What is Biotin?
Biotin is a vitamin belonging to the vitamin-B family. It is a water-soluble vitamin and contains enzymes important to metabolize the fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It also helps to convert few nutrients into energy. It is known as vitamin B7 and formerly referred to as vitamin H.The inadequacy of biotin has implications on skin, hair and nail’s health.
The peculiarity of this vitamin is that it cannot be produced by the human cells. It can only be produced by the intestinal bacteria. As it is a water-soluble vitamin, it can’t be stored in the body. Hence the demand for a daily intake of this multi-benefit vitamin.
The enzymes in this vitamin are involved in synthesizing the fatty acids, amino acids and generating glucose.
Biotin, though water-soluble, is stable at room temperature and not destroyable, hence retained even after cooking. Yeast, mushrooms, soybeans, chicken liver, beef liver and pork are natural sources of the vitamin. It is also present in butter, green tea, all kinds of peas, sunflower seeds and in the eggs.
Bioavailability of biotin is variable depending on the food we consume. It exists in food as protein-bound form. The biotin readily available in some foods like corn, whereas it is 20-40% bioavailability for most of the other grains. This is due to the capability of the organism when it comes to the breaking of protein bonds.
The wide-ranging health benefits of the biotin include promoting the health of skin, hair and nails, healthy pregnancy, lowering the glucose levels and controlling neuropathy. It is also helpful in treating ganglia disease and multiple sclerosis.
Biotin deficiency is not widely prevalent but still reported. Some of the symptoms of biotin deficiency include hair loss, particularly alopecia, skin problems like scaly and itchy rashes around nose, eyes, mouth and private parts. Depression, hallucinations, lethargy, particularly the numbness in hands and feet are said to occur for biotin deficiency.
Major risk groups likely to suffer from biotin include the pregnant women, people on nutrition intervention for long, infants dependent on breast milk and people who suffer from diseases like inflammatory bowel disease and gastrointestinal tract disorder. People who smoke are seriously prone to the deficiency as well.
As it is essential in a variety of functions in the body and deficiency of it cause repercussions on the health of skin, hair, nails and the ability to synthesise fatty acids, it is imperative to ensure that the required biotin supply is ensured by supplements.