Maybe you know this (or maybe you don’t)...but biotin is a super important nutrient that you should be getting in your diet.
Some people refer to it as B7. More often than not, though, it’s called biotin.
Simply put, it's part of the B group of water-soluble vitamins.
Water-soluble, as you can probably guess, means that when water gets released from your body, so do these vitamins.
And sadly, loss of biotin is included in that process
In order to maintain adequate amounts in your body, you have to be consuming it daily - hence why you want it in your multivitamin for women.
The first thing people think about when they hear biotin is hair and nail health—but it’s so much more than that.
Potential Side Effects of Low Levels of Biotin
Without adequate levels of biotin, you may start to experience symptoms of a sluggish metabolism.These symptoms of sluggish metabolism include:
- low energy.
- weight gain.
- digestive problems
- impaired glucose control
- mood disturbances.
Here are plenty more reasons why you need biotin:
It helps your body convert food into energy
The reality is that if your body can’t use the food you’re eating, you’re not going to survive, regardless of how healthy you eat.
It serves as a co-factor for 5 important carboxylases that catalyze critical steps in the metabolism of fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids .
Specifically, the benefits of Biotin include:
- Converts glucose from carbohydrates into useable fuel sources.
- Aids in the use of amino acids from protein.
- Activates fatty acids to supply energy.
It keeps your hair, skin, and nails healthy
When it comes to nutrients for hair health, biotin gets a gold start.
Several studies have found that taking biotin supplements for 3 to 6 months can help promote hair growth and reduce hair loss. Participants also found that biotin improved hair volume, scalp coverage, and hair thickness, along with shine, moisture, and smoothness [2, 3].
The impact on hair and nails is due to biotin’s role in keratin production—the main protein helping to increase strength of these tissues.
A deficiency of biotin has been linked to alopecia, skin rashes, dermatitis, conjunctivitis, and multiple neurological symptoms .
It’s needed for fetal development
Folate is usually the go-to vitamin for pregnancy. But did you know that biotin is also pretty critical, too?
It’s needed for embryonic development after conception, and biotin requirements further increase during lactation [1, 5].
While most studies on biotin and fetal development are relegated to animals, these studies suggest that biotin deficiency during pregnancy could lead to an increased risk of chromosome anomalies and fetal malformations .
It protects your brain
If there’s one organ that’s highly dependent on biotin, it’s the brain.
Although it’s needed in small amounts, biotin plays a critical role in maintaining the health of the nervous system and regulating gene expression.
It may have such an important role due to its involvement with glucose metabolism and haemostasis. Including regulation of hepatic glucose uptake, gluconeogenesis, insulin receptor transcription and the function of pancreatic β-cells .
As well, studies have shown high dose biotin as an effective treatment for promoting axonal remyelination by enhancing myelin production in patients with MS .
Biotin is also critical to neurotransmitter activity and synthesizing hormones responsible for mood.
A deficiency in biotin can lead to neurological issues, as well as depression, lethargy, hallucinations, and even seizures .
It stabilizes your blood sugar
Want to keep your blood sugar from spiking? Biotin might be what you need.
When combined with chromium, biotin has been shown to help lower blood glucose in people with diabetes .
That’s because biotin facilitates the activity of insulin, which is needed to shuttle glucose into cells and bring blood sugar back to a normal level .
A more appropriate insulin response decreases the risk of fluctuating glucose levels, which can contribute to the onset of prediabetes symptoms and potentially the development of type II diabetes.
Biotin also helps to reduce the expression of enzymes that stimulate glucose production by the liver. Thereby inhibiting excessive hepatic glucose output and keeping blood glucose levels in check.
It also helps to combat insulin resistance, improve pancreatic beta-cell function, and enhance postprandial glucose levels .
Biotin deficiencies have been linked to impaired glucose tolerance and decreased utilization of glucose, both of which are risk factors for diabetes.
This nutrient may also help to lower plasma lipids, thereby improving heart health and decreasing risk of CVD .
And it boosts immunity and reduces inflammation
With cold and flu season coming, stocking up on biotin might be something to get on.
Biotin is involved in development of white blood cells, which work to protect your body from pathogens .
