What Health Benefits Does Biotin Offer?

OVERVIEW

There is a group of vitamins that are responsible for converting the carbohydrates that we consume in our diet to glucose which is used by our bodies for energy; These are called B complex vitamins. They are also important in metabolizing fats and proteins. They play an essential roll in having healthy hair, skin, nails and livers. Biotin, which you will sometimes hear referred to as vitamin H, belongs to this group of vitamins.

In order for our bodies to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and amino acids we need biotin. Amino acids are the building blocks for proteins. It is often found in cosmetics and is recommended for healthy hair, skin and nails. Biotin is not stored by the body because it is a water soluble vitamin. It can be produced by bacteria living in our intestines. We also get small amounts from the foods we eat.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BIOTIN DEFICIENCY?

Although biotin deficiency is very rare symptoms can include loss of hair, dry skin, cracking in the corners of the mouth, loss of appetite and depression. There are certain groups of people that can experience biotin deficiency. These include people that are being feed intravenously over a prolonged period of time, someone who is taking anti convulsive medicines and those with absorption problems. If this deficiency is left untreated one may see neurological symptoms appear such as changes in mental status, generalized muscle pain and Hyperesthesias and paraesthesias. Biotin deficiency is easily corrected with proper supplementation.

LOSS OF HAIR

Many times the first signs of disease and illness are manifested in skin problems, thinning hairlines or brittle nails. This is particularly true with nutritional deficiencies.

Blood tests can detect nutritional deficiencies, but due to the high number of nutrients in the body and the expense associated with testing many doctors normally do not order them unless they are having problems making a diagnosis. They will most likely opt for a medication that is known to work on most people but not all. This medication is usually a drug called Propecia. It is interesting to note that researchers think they have identified a particular gene that may be responsible for the difference in this drugs success.

There are several reasons why biotin has been found to be effective when used for hair loss:

1. The primary structural component of hair is keratin. Biotin is a cofactor for the metabolism of amino acids which are needed for the production of keratin.

2. Biotin is needed for cell growth and hair is made up of cells.

3. Biotin is needed for the production of fatty acids. These are the primary components of natural oils produced by the body. These natural oils prevent hair from breaking and protect it from elements such as wind and sun. They can also protect from the harsh effects of styling.

BIOTIN AND DIABETES

People that have diabetes understand that it is important to follow a diet that does not disrupt their blood sugar levels. Along with maintaining a low Glycemic Index diet it is also important to supplement with nutrients that aid in controlling blood sugar levels. Biotin is one of the B complex vitamins that is know to participate in this process.

Biotin has been shown to enhance the performance of insulin in several studies. Insulin is a hormone that plays a critical role in helping our bodies incorporate blood sugar. Glucokinase is an enzyme that is used by our liver in the early stages of utilizing blood sugar. Biotin has been shown to increase the activity of this enzyme.

A few more benefits of biotin for diabetics are as follows:

1. It is critical for energy metabolism. Biotin is a coenzyme that and acts to carry carbon dioxide. It performs a role in the synthesis of fats, amino acid metabolism and the synthesis of glycogen.

2. Helps to break down carbohydrates and lower blood sugar levels.

3. It is an essential nutrient in the conversion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into energy. This is very helpful in weight control.

4. It helps the body use protein, folic acid and vitamin B12.

5. It is essential for the formation of fatty acids and glucose.

As with any supplementation program it is always advised that you consult with your primary care physician or medical professional. He or she will be best to access your personal needs along with any limitations