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What is Biotin?

biotinBiotin has a couple of names. It has been called vitamin B7 as well as vitamin H. Whichever name you choose to call it, it is a water-soluble vitamin that belongs to the B-complex vitamins group. Biotin has many uses in the body, but is particularly important in metabolizing fats and amino acids. It is also used in cell growth. Biotin is a key component in the Citric Acid Cycle, which is a process by which energy is created during aerobic exercise.Biotin is also helpful in maintaining steady blood sugar levels. Because of this, research has been done on the link between biotin and diabetes. Biotin is also recommended to be used as supplement to strengthen hair and nails. Equine professionals often supplement horses with biotin to ensure strong hooves and to limit cracking. Because of these properties, it often found in cosmetic and health products as well.Biotin deficiency is a very rare occurrence. This is because the intestinal bacteria are capable of for producing a person’s daily requirement and more. Because of this, there is generally no recommended daily allowance given to biotin. It is believed, however, that a person could cause deficiency by consuming an excess of raw egg whites, as the protein avidin in the egg whites bond to biotin, making it unavailable. Cooking egg whites releases the biotin and inactivates the avidin. The deficiency symptoms of biotin include hair loss. Individuals with severe deficiency may also lose their eyelashes and eyebrows.However, people with Type II diabetes often have low levels of biotin. It is believed that biotin may play a role in the synthesis and release of insulin. There have been studies in both people and animals that suggest biotin may be able to help people with diabetes improve their blood sugar control.Hair products commonly include biotin, as it is often use to counteract hair loss. However, there have been no studies that conclusively show whether hair loss is associated with being deficient in biotin. Although, one of the symptoms of biotin deficiency is hair loss. Many shampoos are available that contain biotin, but because biotin is not absorbed by the skin it is unclear whether these shampoos are really helpful.Children with the rare phenylketonuria (PKU) will often develop skin conditions, such as Cradle Cap and eczema. However, these children usually do not develop Cradle Cap on the scalp, but on other parts of the body. Both conditions are characterized by scaly skin and it is believed that people with PKU are unable to properly use biotin. Supplementing with biotin has shown to improve these skin conditions. PKU is when the person is unable to breakdown phenylalanine, which is a component in artificial sweeteners containing aspartame as well as breast milk, chicken, meat, nuts, fish, cheese and other dairy.

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