Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 and formerly known as vitamin H is a water-soluble vitamin. Biotin is required by the body to metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
It also plays an important role in strengthening the nails and hair and in enhancing overall skin health. Thus, it is a vital part of various cosmetic products that are used for skin and hair.
Biotin deficiency is rare, and one can get their dose of biotin by consuming biotin-rich foods regularly.
Health Benefits of Biotin (Vitamin B7)
Mentioned below are the evidence-based health benefits of biotin:
Biotin and Glycemic Control
A good glycemic control is a vital approach for reducing the complications of diabetes. Biotin helps in the management of diabetes by enhancing the secretion of insulin. This vitamin has a positive effect on beta-cells (producers of insulin) which in turn improves insulin function in muscles.
Biotin further reduces insulin resistance and boosts uptake of glucose by cells and muscles for energy. Biotin also regulates the expression of ‘glucokinase’, a glucose sensor that recognizes a rise in the blood glucose level and accordingly increases the release of insulin from the pancreas. This helps in improving glycemic control.
Blood-Pressure Lowering Role of Biotin
Biotin plays an important role in lowering high blood pressure. Treatment with biotin has shown to reduce systolic blood pressure.
It decreases the thickening of the arteries and ensures smooth blood flow all throughout the body. Hence, consuming biotin-rich foods might be beneficial for individuals with high blood pressure. (3)
Also Read: Ayurvedic Remedies for High Blood Pressure
Anti-Epileptic Potential of Biotin
Individuals with biotin deficiency caused by inborn metabolic disorders exhibit neurological symptoms such as seizures and visual and hearing problems. Treatment of such individuals with biotin lowers the frequency of seizures.
Another study showed that biotin levels were low in individuals (without biotinidase deficiency) who were on anti-epileptic drugs. Such a reduction in biotin levels can cause biotin deficiency. It was found that consumption of biotin rich sources reduces the risk of biotin deficiency and further decreases the side-effects of anti-epileptic drugs.
Treats Seborrheic Dermatitis
Studies have revealed the fact that biotin functions as a cure for seborrheic dermatitis, a condition of the skin in which scaly, red patches appear on the scalp. It was found that administration of biotin completely cleared skin lesions.
It helps the skin heal faster and promotes the growth of new skin cells. Fat is required to improve the health of skin cells. It keeps the skin plump, younger-looking and hydrated. Biotin enhances the metabolism of fatty acid and keeps skin problems at bay. (6)
Management of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease in which the protective covering of the nerves gets disrupted. This further has a negative impact on the brain and spinal cord.
Biotin has demonstrated promising positive effects in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Biotin activates carboxylase, an enzyme that helps in the synthesis of fatty acids. These fatty acids further repair the outer covering of the nerves.
Biotin also enhances energy production in neurons, which further improves the condition. (7)
Biotin is an all-rounder vitamin that plays various vital roles in the human body. This vitamin activates five enzymes that play a huge role in:
- Gluconeogenesis, formation of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources such as amino acids and glycerol
- Fatty acid metabolism where fats are broken down to release energy
- Amino acid metabolism in which amino acids are used for the purpose of energy
In other words, biotin plays an important role in balancing various body processes. Hence, it is essential to consume foods rich in biotin to maintain metabolic homeostasis. (8)
Relieves Muscle Cramps
Renal failure patients undergoing dialysis have muscle cramps very often. One interesting research has found that biotin possesses effective anti-cramp benefits.
It reduces the severity of muscle pain and sudden contraction of muscles. It enhances nerve function and improves blood circulation towards muscles. (9)
Lowers High Cholesterol Levels
It has been found that a combination of chromium and biotin reduces total and LDL (bad) cholesterol in individuals with altered lipid profile. A drop in the triglycerides was also observed in such individuals.
A greater effect was observed in clinical studies when individuals were treated with statins, drugs used to lower cholesterol as well as biotin. Getting enough biotin is important for individuals with high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. (10)
Improves Heart Health
Biotin is a heart-friendly vitamin because it protects the heart against inflammation, atherosclerosis, and stroke. It helps in controlling the risk factors for heart diseases such as high blood glucose level, altered lipid profile and high blood pressure.
It further reduces Atherogenic index, an important marker of cardiovascular diseases. Hence, biotin plays a crucial role in lowering the risk factors associated with heart diseases. (11)