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Biotin

Overview

Biotin is also known as Vitamin H, Vitamin B2 and Coenzyme R. It’s a water soluble B-complex vitamin that plays a major role in the metabolism of fats, proteins and glucose. Biotin is essential for healthy cell growth, and is often recommended for hair, nail and skin conditions. A considerable amount of research suggests that biotin plays a role in regulating the sugar supply in the blood.

 

Biotin was first identified as an essential human nutrient in 1936, but it was not identified as a vitamin until the mid-1970s. While true biotin deficiency is rare in healthy adults, there are many conditions that seem to be associated with lowered levels of biotin. The most commonly reported of those conditions is Type 2 diabetes. Research hasn’t determined whether the lowered levels of biotin are a cause of the disease or an effect, but it has led to research that has identified biotin as a catalyst in the process of metabolizing glucose and helping to maintain blood sugar levels.

 

Certain hereditary disorders can lead to an overt deficiency of biotin, resulting in brittle nails, dull hair that breaks easily and hair loss, depression, lethargy, hallucination, numbness and tingling of the extremities, seborrhea and facial rash. In addition, people suffering from biotin deficiency show evidence of a compromised immune system and a susceptibility to bacterial and fungal infections.

 

What Biotin Does

Biotin acts in at least four separate essential bodily functions. It is vital for the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates (including glucose). Specifically:

·        Biotin catalyzes an essential step in the synthesis of fatty acids

·        Biotin is a critical enzyme in glucogenesis, the process by which the body forms glucose from non-carbohydrates

·        Biotin is the catalyst for a step in the metabolism of leucine, one of the essential amino acids.

·        Biotin also catalyzes the metabolism of other amino acids, cholesterol and some essential fatty acids

Health Benefits of Biotin

The symptoms of overt (severe) biotin deficiency are suggestive of conditions that may arise from sub-clinical deficiencies of this very important vitamin. Over the years, biotin has been prescribed for treatment of skin rashes, including seborrhea, hair loss and brittle nails. It’s often included in cosmetic preparations for the nails and hair, but there are far more important health benefits of biotin.

 

Helps regulate blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes

A number of studies have confirmed the role that biotin plays in regulating blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. In one, Japanese researchers supplemented the diets of 18 adults with Type 2 diabetes with 9000 mcg of biotin daily. At the end of 30 days, their blood sugar levels regularly tested at half their pre-study levels. The results were confirmed in a Florida study using significantly less biotin – just 3000 mcg daily. The RDA for biotin, for the record, is 300 mcg, which lends more credence to the theory that the recommended daily allowance of biotin is a bare minimum to prevent biotin deficiency. Your body may actually need considerably more to function at optimal levels.

 

Produces healthy hair and prevents graying and balding

Hair and nails are almost entirely protein, and biotin is essential for metabolizing protein. There’s a long history of biotin being prescribed to treat hair, nails and skin conditions.

 

Boosts normal health of sweat glands, nerve tissue, bone marrow, male sex glands and blood cells

Again, because biotin is an essential catalyst in the processes that repair and rebuild cells in all body systems, biotin is essential for the healthy creation and maintenance of nerves, bones, blood and glands.

 

Recommended Daily Intake of Biotin

  • Children 1-3 years – 8 mcg

  • Children 4-8 years – 12 mcg

  • Children 9-13 years – 20 mcg

  • Males 14-18 – 25 mcg

  • Females 14-18 – 25 mcg

  • Males 19+ - 30 mcg

  • Females 19+ - 30 mcg

  • Pregnant females – 30 mcg

  • Lactating females – 35 mcg

 

Food Sources of Biotin

Liver is the best source of biotin, but it can also be found in smaller amounts in red meats and in yeast, wheat germ, raspberries, egg yolk, bran, avocado, cauliflower, artichoke and some aged cheeses (notably camembert).

 

Biotin Deficiency

A deficiency of biotin will result in compromising the bodily processes that metabolize foods, build protein (of which muscles and organs are made) and other healthy cells. As a ‘micronutrient’, the body only needs minute amounts of biotin to continue functioning, but there has been little research done to establish the amount of biotin needed for optimal functioning.

 

Biotin Toxicity

There have been no reported adverse side effects linked to taking biotin, even in doses as high as 30 times the RDA. It is recommended however, that those with Type 2 diabetes consult their doctors if taking high doses of biotin to monitor blood glucose and insulin levels. Because biotin affects the metabolism of glucose, insulin levels may need to be adjusted.

 

Supplementing with Biotin

Unless you are being treated for a specific illness, a separate biotin supplement isn’t necessary. Instead, most health professionals recommend a balanced multi-nutrient supplement formula that contains biotin along with other micronutrients that your body requires.

 

Of the various formulations studied, we most highly recommend Total Balance, a balanced multi-nutrient health supplement from Xtend-Life Products. Xtend-Life researchers carefully balance all ingredients in all of their supplements for synergistic compatibility to ensure that your body receives the full benefit of each ingredient. The concept of synergistic balance is especially important with an ingredient like biotin, whose major benefit is in the way that it interacts with other essential nutrients. The recommended daily dosage of Total Balance provides 500 mcg of biotin, along with a full complement of enzymes, coenzymes and other micronutrients that your body needs for total health.

 

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