Biotin, more commonly known as Vitamin H by skin specialists, is one of the group of B complex vitamins that help the body convert food into energy. It is credited with playing a role in healthy hair and scalp.. we investigate.
What Is Biotin
The word itself speaks to an old understanding of it's properties, the name is taken from the ancient Greek word "Biotis" meaning "life" or "sustenance". B vitamins in general, but Biotin in particular, play a vital role in regulating blood sugar. They are also attributed with promoting healthy hair skin and nails as well as making sure mothers give birth to healthy babies. You could quite rightly call them busy
For insulin dependent people with Type 1 Diabetes, regulating blood sugar levels is a problem. Biotin converts glucose into fatty acids and there is evidence this can help lower blood sugar.
Biotin suffers from a lack of research into it's functions and benefits. One of the few research papers, from the Journal of Nutrition in 2009, published on it's effects looked at it's importance in pregnancy. Mice with low Biotin levels gave birth to babies with birth defects, some of them severe. It was noted in the research that many pregnant women tested as low on Biotin and the report recommended that it was prescribed along with Folic Acid as a beneficial to all women during pregnancy.
Where To Find Biotin
The good news is that if you are already eating a healthy diet you are almost certainly getting the recommended amount of daily Biotin, between 30 and 100 mcg per day. Since Biotin is a water soluble vitamin there is no fear of overdosing, you will simply pass any extra that is not required. This means there is no harm in seeking out more and ensuring enough is being had.
Biotin is found in a wide array of foods with something for just about everyone. Egg yolks and organ meats like liver and kidney provide large quantities. It is also present in soybeans, legumes and whole grains. Bananas, mushrooms and cauliflowers are other popular foods that will help tick your Biotin box.
How Important Is It?
The fact is little research has been done on the link between hair loss and Biotin. That said, there is plenty of anecdotal and theoretical science that indicates a strong relationship. We would suggest that the evidence of it's potency during pregnancy, added to the ever improving depth of understanding of how these systems work suggests it is sensible to ensure you are getting enough.