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Biotin, also called vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin and part of the vitamin B complex. B vitamins are required in particular for the function of the metabolism, the nerves, digestion and for the heart/circulation.
Biotin acts as a coenzyme in the body and is required for the metabolism of fatty acids, amino acids, and glucose. This means that if we eat foods that contain fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, biotin must be present to convert these macronutrients so that they can be used for body energy, physical activities and for brain functions.
Biotin is also a nutrient that helps people stay young and attractive as it plays an essential role in maintaining beautiful, healthy hair, nails and skin. Biotin is also sometimes called vitamin H, which is derived from hair and skin.
Biotin is found in many hair and beauty care products, although it is believed that it is not very well absorbed through the skin and must actually be taken orally to benefit from all of its benefits.
Biotin is water-soluble, which means that it flows in the bloodstream and any excess or unused amounts are excreted in the urine. The body does not build up any biotin reserves. However, this also means that one should ideally take biotin daily to ensure adequate intake in the body.
Some of the people who are at increased risk of biotin deficiency are:
Biotin deficiency can manifest itself through symptoms such as:
To avoid a deficiency, the DGE (German Society for Nutrition) recommends the following daily intake:
Biotin mostly occurs as part of B-complex food supplements. These usually include a full range of B vitamins, including vitamins B1, B6, B12, B2 and B3 (niacin). Together, the B-vitamin complexes support metabolic activity, brain functions, nerve signals, and many other important daily functions. They also work together, so it's always best to take B vitamins together to make sure they get the best results.
In fact, there are eight different forms of biotin, but only one occurs naturally - the one that occurs in food. This form is called D-biotin and is believed to be the only type that has full vitamin capabilities.
The 9 best food sources for biotin include:
In addition to this, other berries, mushrooms, and other fish species are considered good sources of biotin.
Interestingly, biotin is only found in egg yolk and it does not occur in egg whites at all. Some reports have shown that people who do without egg yolk and only eat the egg white not only consume fewer B vitamins but that the egg protein actually has the ability to reduce the effects of the B vitamins - and possibly can even cause vitamin B deficiency.
Biotin is necessary to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails. So if someone has a biotin deficiency, it can result in thinner, damaged and brittle hair or dermatitis, which results in dry, irritated skin.
You have probably already seen that this is why biotin is included in many cosmetic face creams, hair treatments, and other over-the-counter beauty products. But biotin is much more effective if it is taken in the form of biotin capsules or biotin tablets.
Studies show that taking large amounts of biotin can help beautify weak hair and soft nails. In fact, this benefit of biotin was first discovered when horses were effectively treated with biotin to correct problems with the horse's hooves that had become brittle.
Biotin can also help protect the skin from acne, fungal infections, rashes, and severe dryness and vomiting.
Biotin regulates gene expression, which is crucial for performing metabolic functions. 
Biotin, along with other B vitamins, is needed to convert the food we eat into usable energy to support a healthy metabolism. Biotin does this in several ways:
Normal, healthy metabolic activity is only possible if the body can use macronutrients from food for energy. Biotin also improves metabolism and the use of glucose, which is extremely beneficial in our society, where type 2 diabetes is so common.
If there isn't enough biotin in the body, symptoms of a reduced metabolism can appear, such as low energy levels, fatigue, weight gain, digestive problems, possible development of diabetes, changes in appetite, a bad mood and more.
Biotin is beneficial for the health of the nervous system because it plays a role in the transmission of nerve signals and in neurotransmitter activity. All B vitamins together influence memory function and protect against age-related cognitive loss of function, as is the case with Alzheimer's or dementia.
Because of their role in synthesizing hormones that regulate mood, B vitamins like biotin can help maintain a positive attitude, promote energy, and increase concentration.
Biotin, particularly when combined with chromium, has been shown to help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. This is especially true for those people who have a blood sugar level that cannot be optimally controlled with prescription medication.
Biotin is beneficial for blood sugar because it supports the activity of insulin. Insulin is the most important hormone to bring blood sugar back into a balanced state. (9) Better insulin response helps reduce the risk of fluctuating blood sugar levels, which can lead to pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and various forms of metabolic metabolism syndrome.
