SUPPLEMENT OF THE WEEK
Biotin, also called vitamin B7 or vitamin H is a water-soluble vitamin which our body cannot store for long or naturally produce. The vitamin must therefore be obtained from other sources. Gut bacteria can also synthesize the vitamin.
FUNCTIONS OF BIOTIN
The following are some of the roles Biotin play in the body:
- Helps the body break down food to produce energy.
- Assists enzymes in the breaking down of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
- Aids in regulating blood sugar levels thereby helping in the management of type 2 diabetes.
- Helps in regulating bad cholesterol (LDL).
- Regulating signals sent by cells and the activity of genes.
- Helps in the management of neuropathy (damaged nerves) in diabetic patients.
- Promotes hair health, skin appearance and improves the growth and strength of the nails.
- Necessary for healthy pregnancy thereby promoting the health of developing babies.
- It is useful for muscle-building, especially for those who frequently use the gym for fitness.
SOURCES OF BIOTIN: This vitamin is found naturally in many foods. Biotin can also be obtained by the intake of supplements. As mentioned above, the vitamin can be synthesized by gut microflora as well.
FOOD - Biotin is largely distributed in many foods which include beef liver, kidney, egg yolk, salmon, bananas, oats, wheat, dairy, seeds, spinach, rice, nuts, mushrooms, avocado, sweet potatoes, soybeans, and wholegrains.
SUPPLEMENT - People whose diet contain an insufficient amount of biotin may make up for this deficiency through daily intake of Biotin supplements like QC BIOTIN. However, there is a need to consult a doctor before using any supplement.
DEFICIENCY DISEASES OF BIOTIN – It is rare to become biotin deficient due to the fact that most common foods naturally contain large amounts of the vitamin.
SIGNS OF BIOTIN DEFICIENCY - Hair loss, brittle nails, depression, nausea, changes in the intestinal tract causing frequent stomach upset, difficulty walking, muscle pain, glucose dysfunction (the glucose balance of the body is negatively affected by low levels of the vitamin), loss of appetite, insomnia, numbness and tingling around the feet, loss of muscle tone, lethargy, hallucination, and dry scaly skin rashes around the eyes, nose and mouth, are all symptoms of deficiency of the vitamin. Prolonged severe deficiency of biotin may lead to problems like seizures and developmental delay in children.
People at risk of Biotin deficiency include those who consume large amounts of raw eggs. This is because avidin, a protein present in raw egg white, binds to Biotin and prevents the absorption of the vitamin. Others at risk include pregnant women; people whose dietary intake of the vitamin is very low; those who suffer from a decrease absorption of the vitamin due to some gastrointestinal diseases; patients who are on intravenous feeding (those who receive nutrition from an IV or tube); those who take some anti-seizure medications; people on prolonged intake of antibiotics; alcoholics; and those in prolonged dieting.
RECOMMENDED DIETARY ALLOWANCE OF BIOTIN - There is little information concerning biotin requirements and no evidence on which to base recommendations. However, if supplements are to be taken, it may be dependent upon Adequate Intake Level since no data is available on the Recommended Daily Allowance of the vitamin. At least 30 mcg is regarded as an Adequate Intake Level for adults. 35 mcg is an Adequate Intake Level for pregnant and lactating women.
TREATMENT OF BIOTIN DEFICIENCY – Some ways of treating deficiency of Biotin include:
- Consuming raw biotin-rich vegetables, as overheating can destroy the vitamin. Other foods rich in Biotin should not be overcooked.
- Eating most Biotin-rich foods in their whole or unprocessed form.
- In consultation with a doctor, taking of Biotin supplement like QC BIOTIN can help raise the body’s Biotin level.
TOXICITY OF BIOTIN INTAKE – Consuming a high dose of Biotin supplement is not very risky as the vitamin is soluble in water and any excess amount can be excreted from the body during urination. However, overdose of the vitamin may lead to problems like skin rashes and excessive urine production, which can put a burden on the kidneys.
Mrs. Christiana Mere,
INNOVARX GLOBAL HEALTH.