Ask most people what biotin is and if they are getting enough of it in their diet and they’re likely to give you a blank stare. You may run into some women who recognize the word from the back of their shampoo bottle. But most people simply don’t know about biotin or how important it is for your health.
Biotin, sometimes called B-7, is actually one of the B complex vitamins, a group of vitamins responsible for breaking down fat and carbohydrates from the foods you eat and turning them into energy. But that’s not all it does…
Biotin also promotes skin health and helps regulate your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and blood sugar. And the vitamin is necessary to produce keratin, a protein that promotes strong hair and nails.
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it is not stored in the body for long. And your body does not naturally produce it. The bacteria in your gut can produce biotin, but seeing as most of us are walking around with compromised gut flora, we can’t rely on them to do the job. We’ve got to make sure we find other sources of biotin for optimal health.
Symptoms of a Biotin Deficiency
If you are someone that eats a healthy diet consisting of whole foods, you most likely aren’t deficient in biotin. But if you are someone who eats a diet made up of mostly processed “food,” then there is a very good chance you are deficient in this important vitamin.
Here are the most common symptoms of a biotin deficiency:
- red rashes on the skin, especially the face
- dry or scaly skin
- dry eyes
- brittle hair
- hair loss
- insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- loss of appetite
- burning or prickling sensation in the hands and feet
- muscle pain
- changes in the intestinal tract (frequent upset stomach)
- cracking in the corners of the mouth
- difficulty walking
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and want to see if you have a biotin deficiency, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she will order a blood test to check your levels.
What Causes a Biotin Deficiency?
A biotin deficiency is usually attributed to one of the following:
Medications such as anti-seizure drugs and antibiotics can prevent your body from absorbing vitamins correctly. Also, antibiotics destroy the good bacteria in your gut that can naturally produce biotin on your behalf.
- Intestinal Issues
Certain intestinal conditions such as colitis and Crohn’s disease may also prevent your body from absorbing nutrients from food.
- Long-Term or Restrictive Dieting
Strict eating may prevent you from getting the nutrients you need to maintain good health. Eating a well-balanced diet is necessary to ensure you get all of the macro nutrients as well as vitamins and minerals your body needs.
How to Get More Biotin into Your Diet
It is recommended that an adult should aim to consume 30 micrograms (mcg) of biotin per day. Getting this vitamin from food sources is quite easy. Here are some common foods that contain large amounts of biotin.
- cooked eggs, especially egg yolk
- organ meats, including liver and kidney
- dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt
Biotin is also available in supplement form. If we can throw our hat into the ring, we suggest taking our Golden Royal Honey. It not only contains important biotin but also other important nutrients like royal jelly and Panax ginseng, which help with everything from anxiety issues, energy, loss of libido and impotence.