Applications for higher biotin doses
- Studies show significant triglycerides and VLDL reduction though total cholesterol levels remained unchanged.
- Studies show improvement in nail growth in 91% of trial group using 2500µg biotin and another giving 25% increase in nail thickness.
- Abnormal glucose metabolism improves with biotin. Also shown to enhance muscle insulin sensitivity. Due to effects on glucose metabolism, caution may be required with any glucose-lowering drugs and insulin.
Best biotin food sources.
- Swiss chard -particularly rich source
- Vegetables – esp. carrots, onions, cucumber, cauliflower
- Nuts- esp. almonds and walnuts
- Milk – cows’ and goats’
- Fruit – particularly strawberries and raspberries
Approved health claims for biotin
– Normal energy-yielding metabolism
– Normal functioning of nervous system
– Normal macronutrient metabolism
– Normal psychological function
– Maintenance of normal hair
– Maintenance of normal skin
– Maintenance of normal mucous membranes
Biotin deficiency may be caused by:
- Over-consumption of raw egg white as they contain avidin which reduces biotin absorption.
- Intestinal problems causing poor absorption
- Poor gut flora levels can reduce biotin synthesis.
- Pregnancy; one study showed 50% of pregnant women had biotin deficiencies which were easily reversed with short-term supplementation.
- Smoking & alcohol
- Long term anticonvulsant therapy
Biotin deficiencies may lead to:
- Low B5 levels as it works with biotin in many metabolic processes.
- Low mood; biotin required for serotonin synthesis
- Poor fatty acid synthesis as ∆6 desaturase and ∆5 desaturase enzymes activity rely on biotin and other nutrients (fig 1).
- Dyslipidaemia (poor blood fat profiles e.g. high triglycerides and poor LDL: HDL ratios)
- Abnormal glucose metabolism
- Abnormal gene expression and DNA repair.