What is biotin?
Biotin is a water soluble vitamin that does wonders for the human body. It is the other name for vitamin H or vitamin B7. It is one of the eight B vitamins and can be made by bacteria in the intestine. It plays a key role in many biological processes and keeps you energized. Yes, biotin is responsible for production of energy in the body. It does a host of things for your body.
What does biotin do for you?
To begin with it acts as a catalyst or a coenzyme when food or carbohydrates is being converted into energy in the body. It also helps the body with its metabolism, by regulating the breakdown of essentials fats and proteins. They help the nervous system function properly. “Help” is used because they are one of the many minerals and enzymes that go into the proper functioning of the human body. They make enough of a difference for their deficiency to be felt in daily life. For instance if you feel uncharacteristically lethargic or dull all the time, it could be because your energy levels are flagging due to a vitamin H deficiency! Consult your doc about it! Take some biotin supplements and get back to your healthy life as soon as possible.
Also since biotin regulates your metabolism and controls the production of biochemical energy in your body, it is a great aid during your weight loss phase. So if you are consciously trying to lose weight, do take some biotin and iron supplements to keep yourself energized and healthy. Weight loss can be a trying time for the body. And weight loss without adequate guidance can be harmful. Many people have reported hair fall and sudden brittleness in nails post the weight loss phase. That’s because of the body not getting nutrition enough. So be well informed about what you are doing.
What all can biotin help you with?
Now that you have a broad idea about what all biotin does for your body, its time to work out the finer details. This section will help you decide if biotin is in anyway relevant to your way of living or your lifestyle.
Fatigue and depression
Biotin regulates breakdown of food into energy. So it keeps your energy levels from dipping and helps you combat fatigue. People suffering from depression are prescribed biotin supplements. Often depression is just a result of unstable moods and frustration with the self. Biotin keeps your body healthy and adequately satiated in terms of nutrients. There is lesser reason to lose control. But biotin can’t influence your emotional or psychological well being.
Dry skin and thinning hair
If you have dry, flaky skin or are losing hair rapidly, a daily biotin supplement can immediately arrest hair fall. It starts with giving your skin and hair very well deserved nutrition and helps in strengthening the hair’s cortex. It keeps your skin sift and supple. Sometimes what we mistake as dandruff is just dryness of scalp or minor eruptions on it. All of it can be taken care of by biotin. The dosage will vary across age groups though.
Pregnancy and lactating women
Pregnancy is the time when your body is undergoing a lot many changes. It is for heaven’s sake making space for another human body inside yours. So you need all the nutrition that you can get. That doesn’t mean you have to start eating for two people. It just means that you have to eat enough to ensure that both you and the baby get adequate nutrition.
How will that happen? Well it will happen if you can ensure that whatever food that you are eating is being converted to energy and reaching your kid and you. And biotin helps with this! But take biotin in the form of a B-complex supplement. That will have all the eight B vitamins and some folic acid too. This will ensure that there is a balanced ecosystem in your body for the baby.
Brittle nails and hair fall
A lot of people complain of hair fall these days. It may be due to weather conditions, quality of water used to wash hair or due to hereditary or genetic factors. Sometimes it’s also because of your hair and nails not receiving due nutrition. Hair follicles need oxygen from the bone marrow to be healthy. Clear and pink nails are the sign on good health. And all this is possible when your blood gets nutrition. That to a large extent depends on the amount of biotin in your body! Since biotin helps with nutrition and energy reaching all cells, it plays a role in growing healthy hair and nails too.
Some people may have nerve damage in their hands and feet due to diabetes or ongoing dialysis treatment. Some of the symptoms are numbness and tingling in the hands, legs or feet, muscle fatigue and difficulty in walking. Biotin supplements have been known to improve the symptoms of this disorder. There have been no conformed studies on this though.
This is rather rare! Biotin deficiency is a little difficult to come across because intestinal bacteria produce it in excess of daily requirement. No don’t be alarmed. Biotin is water soluble and the unused portion gets removed from the body via urine or sweat. But in case of a biotin deficiency which may be the result of your body not being able to absorb biotin, you need to see a doctor who will prescribe a biotin supplement amongst other things.
Another thing to note here is that since the excess biotin is excreted out of the body, there really is no fear of a biotin over dose. Many health institutions don’t have a set dosage for biotin for that precise reason. Also there are no side effects to excess biotin. It will get metabolized or removed from your system.
Now you have a quite clear picture of what biotin can do for you. But as with any thing new for your body, do consult your doc before you take this head on.