Biotin, also known as vitamin H or B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps the body metabolize fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body so daily intake is necessary.

Vitamin B7 cannot be synthesized by human cells, but it is produced by bacteria in the body, and it is present in numerous foods.

Biotin therapy some medical conditions. Some people take supplements to strengthen their nails and hair, but there is a lack of evidence supporting this use.

This article looks at why we need biotin, the recommended intake, sources, and any possible health risks.

Fast facts on biotin:

  • Biotin, or vitamin B7, is needed to metabolize fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
  • Deficiency can lead to hair loss and skin problems, but it is rare.
  • Dietary sources include red meat, eggs, seeds, and nuts.
  • Supplements are unlikely to cause harm but they are not proven to help with hair, skin, and nail health.

vitamin B7 or biotin
Vitamin B7, or biotin, is an important nutrient, but deficiency is rare with a well-balanced diet.

The body needs biotin to metabolize fats, carbohydrates, and protein.

It is a coenzyme for carboxylase enzymes. These enzymes are involved in:

Biotin is important for a number of functions.

Maintaining a healthy pregnancy

Mild biotin deficiency is often seen during pregnancy. It can lead to abnormal development in the fetus.

Folic acid supplementation is recommended both the year before and during pregnancy. It is sensible to obtain a multivitamin that provides at least 30 mcg of biotin per day, in addition to folic acid, to decrease the risk of a deficiency.

Nails, hair, and skin

There is that biotin may improve the strength and durability of fingernails and enhance hair and skin health.

A study published in 1989 found that among 45 patients who took a supplement of 2.5 mg a day, had "firmer and harder finger nails" after 5 months.

Other researchers that "brittle nail syndrome appears to abate with supplementation with a 2.5-mg dose of biotin daily or a 10-mg dose of silicon daily."

Research published in 2015 women with thinning hair experienced some reduction in shedding after taking an oral marine protein supplement (MPS) for 90 days. However, biotin was only one ingredient in this supplement, and the research was sponsored by a company that sells health and beauty products.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), there is that biotin supplements can strengthen nails and promote healthy hair.

Further studies are needed to support the use of biotin supplements for this purpose in healthy individuals.

Lowering blood glucose

Several studies have tested biotin's ability to lower blood glucose in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Results have been promising.

In animal studies, biotin stimulate the secretion of insulin from the pancreas and subsequently to lower blood glucose.

Research published in 2016 indicated that biotin may glycemic control in people with type I diabetes.

More studies are needed before biotin's effects on blood sugar can be confirmed.

Controling neuropathy

It may also help in people who have diabetes or who are undergoing dialysis for kidney disease.

In 1990, scientists found that three patients who took a high dose of biotin for 1 to 2 years in symptoms.

Biotin is necessary for the activity of pyruvate carboxylase. Without this, high levels of pyruvate and aspartate may arise, and this can adversely affect the nerves.

However, more evidence is needed to confirm this.

Biotin-responsive basal ganglia disease

This is a rare, inherited disorder. It affects a part of the nervous system that controls movement. It can lead to involuntary tensing of muscles, muscle rigidity, muscle weakness, and other problems.

The condition to treatment with thiamin and biotin.

Treating multiple sclerosis

Studies have suggested that high-dose biotin therapy might help improve symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system, leading to muscle weakness and a range of other problems.

Results published in 2016 suggested that biotin was a safe therapy. In some participants, a high dose, taken three times daily, after 9 months of use.

Biotin deficiency is rare in humans, because biotin is widely available in foods, and the "good" gut bacteria can normally synthesize more biotin than the body needs.

Signs of deficiency :

Biotin deficiency is most likely to arise in:

  • women during pregnancy
  • patients receiving prolonged intravenous nutrition
  • infants who consume breastmilk with low amounts of biotin
  • patients with impaired biotin absorption due to an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or other gastrointestinal (GI) tract disorder
  • people who smoke

It may also affect:

  • those who use medications for epilepsy, such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, or carbamazepine
  • those with some kinds of liver disease

Biotinidase deficiency

Biotinidase deficiency is another cause of biotin deficiency. This is an autosomal recessive metabolic disorder.

In people with this condition, the body does not produce enough of the enzyme needed to release biotin from proteins in the diet during digestion or from normal protein turnover in the cell.

Around newborns have profound or partial biotinidase deficiency. In a profound deficiency, there is less than 10 percent of normal enzyme activity. In a partial deficiency, 10 to 30 percent of normal enzyme activity takes place.