Biotin reduces the production of enzymes that stimulate the production of glucose by the liver, which means that less sugar is released into the bloodstream. For this reason, a lack of biotin has been linked to impaired glucose tolerance and reduced glucose use, which are risk factors for diabetes. Biotin can also help reduce symptoms of existing diabetes, including nerve pain.
B vitamins like vitamin B7 play a role in protecting against the causes of heart disease, including inflammation, arteriosclerosis (or plaque formation in the arteries), heart attacks and stroke.
Studies have shown that biotin and chromium can help improve cholesterol levels. Biotin has shown positive results to increase 'good' HDL cholesterol and decrease 'bad' LDL cholesterol. This is especially true for people with diabetes who are prone to heart disease.
B vitamins such as biotin are required for proper thyroid activity to protect against adrenal fatigue syndrome. The thyroid and adrenal glands are 'master glands' that are responsible for multiple body conditions, including hunger, sleep, pain perception, mood, and energy.
A lack of B vitamins can lead to thyroid and adrenal problems and thus result in many negative symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain or loss, sleep disorders and much more.
Biotin helps in the growth and maintenance of body tissues, including the repairing and building of muscles. When tissues or muscles are broken down, B vitamins such as biotin ensure that the strength of the muscles and tissues is rebuilt, which leads to growth.
B vitamins also help reduce inflammation, which can lead to muscle or joint pain or difficulty moving. A deficiency in biotin and other B vitamins can be even more serious if they inhibit growth and lead to incorrect development in fetuses and infants. This is one reason why it is particularly important to get enough biotin and all other B vitamins during pregnancy.
There are a variety of physical malfunctions and other factors that increase the risk of a biotin deficiency. Some people are at great risk of suffering from this deficiency, including chronic biotin deficiency, in a particularly pronounced form. Pregnant women and young children may be particularly at risk of biotin deficiency.
If the body does not have enough biotin available or is even deficient, this can cause a number of health problems. Biotin was discovered when an attempt was made to find the causes of the so-called 'Egg White Injury' - which resulted in hair loss, skin rashes and neurological problems due to the consumption of raw egg.
If eggs are eaten uncooked, Avadin - one of the proteins in the egg whites, binds to the biotin and ensures that it is not available to the body. The substance found in the liver, which was able to prevent this 'protein' disease or even to reverse its effects, was biotin. Interestingly, this intensive binding of avidin and biotin is used for various diagnostic tests and cancer therapies in order to find specific groups of molecules or to act on them in a targeted manner.
If the enzymes that the body needs to absorb and process biotin are lacking (as in the case of hereditary biotinidase and holocarboxylase synthetase deficiency), this can have serious health consequences (e.g. hearing loss and mental loss) disabilities). A 5 to 10 mg dose of biotin as a dietary supplement can already be sufficient enough to prevent such damage or to counteract it if a biotin deficiency has been diagnosed.
In addition to its beneficial properties for health and the possibility of eliminating or reducing the symptoms of a biotin deficiency, biotin can also have preventive and therapeutic benefits for a number of diseases and health problems, such as:
Certain health problems or processes can lead to the body having too little biotin, which can cause hair loss, among other things. Clinical studies show that pregnancies can significantly lower biotin content. In addition, hormonal changes after childbirth can cause some women to lose 30% to 40% of their scalp hair. Long periods of breastfeeding are also associated with a lack of biotin and other nutrients as well as with chronic thinning of the hair.
Studies show that treatment of the underlying biotin deficiency with additional administration of biotin can stop hair loss and stimulate new growth:
Biotinidase is the enzyme needed to release biotin from the protein to which it is bound and to make it available to the body. It can lead to hair loss and severe neurological disorders, but the results of at least one case study suggest that supplemental biotin use can prevent or stop certain symptoms of this genetic disorder from occurring.
In the case treated here, a 5-month-old toddler got cramps several times a day and fell into a coma. The doctors found that the boy was deficient in biotin due to insufficient biotinidase and administered 5 mg biotin and 25 mg vitamin B1 twice a day, leading to a full recovery within three days. The child could then be discharged.
