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What is Biotin?
Biotin is one of the thirteen essential vitamins, and also one of the eight B vitamins, Vitamin B7 or also known as Vitamin H. Essential vitamins need to be present in the diet because the human body cannot make the nutrients on its own, or in sufficient amounts to sustain normal and healthy bodily functions.1 Biotin is considered an essential vitamin due to its many physiological health benefits, and along with being essential it is also water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin C and the eight B vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored in the liver or fatty-tissue like with fat-soluble vitamins.1 Since water-soluble vitamins are easily flushed out of the body it is uncommon to develop toxic side effects.
Benefits of Biotin – There are many
Biotin acts as a coenzyme and is involved in chemical reactions that require biotin demanding enzymes, such as the conversion of food into ATP or energy production.1 For example, biotin plays a role in a reaction called gluconeogenesis which makes glucose when carbohydrate intake is insufficient, and the citric acid cycle which releases energy from the body’s stores.1 Without biotin the body would struggle to find fuel when dietary intake is low.1
Biotin also is valuable to cellular health, such as cell growth and development, and gene function.1
Biotin is popularly known for possibly having beneficial effects on hair, skin, and nail health, accordingly, this nutrient is commonly found in dermal cosmetic products.
The different forms of Biotin
80% of biotin can be found in the free or active from, and the other 20% is found bound to proteins.2,3 Biotin that is free is directly absorbed, and biotin that is attached to proteins must detach into its free form before it is able to be digested and absorbed.1 Bound biotin can be difficult to absorb depending on how tightly it is attached to the protein.1 Avidin, a protein found in egg whites is an example of a protein that strongly binds to biotin, inhibiting absorption of the essential nutrient.4