Biotin or vitamin B8 is one of these essential nutrients for good daily health.
But do you know what the role of vitamin B8 is? What are its benefits and the risks of a deficiency? What foods are rich in biotin?
What is biotin?
Biotin , vitamin H and vitamin B8 are three different terms that refer to the same molecule.
This vitamin is resistant to heat and light. It is also water soluble, that is to say, it is soluble in water. This is the reason why it is eliminated in particular through urine.
Biotin actually refers to a group of eight different molecules . Only one of them plays a vital role in the proper functioning of our body, D-Biotin.
The latter is naturally synthesized by the human body thanks to the intestinal flora of our digestive tract. However, this synthesis by the body alone is not sufficient. Food covers all daily needs.
What is the role of vitamin H?
Biotin is an essential nutrient for good health.
Indeed, vitamin H plays a key role in numerous mechanisms including:
- Normal food metabolism: vitamin B8 participates in the synthesis of amino acids, gluconeogenesis and even the catabolism of amino acids. It therefore contributes to the digestion of food;
- Normal energy metabolism, in particular by participating in the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids contained in food. This degradation releases energy;
- Normal functioning of the nervous system and mental functions: like all B vitamins, biotin protects brain functions. Its preventive action against the loss of cognitive functions is recognized;
- Renewal of hair and skin cells.
- The synthesis of vitamins B9 and B12 as a coenzyme.
What are the benefits of vitamin B8?
The benefits of biotin are numerous.
However, to avoid erroneous claims, European health authorities have listed the officially recognized benefits of vitamin H :
- Treatment of hair loss: associated with vitamin B5, biotin is often recommended as a supplement to limit hair loss. Indeed, it influences the cellular renewal of hair. Its effectiveness has been demonstrated in people with a vitamin B8 deficiency;
- Maintaining normal skin: biotin is essential for maintaining healthy skin;
- Protection of mucous membranes against cellular oxidation (oxidative stress) . Furthermore, it promotes cell renewal;
- Optimization of the assimilation of fatty acids;
- Good nail health .
According to these same European health authorities, a certain number of benefits are not recognized.
Thus, it is prohibited to attribute the following benefits to biotin , whether in the form of food supplements or foods rich in B8:
- Strengthening bones, teeth, nails and even hair: biotin only contributes to their maintenance. However, it does not help fight against fragile nails, hair loss or even alopecia;
- Reducing oily skin or acne problems: in other words, consuming biotin does not make your skin more beautiful. On the other hand, it is essential for cellular renewal of the epidermis;
- Maintaining vitality;
- Reduction of fatigue.
What are the daily biotin requirements?
Adequate intake (AS) of vitamin B8 is a function of age only. The figures provided by ANSES (National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety) are:
- Children 1 to 3 years old: 20 mcg/d;
- Children 4 to 10 years old: 25 mcg/d;
- Adolescents aged 11 to 17: 35 mcg/day;
- Adults over 18 years old: 40 mcg/day;
- Pregnant women: 40 mcg/day;
- Breast-feeding women: 45 mcg/day;
Pregnancy and breastfeeding generate increased needs, not necessarily compensated by food.
There is no proven risk of Biotin overdose, the health authorities have not defined an upper safety limit (LSS).
What are the symptoms of vitamin H deficiency?
Severe vitamin B8 deficiencies are rare .
On the other hand, certain symptoms may suggest that biotin intake through food is not sufficient.
Thus, a mild vitamin H deficiency can cause:
- Less beautiful skin which can become dry or oily with the appearance of acne or erythema;
- Brittle and fragile nails;
- Hair that can become greasy or brittle;
- Greater hair loss;
- Muscle cramps;
Biotin deficiencies are often due to poor lifestyle (alcoholism, etc.) or health problems (kidney failure, anorexia, intestinal inflammation, etc.).
What foods are rich in biotin?
As a general rule, provided you avoid processed dishes, your diet can cover your daily vitamin H needs. Average levels vary from one food to another, below are some references (values expressed per 100 g) for:
- Brewer's yeast: 60 µg;
- Wholemeal bread: 32 µg;
- Nuts: 29 µg;
- Hard-boiled egg: 16 µg;
- Camembert type cheese: 7 µg;
- Pork: 5 µg;
- Red fruits: 4 µg;
Why food supplements rich in biotin?
On a daily basis, it is not always possible to consume balanced meals. Pre-prepared meals or industrial foods are far from being perfectly balanced. The ingredients that compose them are often much poorer in micronutrients than the theoretical averages displayed.
Biotin from cereals is relatively poorly absorbed (around 30%, except corn) which can create a significant gap between the theoretical intake and the Biotin actually used by the body.
Taking certain medications, for example against epilepsy, certain pathologies, smoking can considerably reduce the absorption of biotin by our body.
Taking daily food supplements rich in biotin helps to secure the intake or increase it when the hair or nails show revealing signs of fragility.
In our range of Essentials, the Vegetable Biotin food supplement is perfectly suited to this supplementation because each capsule provides 100% of the daily intake of vitamin H. We have also chosen a Biotin of natural origin, extracted from Basil . In accordance with our ethics favoring natural ingredients when they provide a significant quantity of the targeted micronutrient, we have generalized the use of this plant Biotin which you will also find in Argalys Multivitamins and Minerals .
Obviously, this must necessarily be accompanied by efforts to return to a more balanced diet and a healthier life, starting with quitting smoking for those who are still addicted!