B is for Biotin

b-for-biotin

I’m back!! I am sorry that I have been gone for so so so long (5 months to be exact), but during those 5 months I have been through a lot! I had to say goodbye to my best “furry” friend, Pierre (our 14 year old clumbar spaniel); we moved to a new townhouse; I started a new job and continued my part-time job, and just recently I fell fracturing two ribs, so needless to say I have been busy, BUT i’m back and ready to bring my clean eating, healthy lifestyle, weight loss quest to you all once again…

…so, what is Biotin, you ask? Biotin is a coenzyme and a B vitamin and is also known as vitamin H or B7. It is a water-soluble vitamin that can be produced in the body as well as obtained from foods. As a supplement, biotin is sometimes used for diabetes,brittle nails, and other conditions.

Biotin is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids. Biotin assists in various metabolic reactions involving the transfer of carbon dioxide. It can also be helpful in maintaining a steady blood sugar level. Biotin is often recommended as a dietary supplement for strengthening hair and nails. As such, Biotin is found in many health and beauty products in order to promote strength and growth for hair, skin and nails.

Biotin deficiency is rare because, in general, intestinal bacteria produce biotin in excess of the body’s daily requirements. For that reason, statutory agencies in many countries, for example the USA and Australia, do not prescribe a recommended daily intake of biotin.

Biotin is consumed from a wide range of food sources in the diet, but few are particularly rich sources. Foods with a relatively high biotin content include peanuts, Swiss chard and other leafy green vegetables, raw egg yolk, liver, salmon and Saskatoon berries (a shrub with edible berry-like fruit, native to North America from Alaska across most of western Canada and in the western and north-central United States.) Biotin is also available in supplement form.

Biotin has a multitude of health benefits, including benefits for pregnancy, diabetes, metabolism and my favorite, hair, skin and nail strength and growth. Biotin has been shown to improve nail strength and durability of fingernails in several small-scale studies. One study showed a 25% increase in thickness and a decrease of splitting with biotin supplementation. Another trial reported an improvement in nail strength for up to 91% of participants. Further, a small, but controlled, study among women with brittle nails found that a daily dose of 2,500 mcg of biotin for 6 to 9 months increased nail thickness by 25% and reduced the tendency of nails to split (Columbo, J Am Acad Dermatol 1990). Biotin does not, however, further strengthen healthy nails.

Luckily, large doses of biotin have no known toxic effects. However, although biotin appears to be well-tolerated, long-term side effects of high doses of biotin are unknown. Also good information to know is that supplements haven’t been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, thus, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. Thus, Biotin can help your nails become stronger, firmer, and harder — and resistant to chipping and cracking, which is good for me… a lifetime nail biter.

So, why Biotin do you ask? I am a lifetime nail biter and after 37 years of biting my nails down to the quick, finally decided to kick the habit. How you ask? Jamberry Nail Wraps and biotin. (http://tallystevenson8.jamberrynails.net/profile/) (This is my dear friend’s page). I tried everything… hot sauce, manicures, nasty tasting nail polish and nothing worked. Jamberry wraps and Biotin are working so far. Biotin is making my nails strong again so they can grow and Jamberry is preventing me from biting them because they are stunningly beautiful (and hard to bite.)

So, we will see. I have stocked up on my jams and will continue with Biotin. Maybe, just maybe after 37 years of life, I will have nails. One can only keep her fingers crossed (no pun intended.)

*Sources include: Wikipedia, WebMD, Medicalnewstoday.com, about.com, consumerlab.com, families.com and my own personal knowledge.

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. My column is purely informational. As such, it is always best to check with your doctor or healthcare professional before taking any supplements, vitamins or the like.

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