Health and Nutrition Articles

Biotin: AKA Vitamin H or Vitamin B7

How is Biotin Used?

Although Biotin is Vitamin H, it is actually part of the B-complex family of vitamins. It is vitamin B7. Its job is to convert carbohydrates, fatty acids and amino acids (proteins) into fuel to produce energy.

Biotin Benefits

  • Biotin supplements may improve thin, splitting or brittle nails and hair.
  • Biotin supplements may improve the health and color of the skin.
  • Biotin supports the functioning of nervous system tissues as well as growth of bone marrow.
  • Biotin supports the functioning of nervous system tissues as well as growth of bone marrow.
  • Biotin is known to treat diseases like alopecia (hair loss), parkinson's disease, Rett syndrome, cancer, peripheral neuropahty, seborrheic dermatitis and vaginal candidiasis.
  • Biotin is known to support adrenal function
  • Biotin helps regulate cell growth and DNA formation.
  • Bitotin may help with weight loss due to its ability to increase the efficiency of fat metabolization.

Biotin Deficiency

Not many people are deficient in biotin. Bitoin deficiency is more common among pregnant and nursing women. A pregnant women who is deficient in Biotin can lead to cleft palate and infant malnourishment. Babies that don't have enough biotin may develop cradle cap, or a scaly scalp condition.

People who have type 2 diabetes, been on intravenous feeding, taking antiseizure medications or antibiotics for a long period of time, or who have Chrohn's disease, or another health issue or metabolic disorder where nutrients aren't easily absorbed, are more likely to be deficient in biotin. Excess alcohol consumption and cigarette smoke can also deplete the body's supply of biotin.

Symptoms of deficiency can include:

  • hair loss
  • dry, scaly skin or scalp
  • dermatitis
  • conjunctivitis
  • cracked corners of the mouth
  • swollen, painful tongue
  • dry eyes
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • insomnia
  • hallucination
  • depression
  • pain in the muscles
  • anemia

Biotin Precautions

Studies have shown no known effects or adverse reactions due to high level doses of biotin. An excess of this vitamin is excreted in the urine.

Quick Facts

  • Vitamin "H" represents Haar und Haut, or German words for "hair and skin"
  • Biotin has been shown to stengthen hair, skin and nails.
  • Biotin is important for healthy embryonic and infant growth, so it is a critical nutrient during pregnancy.
  • Biotin can be found in Swiss chard, liver, brewer's yeast, cooked eggs, cheese, fish, almonds, peanut, pecan, walnuts, beans, blackeyed peas, whole grains, avocado, caluiflower, potatoes, broccoli, spinach, bananas and mushrooms.
  • Processed food techniques destroy biotin.
  • Biotin is water-soluble and the body does not store it.
  • Biotin only stays in your system for about two hours.
  • Good bacteria in the intestines can produce biotin.
  • Biotin is found in many cosmetic and natural health products for hair and skin.