Biotin, an important B vitamin

Potential Benefits for the Hair, Skin and Nails 

Biotin is one of the water-soluble B vitamins, that is also known as vitamin H or vitamin B7. Biotin is found in foods such as eggs, meat, walnuts, almonds and peanuts; soybeans and legumes, whole grains, cauliflower, mushrooms and bananas. 

The human body requires biotin for the health of the skin, hair and nails. It is used as an essential cofactor for carboxylase enzymes in various metabolic pathways in the body to assist in converting other nutrients into energy. It is also an essential regulator of gene expression. It is understood that biotin has a role in keratin infrastructure (a matrix of protein found in the skin, hair and nails). 

There is a limited amount of research on biotin’s effects on hair, skin and nails. A systemic review was performed on Biotin research, in regards to hair and nail growth (Patel DP et al, 2017). There were 18 cases reported of clinical improvements of biotin on hair and nails in individuals that had problems with their hair and nail growth. 

There were 2 studies that included biotin in a formula that showed improvements in hair growth and reduced shedding. (Ablon G, 2015; Ablon G, 2012). The 2015 study was performed for 3 months with women who had hair that was thinning. They were provided with a marine protein supplement that contained biotin and zinc or a placebo pill twice a day (Ablon G, 2015). Digital images were taken of the particular areas of the scalp before and after supplementation. Those women taking the supplement with biotin had a significant amount of hair growth in the areas affected and less hair shedding. 

Biotin and Zinc 

Research shows that Biotin is associated with zinc levels in the body, although it is not clearly understood. Animal research has demonstrated that those with biotin deficiency also showed reduced serum zinc levels, loss of important epidermal Langerhans cells, and greater production of necessary ATP in the skin. Skin conditions were significantly enhanced and lasted longer in the biotin deficient animals (Ogawa Y et al, 2019). It has been suggested that biotin in combination with zinc may be beneficial for hair growth. It is important to review the research on doses since high levels of zinc may not be safe. 

As with any dietary supplements, one should check with their health care provider if they have any health conditions and or are taking prescription medication.

In summary, biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that is found in foods such as eggs, meat, walnuts and other foods. The body requires biotin for the skin, hair and nails. It is an important cofactor in metabolic pathways to help convert other nutrients into energy. Biotin has been studied with a marine protein to help increase hair growth, but the research on biotin alone is limited. It may be beneficial to take biotin and zinc together since it appears that when biotin is low there is also a zinc deficiency. 

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is not for advertising purposes. 

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