Although the parents were instructed to continue giving the child biotin and vitamin B1 daily, the child was readmitted at the age of six. After not taking the substances for over six months, he had to return to the hospital, drooling, with severe neurological disorders and complete hair loss. There he was given an additional 10 mg of biotin and 50 mg of vitamin B1 twice a day for six months. After this period the child could walk and speak again and the hair on the scalp and eyebrows had grown back. Unfortunately, there was a partial hearing loss due to nerve damage that could have occurred during treatment interruption.
Studies have shown that valproic acid (VPA) used to treat epilepsy could disrupt mitochondria in the liver and inhibit the production of biotinidase, the enzyme needed to release biotin. The resulting lack of biotin causes hair loss and skin irritation. In a clinical study of 75 patients who had to take VPA, these symptoms improved after they were given a daily biotin dose of 10 mg as a dietary supplement.
Biotin and zinc are important protein carriers for certain micronutrients that are absorbed in the duodenum (duodenum) and the empty intestine around the trunk (proximal jejunum). In one case, it is reported how a 16-year-old patient developed biotin and zinc deficiency after partial removal of the pancreas, including the duodenum (pancreaticoduodenectomy), and suffered from numerous symptoms - including hair loss of the scalp hair and complete loss of body hair. The expectation, in this case, was that supplementing biotin and zinc would improve the clinical picture.
Even if it is assumed that biotin deficiency is relatively rare, certain nutritional conditions and health conditions can lead to an undersupply of biotin or to symptoms of deficiency.
The symptoms of biotin deficiency are very diverse because biotin plays a role in many different biochemical processes in the body. Clinical signs include:
Research results indicate that an undersupply of nutrients can lead to birth defects, but that these can be averted by the additional intake of vitamin supplements. In a study with a control group, the proportion of serious birth defects in women who had taken vitamin supplements before birth was 48% lower than in women who received a placebo.
Low biotin levels are also quite common in pregnant women - these occur in 30 to 50% of pregnancies. During pregnancy, the biotin level can drop quickly because the need for biotin is very high due to the rapid cell division of the fetus in the growth phase. Even if the effects of these low values do not cause any noticeable symptoms in the mothers, there is a considerable risk that birth defects will develop. In experiments with mice, an undersupply of biotin, which showed no symptoms in the pregnant mouse, resulted in cleft palate and/or limb abnormalities in the offspring in almost 100% of the cases.
In these studies, some scientists see a reason to conduct further clinical trials to determine the risk of birth defects in infants whose mothers were not adequately supplied with biotin during pregnancy without exhibiting clinically relevant symptoms. With 30 µg per day, the recommended intake of biotin in the USA is currently the same for non-pregnant and pregnant adult women.
Biotinidase deficiency is a recessive hereditary disease in which humans lack an enzyme that the body needs to release biotin from the protein to which it is chemically bound. As a result, there is not enough biotin available in the body. This hereditary disease can be fully or partially pronounced, depending on how high the biotin deficiency is.
The disease usually occurs between the ages of 10 months and 10 years. In some countries, testing for biotinidase deficiency is a routine check-up in newborns. The disease is said to be fully pronounced biotinidase deficiency if the activity of the biotinidase enzyme in the blood accounts for less than 10% of the activity in healthy people. One speaks of partial biotinidase deficiency with a value between 10 and 30%.
Most symptoms can be alleviated by taking 5 to 10 mg of biotin orally. This is quickly completely absorbed by the body. If a biotinidase deficiency is left untreated, affected children often experience some or all of the following symptoms:
Even if the symptoms caused by biotinidase deficiency are similar to those caused by other factors (e.g. malnutrition), these are not identical. Some of the neurological damage associated with biotinidase deficiency (e.g. irreversible hearing loss, vision problems) is not found in undersupplied biotin, due to non-inherited reasons or undersupplied with holocarboxylase synthetase Enzyme are produced.
Excessive biotin intake is not a hazard and very few, if any, biotin toxicity cases have been reported to date.
However, blood biotin levels can be affected if someone takes medication for seizures or oral antibiotics, or if that person has a known digestive disorder that disrupts normal intestinal bacteria levels.
