By Anthoney J. Andersen – Steroidal.com
Living a healthy lifestyle can be a challenging quest, but it’s not one that should be taken lightly, especially if you’re a person who has a desire to live a long and fruitful life.
When going on a diet plan, it’s important that the foods you ingest are not only low in fat, carbs and calories, but that they are also high in essential vitamins and minerals.
Some of the most important vitamins you can consume are B vitamins (vitamin B6, B12, etc.); however, one of the B vitamins that often go overlooked is vitamin B7, otherwise known as biotin or vitamin H.
WHAT BIOTIN OFFERS
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that is often grouped with the B-complex vitamins. Biotin can be produced by bacteria in the body and is present in various foods. According to Healthline.com, the word biotin stems from the ancient Greek word “biotos,” which means “life” or “sustenance.”
B vitamins – specifically biotin – help keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver and nervous system healthy. Biotin is also a crucial nutrient during pregnancy, as it’s vital for embryonic growth.
Most people obtain enough biotin from eating a healthy diet, but many studies have concluded that increasing your daily biotin intake can regulate your blood sugar, promote healthy hair, skin and nails, and help pregnant mothers have healthier babies.
Biotin is an essential nutrient for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and protein. It is a coenzyme for carboxylase enzymes, which are involved in the synthesis of fatty acids, isoleucine, and valine (amino acids) and in gluconeogenesis.
According to Medicalnewstoday.com, the adequate intake (AI) for biotin is between 30 and 100 micrograms (mcg) per day for adults over 18 years of age. Biotin deficiency is rare in humans due to its wide disbursement in foods and the ability of gut bacteria to synthesize biotin in excess amounts.
Most common cases of biotin deficiency that have been reported are in pregnant women, patients receiving prolonged parenteral (intravenous) nutrition, infants consuming breast milk containing low amounts of biotin and in patients with impaired biotin absorption due to inflammatory bowel disease or other GI tract disorder.
Long-term use of anti-seizure medications such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, or carbamazepine can also reduce blood levels of biotin.
Symptoms of biotin deficiency include hair loss, dry skin, a scaly rash around the eyes or mouth, dry eyes, fatigue and depression. Some people also take biotin supplements to treat diabetes and nerve pain associated with diabetes, although there is currently not much to support this type of use.
Some research also suggests that a deficiency in nutrients that include biotin could contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.
According to Everydayhealth.com, two 2012 studies found that biotin improved the blood sugar and insulin levels of people with type 2 diabetes when they took it along with chromium supplements.
The researchers concluded that taking biotin supplements may be beneficial for both people with diabetes and those who are obese.
Even though biotin has been labeled as a safe vitamin that is unlikely to cause side effects, it is always wise to first check with your doctor before taking any supplement. Some conditions and medications can cause low levels of biotin.
Tell your doctor if you are:
- • On dialysis
- • Smoke cigarettes
- • Eat two or more raw egg whites daily
- • Take medications for seizures
- • Have been on a long-term course of antibiotics
As part of the B-vitamin family, biotin plays a role in producing energy in your body. According to Livestrong.com, during the ongoing metabolic processes that occur in the body, carbohydrates, fat and protein are broken down into glucose, fatty acids and amino acids.
Biotin and the rest of the B-vitamins are essential nutrients in converting these macronutrients into fuel to power all the cells in your body. Without a steady supply of biotin, you can feel overly tired throughout the day.
Part of biotin’s job is to regulate DNA formation, which keeps genetic information in cells working normally. However, when cells are growing and dividing at a rapid pace – like during pregnancy – biotin is increasingly important. Biotin ensures that cells and DNA develop properly in a growing fetus, minimizing the likelihood of having complications during pregnancy.
NATURAL SOURCES OF BIOTIN
According to Fitday.com, if you are a person who doesn’t like taking supplements, then the following is a list of five healthy food sources that are chock-full of biotin:
- • Swiss Chard: This green plant is a top producer of biotin and is a great part of a healthy salad choice that will provide antioxidants and help balance a diet.
- • Carrots: Carrots not only contain a healthy supply of biotin, but also contains beta-carotene, which helps with general eye health.
- • Almonds, Walnuts, and Other Nuts: A variety of nuts supply the body with biotin, and are a portable way to consume proteins and other nutrition into your diet.
- • Chicken Eggs: Eggs are a great source of biotin; however, it’s important to keep in mind that eating a diet unusually high in egg whites can actually act as a catalyst for biotin deficiency. This is due to the fact that a specific element in the egg whites binds to the element and prevents it from being distributed properly. It’s important to consider how eggs are added to a diet in order to prevent this kind of vitamin deficiency.
- • Berries and Fruits: Certain types of berries – like strawberries and raspberries – can supply the body with a significant amount of biotin. These fruits contain antioxidants and health benefits, as part of a natural, whole food approach to eating. Experts recommend buying local and organic fruits when possible.
Anyone can take biotin, as it is treated as a supplement and not a drug. With that said, it’s still good to check with your doctor to determine what dosage is right for you.
“Since it’s found in most foods, most of us already meet our daily requirements by simply consuming a nutrient-rich diet,” said Susan Fyshe, a registered dietician and nutritionist.
Biotin can be found in a multivitamin, B-complex and in pure tablet form, which is readily available over the counter.