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Articles Fitness Nutrition

Are Biotin Vitamins Effective and Safe?

Apr 17, 2010

Biotin vitamins belong to the B vitamin family, and they are an essential dietary component because they facilitate the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fats. These vitamins bring certain health benefits to the body, and recently they are widely used in hair care products because many people believe that they can promote hair growth. Still, there are people who doubt the effectiveness of biotin vitamins.

Biotin Deficiency

Biotin vitamins are effective for the treatment and prevention of biotin deficiency. Some of the common causes of biotin deficiency include parenteral nutrition, consumption of raw egg whites, anticonvulsant therapy, long-term oral antibiotic treatment and genetic mutation. This condition rarely occurs in human beings, but it can result in serious illnesses if it does. At the beginning stage, biotin deficiency can cause symptoms such as hair loss, fungal infections, dry skin, rashes and seborrheic dermatitis. However, if it is left untreated, it may result in conditions such as depression, drowsiness, muscular pain, mental instability, and hyperesthesias and paresthesias. Biotin deficiency can be easily treated with biotin supplements.

Birth Defects

It has been proven that biotin vitamins can prevent birth defects that result from biotin deficiency. According to researchers, 1 out of 3 women experience biotin deficiency during pregnancy, which can lead to abnormal development of the fetus. It is recommended that women consume biotin supplements during their pregnancies to prevent any complications.

Brittle Fingernails

Following the discovery of biotin’s effectiveness in the treatment of hoof abnormalities in swine and horses, researchers from Oregon State University decided to conduct a test to determine whether it can be used to strengthen human fingernails. In 2 out of 3 trials conducted, improvement was noted in 67% to 91% of the subjects. One of the trails also showed that the fingernails of the subjects became 25% thicker.

Hair Loss

Although many people with hair loss problems have reported that they have benefited from hair care products and biotin supplements, there is no published evidence that supports the claim that biotin contributes to better hair growth. While it is true that hair loss is a symptom of biotin deficiency, biotin vitamins may not be effective in treating and preventing hair loss.

Are Biotin Vitamins Safe?

Presently, there is no evidence indicating that biotin vitamins are toxic. In studies, oral biotin supplements were given to people with hereditary biotin metabolism disorders as well as healthy ordinary people, and results from both tests revealed that biotin vitamins are safe to consume. No tolerable level of biotin intake was established for biotin by the Institute of Medicine.

However, biotin may interact with certain nutrients and drugs to cause certain health problems. It has been found that large amounts of pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, may reduce biotin absorption in the intestines and cells, because these two nutrients have similar structures. Those who are taking anti-seizure medications on a long-term basis may experience a decrease in blood levels of biotin, which will result in biotin deficiency. Also, prolonged treatment with certain antibiotics can reduce the bacterial synthesis of biotin, and this will increase the need for more biotin in the body. In order to keep track of your biotin intake as well as other nutrients, try using the nutritional tools that are available at FitDay.com.

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