Biotin is one of the vitamins in the Vitamin B category. It is also known as Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H. The daily requirement of biotin can be easily met through our diet and it is naturally produced in our intestines as well. Food items like egg yolks, legumes, lentils, green leafy vegetables, peanuts, avocado, meat and salt water fish are rich sources of Biotin. However, the process of cooking destroys most of the biotin present in these items, therefore steaming food is recommended to retain maximum amount of biotin.
The deficiency of biotin is a rare phenomenon as our daily intake of biotin in the food easily touches 50-60 mcg against the actual requirement of 35 mcg only. In this feature we will discuss the benefits and side effects of biotin to understand its role better in our body.
Various Benefits Of Biotin
Biotin is known for making your hair thick. Many hair products that claim to lend you a gorgeous and thick mane have biotin as the main ingredient.
For hair growth, usually biotin supplements are recommended as the requirement can not be met through natural ways. Of course, you can aid the supplements with healthy intake of biotin rich food.
Regulating sugar levels
Biotin is known to discourage glucose levels in the body. It keeps a check on the blood sugar naturally and is recommended as a medicine for diabetics as well. It is an important enzyme in absorption of glucose and converts it into energy. Therefore, higher biotin level automatically leads to lower glucose level.
Though the studies conducted in this area remain inconclusive but in experience many people have observed brittle and lifeless nails can be a direct result of biotin deficiency.
Discoloration of nail is another symptoms that you might notice with low biotin levels. Regular inclusion of biotin rich nutrition and supplements can lend shine and strength to weak nails.
Dryness and dullness of skin has been associated with deficiency of biotin in the body. It helps in breaking down the fatty acids which are critical for skin rejuvenation and its elasticity. Dryness around mouth, chin and scalp is a symptom of deficiency of biotin in the body.
This happens because the fats control and protect the damage caused to skin by external environment. They also aid the replacement of dead skin which is hindered if adequate biotin is not produced in the body.
Side Effects Of Biotin
Biotin is considered quite safe and has very few documented side effects. The chances of an overdose are also rare because it is a water soluble Vitamin and therefore, gets flushed out of the system very fast. However, if taken over a long period of time or in high doses, it is bound to have adverse effects which have been discussed in detail.
Biotin breaks down fats in the body. In some people it can cause excessive oiliness which can block hair follicles, thereby resulting in outbreak of acne. Usually this kind of acne subsides as soon as the biotin levels get back to normal and intake of supplements is stopped.
Effects On Pregnancy
A study on rats has shown that excessive biotin can lead to thinning of placenta. This condition in humans can lead to hindrance in baby’s normal growth and in exceptional cases prove to be fatal. The good news is that biotin is usually deficient in pregnant women and chances of excess are very low unless supplements are taken without prescription.
Biotin is known to cause an energy rush as it breaks down the fats and glucose in the body by converting them to readily usable energy. Therefore, consuming biotin supplements or food extremely rich in biotin can cause a disturbed sleep and temporary insomnia, if taken right before the bed time.