If you’re looking to improve the quality of your skin, hair and nails, you may have heard people extolling the virtues of biotin. But what exactly is biotin, and what role does it play? The short story: biotin is a vitamin, and an essential one. It’s part of the family of B vitamins (which we know are great for our health, energy levels and mood). Biotin is thought to contribute to strong, healthy nails, hair and skin. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll see that biotin also plays a vital role in our whole system.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is a part of the B complex family of vitamins. B vitamins are crucial to our overall well-being. They help with physical and emotional health. Feeling frazzled? You may just be deficient in B vitamins.
Thankfully, it’s rare to be deficient in biotin. We only need small amounts as a daily requirement and it’s readily available in the average diet. Biotin deficiency is seen in conditions like celiac disease and sometimes in pregnancy. And when there is a deficiency, it will show up as dry, scaly skin, hair loss, brittle nails, and a number of other issues.
Biotin is key for keeping our metabolic, nervous, and digestive system healthy. Known as vitamin B7, or vitamin H, biotin is responsible for converting food into energy. Our metabolism needs biotin for top level functioning. And besides being a supporting player to the heavy hitters of our system, it also promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Where do I get my Biotin?
Biotin is found in a wide variety of foods. The biotin in our diets typically comes from things like eggs, organ meats, soy, nuts, walnuts, whole grains, beans and legumes, cauliflower, and bananas.
Gut Health & Biotin
Digging into the role of biotin becomes even more interesting when you learn how it behaves in our little microbiome. Our gut is host to an amazing variety of bacteria. And in terms of your energy levels, mood and even your weight, they’re kind of running the show.
Not to get too black and white, but you can think of your gut bacteria in terms of good and bad. And both are needed for optimal gut health. In the world of the gut, balance is key. An imbalance means that the ‘bad’ bacteria outnumber the ‘good’ bacteria, and that’s when things go off the rails. Lifestyle factors like, lack of sleep, too much processed foods, sugars and even chronic stress can throw your whole system out of whack.
And when it comes to biotin in the gut, there is an interesting symbiotic relationship. You see, biotin is actually produced by gut bacteria. It’s also consumed by bacteria in the large intestine. In terms of biotin levels, balance really is key. One more reason to take charge of your gut health!
Top 6 Benefits of Biotin
1. Clear, Healthy Skin
In search of clear, glowing skin? While we know that people rely on supplements like collagen for skin health, biotin also has a role to play. While there isn’t currently enough research to suggest that taking biotin helps with skin health, the benefits can be inferred as biotin deficiency results in a number of skin issues including cracking skin on the sides of the mouth, rashes and cradle cap.
2. Good Hair Days
Biotin is often suggested as a supplement to improve the health of hair. In fact, biotin has been shown effective at helping with hair growth in women with thinning hair. A biotin deficiency has been directly linked to alopecia. Alopecia is a condition where the immune system goes haywire and attacks itself, resulting in temporary or permanent hair loss. Scientists have experimented with the production of gut bacteria that produce biotin and have linked it to hair loss (in mice).
3. Strong Nails
Nails feeling a little … fragile? Biotin can help. A recent study showed that biotin supplementation was effective in 91% of the participants to growing healthy, strong nails. Studies have also shown that women with brittle fingernails who supplemented with biotin experienced less fingernail splitting and an increase in thickness of their nail plates.
4. High Achiever Metabolism
The real heavy lifting of biotin comes from its key functions in metabolic processes. Biotin is an essential cofactor for a number of different metabolic processes, meaning it’s key in producing the energy we need. Not only does it break down fats, carbs and proteins, it’s also a key player in the formation of fatty acids and glucose. And speaking of metabolic functions … biotin seems to be playing a role in metabolic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes. When combined with chromium, biotin appears to lower blood glucose in people living with the disease.
5. Robust Immune System
Biotin plays a starring role in your immune system. It’s key in the production of white blood cells. White blood cells can be thought of as the defense mechanism in our body. Come into contact with bacteria or a virus? You want your white blood cell count in tip top shape to fight it off. Combine that with the fact that a healthy microbiome produces biotin,
6. Brain Function
Biotin is needed for myelin sheath production. Our myelin sheath covers our nerves, and assists with neurotransmitter activity and cognitive function. And when all systems are firing on all fronts? You’re unstoppable.
Now that we’re all schooled on the benefits of biotin, we know that making sure it’s available to our system is key for the health of our skin, hair, nails and major processes like metabolism and more.
But how to make sure you’re getting enough biotin? Besides eating a balanced diet and paying careful attention to your gut health, you can also find it as a supplement. Sproos Up Your Skin and Hair contains biotin as one of its superstar active ingredients. Add it to your water for a delicious, sugar free way to get your daily dose of collagen and biotin.