Biotin: A Lesser-Known B Vitamin
The very first B vitamin was discovered way back in 1912. Since then, researchers have identified a total of eight distinct B vitamins:
- B1 (thiamine)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B5 (pantothenic acid)
- B6 (pyridoxine)
- B7 (biotin)
- B9 (folic acid)
- B12 (cobalamin)
B4, B8, B10, and B11 are missing from this list because they represent compounds that were later determined not to be vitamins at all…of the B variety or otherwise.
For this article, we will focus our attention on vitamin B7, also known as biotin.
What is Biotin?
The name “biotin” comes from the ancient Greek word “bios” (meaning “life”). Like other B vitamins, biotin is an essential nutrient (meaning humans need it to live). Among other things, it contributes to basic and essential metabolic functions within the human body.
Biotin is usually bound to the proteins contained within food, such as meat, eggs, and fish. It can also be found in non-meat foods like seeds, nuts, some vegetables (like cauliflower and broccoli), and fruit (like bananas).
Like its fellow B vitamins, biotin is water-soluble. This means your body can’t store it. In other words, you have to get the biotin you need for everyday survival from the food you eat (or from supplements), and you have to do so on a regular basis.
To get the biotin your body needs, your digestive system separates it from its associated proteins to release “free biotin”. Free biotin is then absorbed through your small intestine and stored in your liver (temporarily).
Your body uses biotin to catalyze (or initiate) the metabolism of fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids. Biotin is also needed to produce histones (which provide structural support for DNA), and it plays a role in gene regulation and cell signaling.
Do You Need Biotin Supplementation?
Actual biotin deficiency is rare because biotin is present in so many foods. Which begs the question…should you even consider biotin supplementation?
The answer is a distinct maybe. There are a couple of reasons why you may want to consider biotin supplementation:
- First, because your body can’t produce or store biotin, humans need to consume at least 30mcg of biotin every day to meet minimum requirements. Depending on your eating habits, this could be a challenge (particularly if you’re a vegetarian).
- Second, there’s a difference between minimum requirements and optimal amounts. You may need more than 30mcg per day for optimal health, or if you’re trying to improve the health of your hair, skin, and nails.
Benefits of Biotin
Biotin supplies several important benefits, including:
- Increased energy: Biotin is a catalyst for reactions within the body that convert fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy.
- Tissue maintenance and repair: Your body uses biotin to repair and maintain muscle, nerve, and bone marrow cells.
- Cardiovascular health: Biotin helps to reduce cholesterol, thereby protecting you from cardiovascular disease.
- Weight loss: By boosting your metabolism, biotin helps to maintain a healthy weight and helps to burn surplus fat.
- Blood sugar regulation: Biotin helps your body to maintain healthy blood glucose levels.
- Mental acuity: Biotin protects brain health and helps to prevent cognitive decline.
- Hair, skin, and nail health: Biotin supports keratin production, the basic protein found in hair, skin, and nails.
Biotin supplementation is particularly popular among people who want to improve the texture and health of their hair, skin, and nails. You can easily augment the biotin you get from your diet by taking oral supplements. Biotin can also be injected for better absorption and faster results.
Want to learn how biotin injections can enhance your healthy aging goals? Call us at 800-859-7511 or use our contact form to set up your free 30-minute consultation.