Biotin is a B-complex vitamin, also known as Vitamin B-7, D-Biotin or Vitamin H. It is a water-soluble vitamin that does not get stored in the body like fat-soluble vitamins. So in order for it to work efficiently, it needs to be taken regularly because it is constantly being lost with urination.
Biotin was originally discovered in the late 1930s while researching dietary needs of chickens. Researchers were able to determine that a glycoprotein called avidin that is present in eggs can bind with the substance and prevent absorption.
Biotin can be found naturally in foods including liver, cauliflower, salmon, bananas, egg yolks, carrots, legumes and mushrooms. It is also found in brewer’s and nutritional yeast.
Since the daily requirements for biotin are small, biological deficiency is rare. Frequent consumption of raw eggs or alcohol can result in biotin deficiencies. Biotin deficiency can lead to hair loss, skin rash, high cholesterol and other cardiovascular problems. Metabolic complications including low blood sugar, high amounts of ammonia in the blood and acidosis can occur.
Many health and beauty products that promote hair and nail strength include biotin. However, the usefulness of externally applied products like shampoo is questionable, as it is not easily absorbed through the skin. In order to reap the health benefits of Vitamin B-7, the vitamin must typically be consumed in supplement form.
Hair loss can occur in both men and women. Vitamin B-7 is often used by itself and in conjunction with other vitamin blends for slowing the hair loss process and keeping hair healthier. The only catch is it only helps when biotin deficiency is the underlying reason for the hair loss.
Diabetes is a condition characterized by the pancreas not releasing insulin properly. This leads to sporadic dips and valleys in blood sugar levels. D-Biotin(CAS No. 58-85-5) improves the body’s ability to release insulin in response to elevated blood sugar levels. It also aids the liver in processing glucose, which makes insulin resistance less severe.
Though biotin deficiency is rare, it is serious. Vitamin B-7 deficiency is usually a congenital condition, but it can also be caused by excessive consumption of raw egg white over a period of many months or years. If untreated, Vitamin B-7 deficiency can present serious and potentially fatal neurological symptoms. In early stages, the deficiency is marked by hair and skin conditions including dryness, alopecia, eczema, rashes, and fungal infections. Luckily, the deficiency is easily treated with its supplements.