What does it do?
Well, it's a water-soluble B-vitamin that helps you transform fat, protein and carbohydrates in your food into energy needed by the body.
Here's why you should ensure you’re getting enough of this essential vitamin, found in many nutrient-rich foods, including nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
To Strengthen Hair and Nails
Though there’s minimal research to support the effects on hair growth, there’s strong evidence to support a deficiency will cause hair loss.
Similarly, the vitamin also helps thicken nail cuticles and prevents breakage.
A number of hair care companies are now including this essential vitamin directly in their products though we suggest taking biotin orally for optimal results.
Thirty micrograms (mcg) a day is the adequate intake level listed for adults over the age of 19.
Improve the Health of your Skin
A deficiency can lead to a variety of skin problems including rashes, acne, psoriasis, dermatitis and overall itchiness.
B vitamins play a key role in the function of the nervous system and do affect hormone function, which suggests why depleting biotin levels can in turn play a significant role in skin health.
If your skin isn’t nourished from the inside out, toxicities will form throughout the nervous system and manifest itself on the skin’s surface.
This is one of the biggest signs that suggest a deficiency in biotin or vitamin-B.
Aids in Weight Loss
This vitamin plays a pivotal role in supporting metabolic function and works as a co-enzyme to help break down food, particularly carbohydrates.
This reaction is further accelerated when it's paired with chromium.
Your resting metabolic rate is elevated and food breaks down faster when consuming this essential vitamin, which is why there’s a link to biotin and accelerating weight loss.
However, research is still preliminary and in no way does this vitamin act as a weight loss pill.
It's still important to pair the supplement with a healthy diet and exercise regime to make sure you meet your slim-down goals.
The good news: biotin is widely available and can be found in many foods such chicken, soy, walnuts, whole grains, beans and legumes.
This essential vitamin has shown to play a role in lowering cholesterol, which when too high, can lead to heart disease including heart attack and stroke.
Preliminary research has shown it can help reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
It’s important to note that raw eggs can inhibit the absorption of this vitamin so if you’re drinking a raw egg shake or eat raw eggs in food, beware that it can reduce the amount of biotin you’re metabolizing.
Regulate Blood Sugar
Intake of this vitamin has been associated with helping to fight and preventing diabetes, particularly type 2.
Pairing it with chromium has been show to have an even greater effect.
A study conducted at the Alpha Therapy Center in Corpus Christi, Texas found that, “a chromium picolinate/biotin combination…can improve glycaemic control in overweight to obese individuals with type 2 diabetes; especially those patients with poor glycaemic control on oral therapy.”
Another study found that, “A deficiency has been linked to impaired glucose tolerance and decreased utilization of glucose.”
What are the best food sources?
It's found in a wide variety of natural foods.
Egg yolk, liver, wheat bran and Swiss chard are rich sources.
Generally, the more processed a food, the lower its content of this nutrient.
Bottom line: To meet your recommended intake, choose whole foods more often.
What happens if you don’t get enough?
In people consuming a healthy diet, this type of deficiency is rare.
However, deficiencies have been reported in patients on tube feedings or in individuals who consume raw egg whites over a long period of time (e.g., athletes consuming large volumes of raw-egg protein shakes).
Symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, depression, weakness, fatigue, scaly dermatitis and loss of hair.
What happens if you get too much?
Thus far, no ill effects have been reported by humans eating large amounts of this soluble B-vitamin.
However, studies have not specifically looked at the harmful effects of excess intake, so stick with the recommended intake level.
It'll give you all that you need.
And, here's a recipe to up your intake;
Mediterranean Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is one of the most nutrient-rich foods and so easy to prepare.
It's also an excellent way to increase your intake of biotin.
It's a great complement to almost any meal.
Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes
2 large bunches chopped Swiss chard
1 medium clove garlic, pressed
1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil to taste
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Press garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to bring out its health-promoting properties.
Bring lightly salted water to a rapid boil in a large pot.
Cut off tough bottom part of stems.
Add the chopped leaves to the boiling water and simmer for only 3 minutes, until tender.
Strain through colander and press out excess water.
Toss with rest of ingredients.
Make sure you don't toss chard with dressing until you are ready to serve.
Otherwise the flavor will become diluted.
Makes 2 ServingsTweet
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