Certain medications - including the skin medication isotretinoin (Accutane), which is prescribed for acne - can reduce the activity of biotin. High doses of other B vitamins such as pantothenic acid can also lower the biotin level in the body.
For all B vitamins, very high doses of vitamins from food supplements can affect the dosages of others. Therefore, it is always advised to take all B vitamins together with a vitamin B complex dietary supplement.
Biotin is generally considered safe and well-tolerated. Side effects are not known unless a dose of up to 10 mg/day is exceeded (there are some concerns about the safety of higher doses of biotin). Numerous medications, such as antibiotics, can cause a lack of biotin. Intake of biotin can cause inaccuracies in certain laboratory tests for thyroid function.
Although blood tests for determining the biotin content in plasma are not considered to be a suitable method for accurately determining the biotin supply in the body, urine tests are available with the aid of which the biotin supply can be determined with greater accuracy. Biotin can also be used against biotin-degrading side effects of certain epilepsy medications.
Since biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, there is no overdose. Any excess is excreted by the body through the kidneys. Therefore there is no recommended upper limit for the dosage.
As early as 2000, researchers at Harvard University suggested that biotin plays a crucial role in healthy hair. Biotin is one of the B vitamins that help maintain hair follicles. Studies in animals have shown that a lack of biotin has a negative effect on the regeneration of the cells from which hair follicles are formed.
Research suggests that one of the factors that make biotin so important for hair health could be its role in converting fatty acids. A lack of biotin messes up the fatty acid metabolism, which in turn is very likely to lead to hair loss. The biotin molecule also contains sulfur. The sulfur-based amino acid cystine is an important part of our hair.
Alopecia or hair loss can have a devastating effect on mental wellbeing. Even though it is often said that hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is caused by a condition and that this is a form of hair loss that mainly affects men, women are also often affected. The main difference between hereditary hair loss in men and women seems to be the course and severity of this condition.
The genes play a crucial role in the development of androgenetic alopecia. However, these are not the only cause. Hormone disorders, side effects of medication and a number of other pre-existing conditions can cause hair loss and diffuse hair loss (telogen effluvium). Diffuse hair loss can be a temporary disorder or a chronic course. An acute course can lead to androgenetic alopecia in some cases. Malnutrition, including low biotin, protein and/or calorie intake, can also cause both types of hair loss.
In current laboratory tests, in which biotin was used in combination with the tripeptide GHK, the hair length increased by 58% to 120%. At 58%, the growth from this biotinylated molecule corresponds to the effect of minoxidil. Seven out of nine study participants who suffered from hair loss (both plant-related androgenetic alopecia) and diffuse hair loss (telogenic effluvium) stated that their hair growth improved in a study of the effect of oral nutritional biotin intake on the health of their nails. These patients consumed 2.5 mg biotin daily. Experts believe that taking high doses of biotin (5 mg) can lead to further improvements in hair loss.
In addition to the oral administration of biotin-containing dietary supplements to reverse hair loss, products for local use are also available. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, many cosmetic and personal care products contain biotin. Most of these are products such as shampoos, conditioners, tonics, and other hair products. The rest is different makeup and skincare products. The biotin concentration in many of these care products ranges from just 0.0001% to 0.6%. Higher concentrations are usually found in the various care products for the face and neck (apart from shaving products).
Brittle nails are characterized by brittleness, cracks, grooves and abnormal thickening with layers that peel off. This occurs relatively frequently - around 20% of the population are affected, about twice as many women as men.
The strength and hardness of nails are primarily due to the high sulfur content, which stabilizes the fibrous keratin proteins in the nail plate. More than 75% of people with brittle nails have a lower sulfur content than healthy nails, while the concentration of other trace elements that are generally thought to be responsible for the strength of fingernails (e.g. calcium), has no significant differences. Lower levels of sulfur-based molecules are thought to be age-related, which could explain why brittle nails are more common in older people.
Factors that can impair the health of nail formation and/or damage the underlying nail structures and can lead to brittle nails:
Brittle nails are not just a cosmetic problem. In one study, more than 1,738 psoriasis patients reported suffering from pain associated with nail changes. Another study found that 75% of respondents complained of pain or discomfort when wearing shoes. This physical suffering has been shown to have a negative impact on people's self-esteem and quality of life.
