More about Biotin
Good sources of biotin
The bacteria that normally colonize the colon (large intestine) are capable of making their own biotin. Another example that shows we have evolved to eat a healthy dose of soil now and again, inherited before the invention of the kitchen sink.
It has been known for many years that overt biotin deficiency results in impaired utilization of sugar. Blood biotin levels were significantly lower in 43 patients with type 2 diabetes than in non-diabetic control subjects, and lower fasting blood glucose levels were associated with higher blood biotin levels. After one month of biotin supplementation (9 mg/day) fasting blood glucose levels decreased by an average of 45%. Reductions in blood glucose levels were also found in 7 insulin-dependent diabetics after 1 week of supplementation with 16 mg of biotin daily.
Several mechanisms could explain the glucose-lowering effect of biotin. As a cofactor of enzymes required for fatty acid synthesis, biotin may increase the utilization of glucose to synthesize fats. Biotin has been found to stimulate glucokinase, an enzyme in the liver, resulting in increased synthesis of glycogen, the storage form of glucose. Biotin has also been found to stimulate the secretion of insulin in the pancreas of rats, which also has the effect of lowering blood glucose. An effect on cellular glucose (GLUT) transporters is also currently under investigation.
The finding that biotin supplements were effective in treating hoof abnormalities in horses and pigs led to speculation that biotin supplements might also be helpful in strengthening brittle fingernails in humans. Three uncontrolled trials examining the effects of biotin supplementation (2.5 mg/day for up to six months) in women with brittle fingernails have been published. In two of the trials, subjective evidence of clinical improvement was reported in 67-91% of the participants available for follow-up at the end of the treatment period.
Although hair loss is a symptom of severe biotin deficiency, there are no published scientific studies that support the claim that high-dose biotin supplements are effective in preventing or treating hair loss in men or women.
More Biotin Symptoms
Symptoms of biotin deficiency include hair loss and a scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and genital area. Neurological symptoms in adults have included depression, lethargy, hallucination, and numbness and tingling of the extremities. The characteristic facial rash, together with an unusual facial fat distribution, have been termed the "biotin deficient face" by some experts. Individuals with hereditary disorders of biotin metabolism resulting in functional biotin deficiency have evidence of impaired immune system function, including increased susceptibility to bacterial and fungal infections.
In its physiologically active form biotin is attached at the active site of four important enzymes, known as carboxylases. Each carboxylase is a catalyst for an essential metabolic reaction.
Find out more about hair loss
Send e mail to Body Language Site sponsored by SureScreen Diagnostics Ltd www.surescreen.com Copyright exists on all material within this site. Please ask approval before you refer to it. This page last modified: July 03, 2005.