Biotin goes by several names. You might have already heard of it as vitamin B7 or the W Factor. It’s also called vitamin H. This substance provides your body with a number of benefits. You can find it in both natural foods and supplements.
Why Biotin is Important
Biotin is a vital part of the enzymes that break down certain substances in your body like fats and carbohydrates, according to HealthGuideHQ. It’s a water-soluble B vitamin. Without a sufficient amount, your body could experience problems involving your skin, intestines and nervous system.
MedlinePlus reports that this vitamin is also important at the cellular level for DNA replication and gene expression. Fortunately, a lack of biotin is rare. However, the Mayo Clinic states that when a deficiency occurs, you might experience skin rash, hair loss, high blood levels of cholesterol or heart problems.
Like other B vitamins, biotin is crucial for your body to form glucose and fatty acids, both of which your body uses as fuel. It’s also important for metabolizing amino acids and carbohydrates.
Certain health conditions can increase your body’s need for this vitamin. Among them are a genetic disorder of biotin deficiency, seborrheic dermatitis in infants and surgical removal of your stomach. However, only a health care provider can determine whether you have an increased need for biotin.
Where to Find It
Foods. Unlike some of the other B vitamins, biotin occurs naturally in a quite a few foods but in small amounts, according to Mayo. The foods known to contain this substance include liver, cauliflower, salmon, carrots, bananas, soy flour, yeast and cereals. However, the level in biotin in any of them drops significantly after cooking and preserving.
The best way to maintain good health is to consistently eat a balanced diet that includes the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals. However, if you think you daily diet is lacking, you might elect to use a dietary supplement.
Supplements. You can buy capsule supplements without a prescription. The Mayo Clinic indicates that there have been no reported side effects in amounts up to 10 mg per day. Because biotin deficiency is so rare, there is no established Required Daily Amount (RDA) for it in the United States. However, experts generally recommend a daily intake ranging from 10 mcg in infants to 100 mcg in adults.
Before taking any dietary supplement without a prescription, you should check with your doctor regarding any potential interactions with other drugs or other problems. If you receive approval to try a supplement, be sure to follow all container instructions for usage and storage for maximum benefits.