Biotin

DIVYA
December 7, 2020

Biotin (or vitamin B7) is a water-soluble vitamin of the vitamin B-complex popular for its ability to process food into energy. This vitamin can be obtained from eating a healthy diet, but often, this is not adequate for maximum brain potential. Also worthy of note is its importance as a nootropic substance, which means it improves the cognitive ability of an individual. Hence, it is often taken as a supplement by individuals to give their brain all the fuel it needs to function maximally.

A Brief History of Biotin


W.G Bateman was the first to suspect Biotin’s existence in 1916 when he made an important observation. He noticed that if dogs, cats, rabbits, and humans were fed a diet rich in egg white, they developed some toxic symptoms. In 1927, Magaret Averil Boass did some follow up research. She noticed that a diet made up of only egg white caused skin irritation, alopecia (hair loss), and weakened muscles in rats. She named this the “egg white injury.” 

From the 1930s, different individuals started isolating the substance deficient in this condition. One of such individuals was Paul Gyorgy. He called the substance ‘vitamin H.’ However, it was not until 1940 that he was able to prove that the other substance isolated by other individuals was the same Biotin.

How Does Biotin Work?


People may wonder what does Biotin does in the body? Well, Biotin is essential in several biochemical processes in the body. It serves as a cofactor for breaking down amino acids, producing glucose to fuel your cells, and synthesizing important fatty acids for the body. Due to its active role in the production of glucose and important fatty acids, especially in the brain, it is a significant determiner of brain health.

What Does Biotin Do?


Here are a few important functions of biotin within the brain:

Metabolism of Important Nutrients

Like we mentioned before, Biotin is an essential cofactor in the metabolism of certain fundamentals building blocks of the body like amino acids, glucose, and fatty acids.

These provide important nutrients that fuel the brain and maximize neuron growth and regeneration. Glucose acts as an energy source for the brain, while essential fatty acids and amino acids are the building blocks for neurotransmitters and brain cells.

Providing the Brain with Energy

The brain uses up to 20% of the body’s glucose supply, despite weighing only 3% of the total body weight. This shows just how important it is to provide your brain with adequate energy.

Unlike the rest of the body, the brain can only utilize glucose as an energy source, and since Biotin is essential for glucose production, a deficiency in this important vitamin can quickly lead to mental fatigue.

Synthesis of Neurotransmitters

While Biotin is indirectly involved in the synthesis of nearly every neurotransmitter within the brain, there are several important neurotransmitters whose production is directly regulated by biotin.

Most importantly, biotin directly influences the synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin from tryptophan. This neurotransmitter is tied with mood stabilization, and a deficiency of serotonin can lead to anxiety, depression, and mental fatigue.

Myelin Production

Adequate levels of biotin are required for melanin production within the nervous system. Myelin is very important for the transfer of nerves signals throughout the body. Complications in myelin production can lead to seizures, poor muscle coordination, depression, fatigue, and even learning disabilities. 

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the body’s ability to coat nerves with myelin properly. Not surprisingly, studies have proved that Biotin’s intake of about 300 mg can slow down the progression of this disease and even reverse it.

Sources of Biotin


Biotin is fairly common in several foods. Some of the foods containing high content of Biotin :

  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks
  • Cauliflower
  • Nuts
  • Yeast
  • Meat; liver and kidney
  • Soybeans and peanuts etc.

 

How Much Biotin Should I Take?


Biotin is generally considered to be safe even in high quantities. This is because it is a water-soluble vitamin, and any excess amount is excreted in the kidney. The stipulated daily dose of Biotin is 30 to 100 mcg. In individuals with thyroid problems, it is advised that you inform your physician before taking this supplement.

Deficiency Symptoms of Biotin


Biotin deficiency is quite uncommon because of its abundance in several foods. However, some of the symptoms of this condition :

  • Hair loss and thinning.
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Brittle nails
  • Scaly red rash around the body
  • Neurological conditions like depression, lethargy, etc
  • Skin infections

 

Conclusion


Biotin is an important vitamin in the metabolism of several macronutrients In the body. Therefore, it plays a very pertinent role in overall brain health. It can be obtained from an adequate daily diet, so deficiency is rare. However, when there’s a deficiency, Biotin supplements can be taken to provide for the absence. These supplements are sold in several online stores.

References:

  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318724#benefits
  • https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/
  • https://nootropicsexpert.com/13-vitamins-essential-for-the-optimized-brain/

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