When reading up on essential oils and herbs, you are sure to run across a warning or two. This is especially true for pregnant or nursing women, yet, when it comes to biotin, that warning is taken off the table. In addition to helping expectant moms, biotin is needed to help the body convert food into energy, and who doesn’t need more energy?
Biotin is a water-soluble B-vitamin that is also called B7, vitamin H, and coenzyme R. So, if you are literal like me, you may want to know how it can be both a B-vitamin and vitamin H at the same time! Well, the name vitamin H recognizes its importance for both hair and skin. See, “H” is for haar and haut, which is German for hair and skin.
Because it is water-soluble, the body doesn’t store it, but it seems to stick around long enough to offer many great benefits to the body:
- Weight Loss – helps process carbohydrates and proteins; aiding in weight loss/weight management
- Manage diabetes – control sugar levels; and is often combined with chromium for proper management of Type-2 diabetes
- Anti-aging – Combats skin problems such as premature wrinkles, as well as acne
- Nail health – strengthens nails and encourages growth
- Treats multiple sclerosis – helps in the production of myelin – the covering on the nerve fibers that are negatively impacted in those with the autoimmune disease
- Hair loss – biotin deficiency can cause dry, brittle hair. Increasing biotin can improve the health of the hair. Pregnant women often are deficient in biotin
- Relieves muscle cramps – biotin helps to improve problems with nerve endings, often the cause of cramps
- Balances cholesterol levels – fights bad cholesterol that can lead to cardiovascular problems
Many are introduced to the benefits of biotin because of what it does for us cosmetically. But it is key to remember that biotin addresses the internal ailment that often shows up as an external expression. Although there are no known side effects of taking biotin, even when taken in large amounts it is always advisable to consult your doctor or healthcare provider of any diet changes. According to one source, those on thyroid medications should especially discuss taking biotin in mega-doses.
Because biotin is so important to the body working properly, the bacteria in our gut already produces biotin. Just know, that in addition to taking supplements or using hair and nail products enriched with biotin, there are natural ways to get the nutrient in foods such as:
- Organ meats, such as liver and kidney
- Egg yolks
- Legumes, such as soybeans and peanuts
- Leafy greens
- Nuts and nut butter
Whether pregnant or not, ensuring your diet or supplement regimen includes biotin can improve your overall health. Often when we speak of benefits for the hair or skin, we tend to think we are speaking only to women. Yet, improvements in metabolic functioning lead to improved health for both genders. Biotin is a vitamin that is right for the man or woman concerned with maintaining good health to allow the body to function at its best. Biotin does a body good!