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What is Biotin?

Posted on August 07 2020

What is Biotin?

It’s well known as a ‘beauty’ supplement, but what is Biotin exactly, and what does it do? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Biotin?

Biotin belongs to the B complex family of vitamins, sometimes known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H. Your body stores most biotin in your liver, and it’s a water-soluble vitamin so you’ll get rid of any excess in your urine. But biotin is absorbed in your small intestine and the bacteria that live in your gut can produce a very small amount.

What does Biotin do?

Biotin is needed to process the nutrients from your food and support the enzymes that break down fats, protein, and carbohydrates, to turn them into energy. But biotin is more widely known for maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails. Biotin helps to create amino acids that produce a form of keratin, which is what your hair, skin and nails are mostly made of.

Together with other B vitamins, biotin also supports normal nervous system function, by helping to activate key enzymes that carry out crucial functions in your body. Increasing evidence also shows that biotin plays an important role in gene regulation.1 This is the process of turning genes on and off, which in turn coordinates cell activity throughout your body.

Am I getting enough Biotin?

Most people can typically get enough from eating a varied diet, and biotin deficiencies are rare. However, certain medications or conditions can prevent your body from absorbing nutrients effectively. If deficiency does occur, symptoms can include dry or flaky skin, rashes, hair thinning, tiredness or muscle pain.

What to remember

While much of the interest in Biotin is about what it does for your hair, skin and nails, it can do even more for your body on the inside too. This essential nutrient is vital for a healthy nervous system and proper cell function. Most people can get enough biotin by eating a balanced diet, and it’s also available in supplement form if you need a boost.