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What is biotin?

In short, biotin (also known as vitamin B7) is a B-complex vitamin. The name ‘biotin’ comes from the Greek word ‘bios’. “Bios” translates to “life” or “subsistence,” which makes sense when you consider how vitamins support metabolism and cellular function. Biotin, also known as vitamin H, is one of the B-complex vitamins that helps the body convert food into energy.

Unlike other vitamins, biotin does not occur naturally in the human body. Instead, it is a water-soluble vitamin found in many foods, including egg yolks, milk, nuts, cereals, and supplements. Also, since it's water-soluble, it doesn't stay around for very long. Therefore, it needs to be replenished, and in some cases needs to be replenished.

What does biotin do?

Biotin is more than just a beauty agent; it is an integral part of a healthy diet. Biotin is an essential vitamin, which means your body needs this micronutrient to function properly. Biotin is a cofactor for important carboxylase enzymes that catalyze key steps in the metabolism of fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids. Basically the biotin you get in your food helps your body convert the food you eat—protein, carbohydrates, and fat—into energy. In addition, biotin plays a key role in histone modification, gene regulation, and cell signaling.

How does biotin work?

Now that you know more about B vitamins and how they support overall health, it's time to learn more about their beauty benefits. You're most likely familiar with biotin because of its purported effects on hair and nail growth. Here's what you need to know about the benefits of biotin for hair, skin and nails:

Hair Biotin

First of all, biotin does help with hair health, and yes, it can promote hair growth by strengthening hair follicles. Because of this, you may see it on the ingredient list of many hair supplements. But it's not a magic bullet and often works best when paired with supplementary ingredients. Scientific data supporting the use of biotin to improve hair loss in healthy individuals is very limited. Most publications on biotin for hair loss are limited cases or small case reports.

So, what about biotin in your favorite hair care products? Topically applied biotin in products such as shampoo and conditioner can help enhance scalp health by repairing broken skin, improving rashes, and providing moisturizing and smoothing effects.

Like ingestible biotin, topical biotin often works best when paired with other powerful ingredients. For men with male pattern baldness, a recent study demonstrated clinical efficacy of topical biotin in combination with ingredients such as minoxidil, finasteride, and caffeine citrate. And, if you're worried about split ends, topical biotin can improve the durability and quality of your hair by minimizing split ends and breakage.

Biotin for nails

If you have ever taken biotin supplements, you may have noticed that your nails suddenly become longer and stronger. Keratin is one of the main proteins that make up hair and nails, as it lines the internal organs and provides structure to many glands. Biotin helps metabolize the amino acids used to build proteins, like, you guessed it, keratin. Since keratin is one of the main components of hair and nails, this means biotin is important for keeping hair and nails healthy and strong.

Skin Biotin

Biotin is not an ingredient in topical skin care products. Biotin in the diet is beneficial to the skin. The enzyme relies on biotin to function, and the vitamin is important for energy production as it helps form fatty acids that nourish the skin. More research is needed to support these claims in healthy individuals. So while vitamin B7 may not be taken specifically for skin benefits, vitamin B7 deficiency may affect skin tone.

Suitable candidates for biotin

Biotin deficiency is fairly rare because the vitamin is easily found in food. Nonetheless, it can cause hair loss, rashes, and neuromuscular disorders, and some groups may be more susceptible. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are more likely to be deficient in biotin, with symptoms including brittle nails, hair loss and rashes.

If you are interested in adding a biotin supplement to your health routine, it is recommended that you first consult with your primary care physician. Biotin supplementation can interfere with laboratory test results for heart, thyroid, and hormone tests. Also, it’s worth noting that certain B vitamins can exacerbate acne. Dr. Spizzocco warns that those with acne-prone skin may be at risk of worsening their condition if they decide to take this supplement.

How to add biotin to your daily life

It doesn’t take much effort to add topical biotin to your hair care routine. Just find a product you like and let the vitamins do their work. However, those who want to increase their biotin intake through supplementation should look for specific formulas and follow necessary dietary guidelines. There is nothing to worry about. However, when ingested, certain foods and certain medications may block absorption. If you are concerned that this may affect your current daily life, it is best to talk to your provider first.

As we mentioned, vitamin B7 is a fairly common ingredient in most balanced diets, and you can try increasing your intake in certain foods. These include:

  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Cooked eggs
  • Nuts
  • Nut Cream

It is also found in beans, soybeans, black-eyed peas, whole grains, bananas, mushrooms, leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and liver.

How to find the right biotin product

Biotin can be applied topically to treat hair from root to tip, but there are some tips to be aware of. Look for a supplement that has a generous serving size in the bottle and is designated as non-GMO and allergen-free.

Just like skin care, certain ingredients work well together, and the same goes for biotin. It is recommended to look for biotin supplements that contain collagen and vitamin C to enhance the benefits for hair, nails, and skin. Collagen and biotin naturally work together to provide a powerful combination of vitamins and proteins to improve hair loss, brittle nails, and skin appearance. Biotin also promotes collagen absorption and production. Collagen tablets are specially formulated with Vitamin C and Biotin for better absorption and increased beauty benefits.

If you are a healthy person eating a balanced diet, then you are likely getting all the biotin you need every day. The water-soluble vitamin is an important component of metabolism and cell function, which partly explains its cosmetic benefits for hair, nails, and skin. While you may be tempted to click "add to cart" to buy a biotin supplement, be sure to talk to your PCP or dermatologist first. The bottom line is that there is still a lot of research to be done.

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