7 deficiency, symptoms may manifest in the form of thinning, splitting and brittle hair, or dermatitis that results in dry, irritated skin. You may notice that biotin is included in many cosmetic face creams, hair masques and other over-the-counter beauty products for this reason, but it’s much more effective when it’s eaten, rather than applied topically.
Protects Brain Function and Fights Cognitive Decline:
B7 benefits the health of the nervous system because of its role in nerve signalling and neurotransmitter activity. B vitamins together influence memory function and defend against age-related cognitive impairment, such as neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
Helps Maintain a Healthy Cardiovascular System:
B vitamins like vitamin B7 play a part in defending against common causes of heart disease including inflammation, atherosclerosis (or plaque build-up in the arteries), heart attacks and stroke.
Needed to Build and Repair Tissues and Muscles:
Biotin benefits include helping the growth and maintenance of bodily tissues, including to help repair and build muscles. When tissue or muscle is broken down, B vitamins like vitamin B7 biotin work to build back the strength of muscle and tissue that leads to growth.
According to the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine, to receive biotin benefits, the daily recommended value of biotin is:
- 5 micro-grams daily for infants
- 6–8 micro-grams daily for infants ages 7 months to 3 years old
- 12–20 micro-grams daily for children ages 4–13 years old
- 25 micro-grams for adolescents
- 30 micro-grams for male and female adults over 19 years old
- 30 milligrams for pregnant women and 35 milligrams for women who are breast-feeding