The Beauty in Biotin
Biotin, also called vitamin B7, is an important component of enzymes that break down substances like fats and carbohydrates. There aren’t good laboratory tests for detecting biotin deficiency, so if you’re low on biotin your doctor will probably just guess that if he sees such things as thinning hair or hair that has sort of lost its color, brittle nails, or a red scaly rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, or genital area.
Our nervous system is also affected if we’re low on biotin and symptoms there can include depression, a lack of energy or exhaustion, tingling of the arms and legs, and in some cases even hallucinations. There is evidence that having diabetes can result in biotin deficiencies too.
Biotin is water soluble; whatever your body does not absorb is excreted through urination, and as a result it is considered safe to supplement even if you don’t know for sure you have a deficiency. There is a body of evidence indicating that biotin supplementation (sometimes only in conjunction with specific other products) can lower blood sugar levels in diabetics and can lower blood triglycerides. While those studies are fascinating and promising, most of us are taking biotin for beauty, and taking it in amounts that are sometimes surprising. When I heard people say they were taking 10,000 mcg per day I thought perhaps they’d misheard the recommendation of their health care providers so I did a bit of research myself on the safety of this vitamin.
The Mayo Clinic states: “No adverse side effects have been reported for taking biotin dosages of up to 10mg [10,000 mcg] per day.”
Dr Oz (that fellow on TV) suggests 2500 mcg per day just for pretty nails.
A study done by Biomed Pharmacother found that “oral biotin doses of up to 5,000 mcg a day for two years are not associated with adverse effects.”
The Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, Washington DC, states that people who have a hard time metabolizing biotin can take up to 200,000 mcg a day.
But back to beauty: some studies have shown that 91% of participants had their nails improve using biotin and other studies indicate that larger doses of biotin can treat and prevent hair loss. It’s been shown in some cases to speed up hair growth as well. Most results with hair are reported only after a daily (and regular) dose of 5000 mcg per day.
Most bacteria that normally colonize the small and large intestine synthesize biotin; but how many of us have the right bacteria in these days of chlorinated-city-water, antibiotic-infused-meat, and a steady diet of prescription and over-the-counter drugs? And how well we are absorbing biotin is still unknown. Biotin is found in some foods too, and those “evil” eggs we’ve been told to avoid for years are the highest source of it I know of except for liver. How much of that did you eat today? If my sources are correct, you’ll need about 200 eggs a day, or 20+ pounds of liver to get results for hair loss. No wonder biotin supplementation is one of the hottest trends in beauty these days! :D
Mona Sims, CNPA