Biotin is also known as vitamin B-7. Like other essential nutrients, it’s made by the bacteria that naturally occurs in the bowel.
Biotin forms fatty acids and glucose. It also helps metabolize carbohydrates and amino acids, and it aids in breaking down fat in your body. These functions make biotin an important part of creating the energy your body needs.
Biotin is found naturally in the body. It’s also found in many foods, including milk, carrots, salmon, and nuts. It can also be taken as a supplement if needed. The recommended daily amount is 30 micrograms. However, taking biotin supplements is not recommended unless suggested by your doctor.
Biotin provides an important source for creating energy as well as maintaining the function of your body as a whole. Like all vitamins, your body needs biotin to stay healthy. There are several systems that biotin helps keep healthy. Some of these include your liver, nervous system, hair, eyes, and more.
Biotin may be effective in treating certain medical conditions. Some of these conditions include:
- glucose control in obese patients with diabetes (when combined with chromium picolinate)
Some people believe that taking biotin supplements will improve your hair and nails. However, there is currently little medical evidence that this is true. More research is needed into this possible benefit of biotin.
While it’s available as a supplement, biotin is something you should only take if advised by your doctor. Most people get enough biotin through their regular diet.
Talk to your doctor about other medications you’re taking as well as any medical conditions you have before taking biotin. Vitamins and supplements can have a negative effect on some medications and medical conditions.
There are currently no known adverse side effects of biotin when taken as prescribed by a doctor or through normal dietary intake.
There are some cases where certain dietary or other habits have caused a deficiency of biotin. Studies have found that women who smoke can increase the metabolism of biotin in their bodies and cause a deficiency.
Another case showed that eating raw eggs — particularly the whites of the eggs — on a regular basis can also create a biotin deficiency. In this instance, the deficiency brought about a condition called biotin-responsive limb weakness. This condition mimics quadriplegia.
The regular consumption of raw egg whites was used in another research study that showed this caused a biotin deficiency as well.
Common symptoms of a biotin deficiency include:
- hair loss or thinning
- high cholesterol
- rash on the skin
- heart problems
Too much biotin is anything more than the recommended dosage. This recommended amount includes what you naturally get from foods.
There are cases that show negative effects on the health of some individuals who are taking large amounts of biotin supplements and getting too much biotin. The majority of people get enough biotin through a normal diet. You shouldn’t need to take biotin supplements unless directed by a doctor.
High amounts of biotin can create false positives in laboratory tests for thyroid disease.
Your body makes enough biotin on its own through your dietary intake each day. Therefore, you shouldn’t take biotin supplements unless directed by your doctor. There are some rare health conditions that can cause some people to need biotin supplements on a regular basis. This can be determined by a doctor.
Supplements are not monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for purity or safety, so it’s important to buy from a manufacturer that you trust.
There’s not enough research yet to determine all the side effects of taking too much biotin. However, there are case studies showing that some of the possible effects can be severe. If you feel like you need to take biotin supplements, you should always consult a doctor first.