The positive effects of biotin in treating horse hoof abnormalities have given rise to considerations of the potential benefits of the vitamin for people with brittle nails. Given the biochemical correspondence between horse hooves and human toenails and fingernails, these considerations were not without reason and a number of preliminary clinical studies suggest that biotin strengthens nails.
In addition, both vitamin B6 and biotin help the body produce keratin - the most abundant protein in nails. Biotin is also involved in the production of collagen and elastin, two proteins for a healthy skin structure under the nails.
Some experts believe that daily high doses of biotin (2.5 to 5 mg) can help improve nail health. A small number of clinical studies suggest that biotin may be effective as a dietary supplement for brittle nails.
A clinical study showed that taking biotin as a dietary supplement (2.5 mg/day) could strengthen brittle nails. The thickness of the nails was increased by 25% and cracks and breaks improved compared to the control group that was not treated with biotin. All participants in this 6 to 15 month study showed improvements in nail quality. In another study without a control group, in which biotin was taken over a period of 1.5 to 7 months, improvements in the nail structure were found in 67% of the participants.
The results of a clinical study published in 2006 demonstrate the therapeutic effects of biotin on brittle nails. The study included 54 (mostly female) patients with brittle, cracked, or soft nails that were divided into two groups - one receiving 2.5 mg biotin daily, the other a placebo. In this double-blind study, until the end of the study, neither the researchers nor the patients knew which group the patients belonged to. Although there were improvements in nail quality after three and six months within the initial six-month study period, the results were not statistically significant.
In another study with (mostly female) patients with brittle nails, 91% said they had firmer nails with fewer breaks and scrapes after taking 2.5 mg biotin per day. The remaining participants reported slight improvements. However, it took between three and almost eight months for improvements to appear - this is the approximate time it takes a nail to completely renew itself.
Biotin is an essential nutrient that keeps the skin healthy and can help the skin heal faster. With insufficient biotin supply, numerous skin diseases can occur, such as:
Research suggests that this may have something to do with the role of biotin in the synthesis of fatty acids. Biotin is required for the activation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase, an enzyme that contains the building blocks for fat production. An impaired fatty acid metabolism combined with a lack of biotin appears to be one of the main causes of skin problems.
Fats are needed to maintain cell function throughout the body. Skin cells are particularly dependent on fat production in the body, as they are exposed to external influences. They die quickly and therefore have to be constantly renewed. The first signs of a biotin deficiency on the skin often appear.
Supplementary doses of 1 to 10 mg biotin per day have been shown to heal most skin rashes, even in severe cases of seborrheic dermatitis.17 The condition of the skin of babies with seborrheic dermatitis from their mothers breastfeeding improved dramatically when malnourished mothers were injected with biotin or, in other cases, infants themselves were given biotin as a dietary supplement.52 However, these data are not informative, since biotin was found to be ineffective in a double-blind clinical study. This suggests that the cause of seborrheic dermatitis in infants is not always due to a lack of biotin.
It may be helpful to also take manganese with biotin to optimize the effect. Experts suspect that manganese can indirectly support the healing effects of biotin on certain skin diseases (e.g. psoriasis and acne). Biotin needs certain enzymes to work properly in the skin, and manganese helps to activate these enzymes.
Reports show that vitamin B supplements, including biotin, can improve wound healing. Results from a small clinical trial with a placebo control group that included periodontitis patients who had had access flap surgery support the positive effects of vitamin B. The 30 adults taking part were randomly assigned to one of the two test groups. Half received a vitamin B complex, the other half received a placebo. Among other things, the preparation contained 50 µg biotin.
Healing was assessed first at the start of treatment and then after a one-week, two-week, one-month, three-month and six-month interval. The healing was assessed based on bleeding when using probes, gum index (gingiva index), plaque index, the clinical attachment level and a BANA test for bacterial infections.
Although there were no significant differences between placebo and vitamin B groups for certain assessment criteria, the result of the test group at the clinical attachment level for flat and deep surgical wounds was significantly better. It can be concluded from this that vitamin B, including biotin, used after access flap surgery has above-average wound healing properties.