Biotin: More Than Just Hair, Skin, and Nails
If you are on social media at all, then at some point, you've seen a targeted ad, or an influencer tell you about how collagen and biotin benefit them. Biotin and collagen are typically grouped together in the fashion and wellness industry as cure-alls for hair, skin, and nail issues. However, the benefits of biotin go far beyond skin-deep.
While yes, biotin plays a role in a healthy outer appearance, it also works beneath the skin to assist in the daily functions of your body. A biotin deficiency can lead to a lot of physical and neurological side effects.
What Does Biotin Do?
Biotin originates from the Greek word "biotos," meaning "sustenance" and "life-giving." Biotin, also known as B7 or vitamin H, helps turn carbohydrates, fats, and proteins found in food into the energy your body needs to function. Your body requires these necessary vitamins and minerals, like biotin, to give you the energy you need to reach peak performance.
Typically, the most efficient way to get your recommended amount of biotin is by eating a variety of biotin-rich foods. If these foods are not staples in your diet, adding a biotin supplement can be a great way to get the biotin benefits that your body needs to thrive.
Top 3 Foods That Provide Biotin Benefits:
7 Great Biotin-Rich Foods for Vegans:
- nuts and seeds
- sweet potatoes
What Does a Biotin Deficiency Look Like?
A lot of vitamin-deficiency symptoms can look similar. Fatigue, for one, is a common symptom that can be a symptom of anything from a vitamin deficiency or being over-stressed to just needing to get more sleep.
While the symptoms of a biotin deficiency can slowly progress over time, once they appear, they are hard to miss. If you notice multiple symptoms from the list below, contact your doctor and make dietary adjustments ASAP.
9 Main Symptoms of Biotin Deficiency:
- thinning hair
- body hair loss
- rash around eyes, nose, mouth, or anus
- pink eye
- skin infection
- brittle nails
- nervous system disorders
As you can see, all of the symptoms of a biotin deficiency are pretty noticeable. However, some symptoms overlap with other vitamin deficiencies, so it's always essential to consult with your doctor to determine the vitamin supplements your body is craving. For example, thinning hair and brittle nails can be a sign of a biotin deficiency but can also be an indicator of an iron deficiency.
Since a biotin deficiency can lead to thinning hair and brittle nails, many biotin supplements are marketed for healthy hair, skin, and nails. Research is still out on how biotin directly impacts hair growth. However, with hair loss and broken nails being significant symptoms of biotin deficiency, it’s easy to see how the jump to connecting the benefits of biotin with healthy hair and nails was made.
What are the Benefits of Biotin?
Biotin deficiency in Canadians is rare, so there is not an official recommended daily allowance (RDA). However, 30 - 100 mcg is the general consensus for adequate daily biotin intake for adolescents and adults.
There are no toxic side effects in taking too much biotin, either through food or biotin supplements. Since biotin is water-soluble, any excess biotin will filter out of your system through your urine.
A water-soluble vitamin is a vitamin that can dissolve in water. These types of vitamins are not stored in your body. Instead, they are carried to their destination, typically your tissue, and then exit via your urine.
3 Health Benefits of Taking Biotin Supplements:
- Type 1 diabetes - prevent kidney damage
- Type 2 diabetes - regulate blood glucose levels
- support multiple sclerosis treatment
Biotin Benefits and Type 1 Diabetes
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease in Canada. So, researchers set out to find ways to decrease the likelihood or reverse the signs of kidney damage in Type 1 diabetics. In 2015, researchers discovered that biotin supplementation was found to reduce renal tissue and oxidative damage induced by diabetes.
Exercise is a critical part of managing diabetes; it aids in lowering blood sugar levels, managing weight, and reducing the risk of heart disease and strokes. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, adding biotin to your fitness supplement routine can be really beneficial.
Biotin Benefits and Type 2 Diabetes
Biotin benefits both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. Specifically, in Type 2 Diabetes, biotin supplements can assist in regulating blood glucose levels. In addition to biotin supplements, vitamin D supplements have been shown to have beneficial effects on the development of Type 2 Diabetes.
B vitamins, like biotin, are super important for healthy brain function. For example, biotin supplements can help people dealing with neuropathic pain, the leading type of chronic pain. While it can’t cure chronic pain, it has been shown to be therapeutic and relieve some dependency on painkillers.
Biotin Benefits and MS Treatment
A 2016 research study in France focused on the high-dose biotin benefits in patients with Multiple Sclerosis. The results showed that those given a high-dose biotin supplement showed a decrease or reversal in their MS-related disabilities. Furthermore, the disability reversal was maintained over follow-up visits.
Adding Biotin Supplements to Your Routine
The average Canadian can reach their necessary intake of biotin through food alone. However, if you are looking to add a biotin supplement to your routine, there are many great products on the market.
Top 5 Biotin Supplements:
- Enhanced Collagen Peptides by TC Nutrition
- Alpha Lipoic Acid 600 by CanPrev
- Super B-Complex by Alora Naturals
- Collagen by Allmax
- Super Collagen Protein by Obvi
Biotin Benefits Go Beyond Skin Deep
The classic collagen and biotin supplement combination has dominated the wellness industry for a reason. The symptoms of a biotin deficiency can lead to some very serious side effects that negatively impact your physical appearance as well as your internal functions.
Biotin benefits your body by helping turn the food you eat into energy you can use to obtain your health and fitness goals. If your body is not receiving all the necessary vitamins and minerals it needs to stay alert and functioning, you can't perform in the gym, office, or your daily life. Biotin supplements can help.