Biotin is a B-complex vitamin (vitamin B7, earlier known as vitamin H) that not many people know about, probably because it's very rare to have deficiency of biotin. Biotin is needed by every living cell of your body. The daily requirement of biotin is 30 mcg (micrograms) for both men and women. Fortunately, your body obtains biotin in much higher quantities without extra effort. Dietary sources of biotin include cooked eggs, cauliflower, leafy vegetables, peanuts and cheese. Moreover, useful organisms present in your gut also produce biotin to some extent.
Just like all other vitamins, biotin also plays a crucial role in several processes of the body. Here are some ways biotin is beneficial for you.
1. Helps in proper digestion of food: The main function of biotin is carrying out metabolic processes of the body. Several reactions that take place during the breakdown of food that you eat require biotin. This includes breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. If your body has sufficient levels of biotin, the food will instantly be processed. But people who suffer from metabolic problems may require a biotin supplement.
2. May control and prevent diabetes: Biotin plays a role in enhancing the secretion of insulin, a protein that regulates blood sugar levels. To understand how exactly biotin helps in this process, Lazo de la Vega-Monroy ML and colleagues conducted a study which found that biotin has a direct effect on the cells that produce insulin (beta cells of the pancreas). The study suggested that biotin may play an important role in preventing and treating diabetes as well.
3. May prevent heart disease: Biotin helps in reducing certain risk factors leading to heart disease. A study by Albarracin C and colleagues highlighted that biotin in combination with chromium significantly reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and total cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart attack, atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
4. Helps in weight loss: Biotin is needed for all metabolic processes of the body. So when you're deficient in biotin your rate of metabolism gets lowered. With high biotin levels, your body is able to breakdown food at a faster rate increasing your metabolism, thereby helping in weight loss. But that doesn't mean you should just rely on biotin supplements to lose weight. Without proper exercise and healthy diet, biotin cannot aid weight loss on its own.
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5. Keeps your hair and nails healthy: Biotin can be called 'the beauty vitamin' for its numerous benefits in hair and nail health. In fact, it is gaining a lot more attention these days in the cosmetic industry. Biotin plays a role in hair growth and strengthening. Several shampoos and conditioners available in the market have biotin as a key ingredient in them. It works wonders for problems like dry, brittle hair and hair fall. It also beneficial for eyelash growth.
6. Keeps your skin glowing: Wanteverlasting, glowing, wrinkle-free skin? All you need is sufficient amount of biotin. Biotin is used in several skin care products like massage oils and creams. The role of biotin in skin health becomes more transparent after knowing the skin consequences of deficiency of biotin. Biotin deficiency causes several skin problems including rashes, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema and acne.
Lazo de la Vega-Monroy ML1, Larrieta E, German MS, Baez-Saldana A, Fernandez-Mejia C. Effects of biotin supplementation in the diet on insulin secretion, islet gene expression, glucose homeostasis and beta-cell proportion.
Albarracin C, Fuqua B, Geohas J, Juturu V, Finch MR, Komorowski JR. Combination of chromium and biotin improves coronary risk factors in hypercholesterolemic type 2 diabetes mellitus: a placebo-controlled, double-blind randomized clinical trial.
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