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Biotin: What Is It, What Does It Do & Food Sources

June 2021

Biotin, also known as vitamin H or vitamin B7, is a water soluble vitamin that is essential for the body, as it is linked to the production of glycogen and proteins, which means it's important for keeping your skin and hair healthy, guaranteeing cell energy, and maintaining protein production.

This vitamin can be found naturally in foods such as almonds, hazelnuts and whole grains, but you can also buy it in capsule form as a food supplement that can be prescribed by your doctor or nutritionist if you are not getting the necessary amounts through your diet.

Biotin: What Is It, What Does It Do & Food Sources

What does it do

Biotin is an essential vitamin that has many benefits, such as:

  • Being an energy source for cells, since it's essential for the production of glycogen, which also helps regulate glucose levels;
  • Stimulating the production of proteins, as it aids in the formation of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins;
  • Strengthening hair and nails, since it guarantees the production of proteins that are essential for healthy nails and hair;
  • Promoting skin health, because it ensures the body produces collagen and keratin, which are essential proteins to guarantee skin elasticity and resistance;
  • Increasing the reabsorption of vitamins B12, B5 and folic acid, which help to maintain optimal body functions;
  • Helping form blood cells, especially lymphocytes and antibodies.

In addition, biotin can also help keep the nervous system healthy, help in the treatment of acne and hair loss and control cholesterol levels.

Best food sources of biotin 

Biotin can be found in foods such as peanuts, almonds, chestnuts, wheat, boiled eggs, mushrooms, whole grains and hazelnuts. In addition, biotin is also produced by the gut flora, and so it is recommended to have a fiber rich diet and drink at least 6 cups (1.5 L) of water a day, to help keep the bowels healthy and encourage biotin production. Learn how you can have a fiber rich diet.

In addiction to being found naturally in some foods, biotin can also be bought as a food supplement in capsule form, which are usually prescribed if you're not getting enough biotin through your diet, or if you show signs of biotin deficiency such as hair loss, weak nails, loss of appetite, and fatigue.

Biotin supplement dosage

There is no specific recommendation regarding the dosage of biotin, as it depends on the cause.

Therefore, the best thing is to follow doctor or nutritionist recommendations, who will know the best dose for each case, as the dose recommended may vary according to the formula, as well as the time period. 

Who should avoid taking biotin supplements

Biotin supplements should not be used by people who are hypersensitive to any of the component present in the formula. Biotin supplements should also be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women, unless recommended by a doctor. 

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