Biotin – The basics

Guest article by Shwetha Bhatia

Biotin (also known as vitamin H or B7) is a B complex vitamin which is an important component of enzymes in the body that take part in fat, carbohydrate, protein metabolism and also cell growth. It is also known to stabilise blood sugar when taken with chromium.

Symptoms of deficiency:
Include thinning of the hair (often with loss of hair color), and red scaly rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Other symptoms include depression, listlessness, hallucinations, and tingling in the arms and legs. There is some evidence that cigarette smoking, alcoholism and inadequate dietary intake may cause biotin deficiency.

Peanuts, carrot, lettuce, tomato, eggs (cooked), mushroom, sweet potato

It is a part of many multi vitamin formulations and is also available as a supplement; usually recommended for hair, skin and nail growth. Evidence is weak for supplementation however it does not cause toxicity. Higher requirements are noted in athletes and during pregnancy.

Shwetha Bhatia is a registered dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association. She runs her practice under the brand name “Metamorphosis’ in Mumbai. She is also a competitive fitness athlete (IBBF Bronze winner at the State & National Level 2015). She has also set up her own gym and nutrition counselling centre in Goa called Gym & Tonic. She’s also a columnist for the fitness magazine Krunch Today.

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