What Does Biotin Do?


Quick Answer

Biotin is a B vitamin that helps keep the skin, nerves, cells, digestive tract and metabolism healthy, according to WebMD. This vitamin, also sometimes referred to as vitamin H, occurs naturally in many foods, including whole-wheat grains, eggs, dairy products, salmon and chicken.

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Full Answer

Biotin is frequently used to treat an array of medical conditions, including hair loss, brittle nails, diabetes and depression, explains MedLine Plus. Research suggests that biotin combats the insulin resistance present in type 2 diabetes, although as of 2014 these findings are inconclusive, according to WebMD.

Biotin serves to help break down complex compounds in the body, including fats and carbohydrates, states MedLine Plus. This improves digestion and absorption of necessary nutrients. However, biotin interacts with raw egg whites in such a way as to block its absorption. As a result, frequent consumption of raw eggs can lead to biotin deficiencies. Biotin deficiency manifests as hair loss or thinning, rashes on the face, depression and hallucinations.

However, there are no known negative effects of consuming too much biotin, WebMD notes. Adults should aim to consume 30 micrograms of biotin per day, and breastfeeding women may want to consume slightly more. Biotin interacts with some medications, so individuals should consult a physician to ensure proper intake of this vitamin in coordination with necessary medicines.

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