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What is it and where does it come from?

The discovery of biotin can be traced as far back as the 1930s through a scientific research study where rats were fed raw egg whites for a few weeks resulting in the development of flaky skin and tremendous Hair Loss. The dilemma was resolved in the next decade when a new addition to the B complex vitamins was discovered which became known as biotin.

Also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, it can be found in trace amounts in a variety of food groups. It is a water-soluble vitamin which serves as a coenzyme in breaking down fatty acids. It can also come from intestinal bacteria. Recently, the market has been offering dietary biotin supplements.

This vitamin is known to prevent and treat biotin deficiency due to certain medical conditions as pregnancy, malnutrition and irregular weight drop. It is also known for treating hair loss, weak nails, diabetes and even depression. However, if one is following a well-balanced diet, the likelihood of deficiency is minimal because this vitamin is usually found in meat and poultry products as well as in some fruits like dates, strawberries, watermelon, and even in mushrooms, liver and yeast.

How does it work in the cellular level?

Generally, enzymes speed up metabolic reactions and are therefore indispensable in metabolism. Because biotin is an enzyme, it has a crucial contribution in the overall biochemistry of humans. It is critical in the metabolism of proteins and the breakdown of fatty acids, carbohydrates and other similar components. It has an important role in the citric acid cycle which refers to the process whereby the production of biochemical energy is made possible in aerobic respiration. Likewise, this vitamin is well known for its ability to act as carrier of carbon dioxide where it transfers CO2 during gluconeogenesis and has therefore been found to lower blood sugar levels. It is also responsible in promoting normal functions of bone marrow, sweat glands, nerve tissues and blood cells.

How does it work in the physical level?

Sufficient supply of enzymes in the body results to more supple, more moisturized skin, healthier nails and hair. Poor nail conditions are characterized by splitting, cracking and drying and may be reduced if biotin supplements are taken. It is also known to delay the growth of white or grey hair and treat a skin disease normally found in babies called seborrhea. Because it helps break down fats, carbohydrates and amino acids, it has also been tapped to aid in weight loss for more effective metabolism.

It is highly recommended for people involved in strenuous body workouts because of its ability to aid in the production and release of energy. Considering that its excretion is through urination, ample supply should be ingested on a regular basis.

How safe is it?

This enzyme is generally safe if taken in normal dosages. However, care must be taken when administering it to patients with special health conditions such as pregnancy and lactation, as well as those known to suffer from liver and renal failures.

What are the usual deficiency symptoms?

Thinning of hair, dry and flaky scalp, eczema, fungal infections, alopecia, brittle nails and skin rashes are the most common symptoms of deficiency. However, since it is readily available in most food groups and produced in the intestine, the possibility of biotin deficiency is nil. Should deficiency be detected, proper medical intervention should be sought since this condition is fatal.

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