Biotin, also known as vitamin H, is a combination of a B vitamin and a coenzyme. It is often used for hair growth, hardening brittle nails, and sometimes even diabetes.
Biotin is an essential vitamin used by the body to support many of its systems, including the integumentary system, digestive system, and the nervous system. There is also evidence that it plays a role in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
As far as the nervous system is concerned, biotin can help to treat certain pathologies of this system. For example, people who suffer from kidney failure or diabetes may subsequently suffer from peripheral neuropathy. For these people, biotin may be a beneficial supplement to slow the progression of the disease.
Another condition that biotin is beneficial for is type 2 diabetes. If the supplement is taken alone, it can decrease insulin resistance that is found in people with diabetes. It can also help to slow down the advancement of peripheral neuropathy that may coincide with the diabetes, as mentioned above. However, if biotin is taken in combination with chromium, it may even improve one’s blood sugar.
Although biotin can be taken as a supplement, for most people the amount of biotin they absorb naturally from their food is adequate for their body’s needs; the body even has the ability to recycle the biotin it already has.
The biotin in foods is usually attached to the proteins in that food. Some foods that contain biotin are whole wheat breads, nuts, eggs, salmon, chicken, etc. Since many of these foods are regularly eaten by many people, most people do not have a deficiency in this vitamin.
However, if you have a deficiency, you are pregnant, or you have diabetes, a supplement may be required in order to maintain the required levels of biotin in your body. For example, adults are recommended to take in about 30mcg of biotin daily, but a diabetic may be prescribed a higher dose, up to 2mg daily instead.
There is known known level of biotin at which it is no longer deemed safe; actually, this vitamin is usually tolerated by the body well at high levels. Despite there being no known health risks, if you are pregnant or a child you should not take biotin supplements without taking with you doctor first.
There are some drugs that may interact with biotin. One of which is cholesterol medication, which can be weakened when taken with the supplement. On the other hand, some medications like antibiotics and acne medications can lower the biotin levels in your body.
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Research done by Jessica L. Silvestri