Your body contains two types of WBCs: TH1 and TH2.
- TH1 cells stimulates the cellular immune response, inhibit activation of macrophages and activating B cells
- TH2 cells, on the other hand, stimulate the humoral immune response, stimulate B cell proliferation, and increase production of antibodies (IL-4).
However, overactivation of either pathway can initiate the inflammatory response and lead to disease . This can happen when there are insufficient T-regulatory cells to maintain balance and biotin deficiency has been associated with T-cell decay .
And there’s more.
A deficiency in biotin also increases release of pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-23, and IL-12p40.
It’s also been shown to enhance production of reactive oxygen species, which contribute to cellular damage.
This occurs due to decreased activation of AMPK, a major regulator of inflammation .
Supplementing with biotin may help to control levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Biotin is widely available in an abundance of food source, but the tricky thing with eating your biotin is that you still may not actually be getting enough…
...in this case, what’s a lady to do?
Top Women's Multivitamin Containing Biotin:
Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi
Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi for Women is one of the best multi’s you’ll find.
It contains 300mcg of biotin in every serving (4 capsules), on top of all other required vitamins and minerals to sustain health.
This is a clean, cultured multivitamin that is free from all the usual things you find in a multi.
Not to mention some of its key features:
What’s more, the capsule is made from pullulan (cultured tapioca), which serves as a prebiotic to feed your gut bugs and keep your microbiome balanced.
If you need more reason to invest in a bottle (or four), it also contains the recommended into of nutrients like:
- B6 & B12
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
Why wouldn’t you want to take this?
- CA Perry. Pregnancy and Lactation Alter Biomarkers of Biotin Metabolism in Women Consuming a Controlled Diet. J Nutr. 2014 Dec; 144(12): 1977–1984.
- A Glynis. A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012 Nov; 5(11): 28–34.
- Glynis Ablon. A 3-Month, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study Evaluating the Ability of an Extra-Strength Marine Protein Supplement to Promote Hair Growth and Decrease Shedding in Women with Self-Perceived Thinning Hair. Dermatology Research and Practice. 2015 Mar.
- DP Patel. A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss. Skin Appendage Disord. 2017 Aug; 3(3): 166–169.
- S Mantagos. Biotin plasma levels of the human fetus. Biol Neonate
. 1998; 74(1): 72-4.
- DM Mock. Marginal biotin deficiency is common in normal human pregnancy and is highly teratogenic in mice. J Nutr
. 2009 Jan; 139(1): 154-7
- DO Kennedy. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review. Nutrients. 2016 Feb; 8(2): 68.
- F Sedel. Targeting demyelination and virtual hypoxia with high-dose biotin as a treatment for progressive multiple sclerosis. Neuropharmacology
Vol 110, Part B, November 2016, Pages 644-653.
- GM Singer. The effect of chromium picolinate and biotin supplementation on glycemic control in poorly controlled patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a placebo-controlled, double-blinded, randomized trial. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2006 Dec; 8(6): 636-43.
- M Hemmati. Survey of the Effect of Biotin on Glycemic Control and Plasma Lipid Concentrations in Type 1 Diabetic Patients in Kermanshah in Iran (2008-2009). Oman Med J. 2013 May; 28(3): 195–198.
- MF McCarty. High-dose biotin, an inducer of glucokinase expression, may synergize with chromium picolinate to enable a definitive nutritional therapy for type II diabetes. Med Hypotheses. 1999 May;52(5):401-6.
- J Zempleni. Utilization of Biotin in Proliferating Human Lymphocytes. The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 130, Issue 2, February 2000, Pages 335S–337S.
- P Kidd. Th1/Th2 balance: the hypothesis, its limitations, and implications for health and disease. Altern Med Rev. 2003 Aug; 8(3): 223-46.
- MJ Cowan. Multiple biotin-dependent carboxylase deficiencies associated with defects in T-cell and B-cell immunity. Lancet. 1979 Jul 21;2(8134):115-8.
- S Agrawal. Biotin deficiency enhances the inflammatory response of human dendritic cells. Am J Physiology; 2016 Sep: Vol. 311, No. 3.