It’s no secret to us beauty nerds that biotin is good for your hair, skin, and nails. Biotin also happens to be an essential nutrient that our bodies need to function properly. It is important to get your blood tested routinely to make sure you are getting plenty of biotin and other B vitamins.
Thinking about introducing a biotin supplement into your daily routine? Keep reading to learn why the nutrient really is all it’s cracked up to be.
The Beauty Vitamin
The B vitamins are responsible for making sure that methylation happens in the body—a biochemical superhighway that occurs more than 1 billion times per second. B vitamins help the body detox, decrease inflammation, and help your body avoid many autoimmune, brain, and hormone problems. In addition to all of that, B vitamins also help break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates for optimal energy production.
Biotin, or vitamin B7, helps your skin, hair, and nails look vibrant and youthful. We might as well call biotin the beauty supplement.
Unfortunately, the body cannot synthesize biotin, so it has to be absorbed through diet, supplementation, and intestinal bacteria. Protein-bound biotin that comes from food is converted to free biotin, and then absorbed into the small and large intestines. After being absorbed, biotin moves to the liver. Biotin then crosses the blood-brain barrier into the central nervous system.
Why Are We So Deficient?
Biotin is found in lots of food sources, so severe deficiencies of biotin are rare. While they may not be severe, there are many reported cases of biotin deficiency. This is an important vitamin, and we should do everything possible to keep from being deficient. A huge reason there have been many biotin deficiencies is because the conversion for absorption happens in the gut, and so many people struggle with gut imbalances today. Inflammatory bowel disease and other microbiome issues can cause deficiencies in biotin and other important nutrients. Another culprit for deficiency is antibiotics. Antibiotics wipe out the good bacteria in the gut, leading to lower levels of biotin. Antibiotics will often kill off biotin-producing bacteria in the gut.
Biotin Deficiency Risk Factors
You may be at more of a risk for a biotin deficiency if you drink a lot of alcohol, are pregnant, smoke, or eat raw egg whites. Weird, right? The protein in raw egg whites actually inhibits biotin absorption.
Symptoms of Biotin Deficiency
Fatigue, brittle hair, hair loss, digestive issues, and dry skin are all common symptoms of biotin deficiency.
The Benefits of Having Optimal Biotin
Biotin is essential for immune health, aiding in the development of white blood cells. Biotin helps with brain health by playing a role in neurotransmitter activity and protecting against neurodegenerative disorders. Biotin can also help regulate the mood. Biotin increases insulin production and helps lower blood sugar levels. Biotin is essential for fat metabolism and helps your heart health thrive.
Where to Find Biotin
If you are supplementing biotin, it is recommended for those 14 to 18 years to take 25 mcg, and if you are over 19 years to take 30 mcg. You can also find biotin in beef liver, eggs, salmon, avocado, cheese, spirulina, and brewer’s or nutritional yeast.
Kate Wilke is a 200-RYT yoga instructor, meditation teacher, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She teaches and works with clients in Nashville, TN. She believes in self-care in the form of colorful, healthy cooking, daily walks with her dog, and a glass of red wine. Follow her on Instagram — @meditatekate