Biotin is one of the many vitamins, nutrients and enzymes in our bodies that convert food into energy. It does this through a water-soluble form of vitamin B7 and vitamin H which aids in metabolizing fats, carbs and proteins into energy.
Biotin can be taken as a vitamin supplement and can improve the appearance of the skin, strengthen nails and support stronger hair because it improves the keratin infrastructure in the body.
Proper amounts of biotin in the body are necessary for good skin that is free from dermatitis, red rashes and dryness.
Biotin and Hair Growth
Hair loss can be a traumatic experience for anyone. While the focus tends to be on men, many women experience it as they age, or if they suffer from thyroid issues which are much more common in women than men.
Many people take biotin when experiencing hair loss but unfortunately there is no scientific evidence that it is effective or will regrow hair.
Anecdotal evidence from various forums from people suffering from conditions such as hypothyroidism suggest it may slow or stop hair loss altogether in some individuals since one of the symptoms of biotin deficiency is loss of hair.
If you are dealing with issues such as hair loss related to your thyroid, aside from taking a thyroid synthetic hormone, a lot of people take two additional supplements: Biotin and Evening Primrose Oil.
While no one can say scientifically whether or not either has a positive effect, many feel it is worth the relatively minor monthly cost if they can possibly alleviate some of the symptoms of hyper or hypothyroidism.
Biotin Side Effects - Is Biotin Safe?
There are no known negative side effects for most people if taken in moderation. Some people that take Biotin supplements may experience mild acne breakouts of varying length. From my own experience taking these supplements for over 2 years, I can honestly say that I have never experienced any type of negative side effect including increased acne.
Pregnant or breast feeding women may want to limit the daily dosage. There is no evidence that it is unsafe for the baby, but better to be safe than sorry with all medications and vitamins when pregnant.
Foods with Biotin
There are various types of food that naturally contain biotin such as nuts, milk, egg yolks, yeast, peas, beans and liver.
Additionally, the body can naturally produce it in the intestinal tract.
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Biotin Deficiency Symptoms
There is a very rare medical condition whereby individuals will be deficient in biotin. One of the ways one can become deficient is by consuming too many raw egg whites.
Egg whites contain an antimicrobial protein called avidin which prevents the absorption of biotin which leads to a deficiency in the body
Additionally, certain medications or alcohol in excess can lead to a deficiency, but this is also rare.
Some of the noticeable signs of biotin deficiency may include hair loss, a red rash on the skin around the eyes, nose and mouth, basically the t-zone on your face.
Otherwise, internal symptoms may include depression, lack of energy and numbness in the extremities. Normal blood work at your annual physical can alert your primary care physician to any issues related to vitamin deficiencies, so if you suspect you may be dealing with some issue, it is best to check with your doctor before starting any homeopathic medication or vitamin supplementation on your own.
Does Biotin Work?
Like any supplement, biotin reviews are mixed. It depends on what your definition of success. If you have redness on your face, dry skin or weak finger nails that break easily, you could possibly have a biotin deficiency if you do not eat a lot of the foods mentioned before such as nuts, milk and egg yolks.
Benefits of Biotin
If you have any of the conditions mentioned above, taking a biotin supplement could improve the appearance of your skin. Anecdotal evidence suggest it really works great to strengthen nails and some people swear by it for their hair.
Is biotin good for hair?
Undoubtedly, it contains vitamins and nutrient properties that can strengthen your hair. However, if you are looking for a miracle cure for hair loss, you will likely be disappointed. There is no scientific correlation between biotin and hair growth.
Your best bet for hair loss is continued use of a product like Rogaine, but even that product and its active ingredients do not work the same for everyone, if at all.
Most multi-vitamins contain a small amount of biotin, but it probably is not enough if you are looking to address some of the symptoms described above.
Does Rogaine Work?
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As with any medication, supplement or exercise program, consult with your primary care physician before proceeding because there may be associations and risks unique to your health.
Research suggests that a moderate daily supplement of biotin can improve some of the external symptoms such as dry or scaly skin and redness around parts of the face.
As a final piece of advice, if you are planning on trying the supplements, I recommend the small gel caps, rather than the hard pills, because they are much easier to swallow.