If you’re having hair and skin problems, try to eat more foods that are rich in vitamin B7 or biotin.
Biotin is a B vitamin, and this group of vitamins helps with optimal bodily function. There are many “delicate, intricate pathways” like methylation, or your body’s biochemical superhighway fueled by B vitamins. Methylation occurs in the body over one billion times every single second.
But unlike vitamin C or vitamin D, there are different kinds of B vitamins, each of which has their own critical role when it comes to maintaining bodily functions.
Vitamin B7 is in a league of its own because it helps keep hair, nails, and skin healthy and young-looking. Biotin is even called “vitamin H,” which comes from the German words “Haar” and “Haut” which mean hair and skin. (Related: Prevent Hair Loss with Biotin and Other Nutrients.)
Like other B vitamins, the body needs biotin to stay healthy. Vitamin B7 is necessary for countless pathways that keep trillions of cells healthy. However, since the body can’t synthesize biotin, you need to obtain it through a proper diet, supplementation, and intestinal bacteria.
Protein-bound biotin from food is converted to free biotin, which is absorbed within the small and large intestine. Once free biotin is absorbed, it goes into the systemic circulation, passes through the liver, and it finally crosses the blood-brain barrier into the central nervous system.
Many foods contain biotin so severe deficiencies in the nutrient are rare. But take note that you can be at risk for biotin deficiency if you:
- Are pregnant
- Drink alcohol excessively, which inhibits biotin absorption
- Eat raw egg whites (the protein avidin inhibits biotin absorption)
- Smoke, which speeds up biotin absorption and use
The symptoms of biotin deficiency include:
- Digestive issues
- Dry skin
- Brittle hair
- Hair loss
Biotin is considered a coenzyme for carboxylases, or enzymes that helps metabolize fats, carbohydrates, and proteins for energy production and processes like “gluconeogenesis, insulin release, fatty acid synthesis, and the use of branched-chain amino acids to produce neurotransmitters.”
A biotin deficiency is bad for your health, especially when it comes to your metabolism.
Metabolism is the body’s internal process that turns the food you consume into usable energy while any food not used for energy is stored as fat. Since biotin is required for proper metabolism, a deficiency in this B vitamin may cause health problems like fatigue, weight gain, and weight loss resistance.
The benefits of biotin
Biotin can help improve the appearance of your hair, nails, and skin but it is also beneficial for other aspects of your overall health.
- Blood sugar – Biotin increases insulin production and stimulates glucokinase, the enzyme in the liver that stimulates glycogen synthesis. Biotin helps lower blood sugar levels.
- Brain health – Biotin and other B vitamins are crucial in neurotransmitter activity, they fight off neurodegenerative disorders *(e.g., Alzheimer’s), and they help improve cognitive function. Biotin also helps regulate mood thanks to their role in synthesizing hormones that makes you have a positive mood.
- Hair growth – Low levels of biotin can cause thyroid problems, which can be addressed by upping your biotin intake. Thyroid symptoms include thinning hair and hair loss.
- Healthy metabolism – Biotin is crucial when it comes to the breaking down of nutrients (like amino acids, carbohydrates, fatty acids, and protein) from your food for fuel.
- Heart disease – Biotin is crucial for fat metabolism, which helps maintain heart health.
- Immune health – Biotin contributes to the development of white blood cells, which are your immune system’s defense mechanisms. White blood cells defend your body against viruses and bacteria that make you sick. Almost 75 percent of the immune system is in the gut, a deficiency in biotin is connected to poor immune function since the B vitamin is converted in the gut.
- Inflammation – A biotin deficiency may increase pro-inflammatory cytokines and contribute to chronic inflammation.
- Nails – Thyroid symptoms include brittle and rigid nails, and biotin can help make nails thicker and firmer.
- Skin health – Biotin can help fight the effects of aging due to its role in fatty acid synthesis, which is necessary for healthy skin.
Natural sources of biotin
Include more of these biotin-rich foods in your diet to improve your overall health:
- Almonds – Raw, roasted, or salted almonds are rich in biotin. Most legumes and nuts and legumes are also full of biotin. Other sources include green beans, peanuts, pecans, soybeans, and walnuts.
- Eggs – Egg yolks contain biotin.
- Cauliflower – Raw cauliflower has 17 micrograms of biotin per serving. Biotin is water-soluble so eating raw cauliflower maximizes its nutritional benefit. You can also slow-roast cauliflower in the oven.
- Cheeses – The best kinds of cheese with biotin include American cheese, blue cheese, Camembert cheese, and cheddar.
- Mushrooms – Cooked mushrooms still contain biotin, but it’s also better to eat them raw.
- Spinach – Among leafy green vegetables, spinach contains one of the highest biotin levels.
- Sweet potato – Sweet potatoes have the highest levels of biotin in vegetables.
Don’t forget to consume foods rich in biotin, a versatile nutrient that has many benefits, to ensure that your overall health is at its peak.
You can read more articles about fresh food rich in biotin and tips on how to eat healthy at Fresh.news.