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Vitamin B7: Biotin And Beyond

Hair loss is a condition afflicting a lot of people all over the world, with men the most affected with it. Biotin is found to be a substance that can counteract this problem especially if the solution lies in providing enough biotin for the body’s consumption. Unfortunately, biotin absorption does not occur well on skin, therefore, it cannot act as a topical medication. Also, if there is no biotin deficiency related to the hair loss, then treatment with biotin will not work.

Biotin is also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H. Other synonyms include Biopeiderm and Coenzyme R. It is part of the B-vitamin family. It functions as a cofactor for various metabolic processes such as the metabolism of fatty acids, the citric acid cycle, and the synthesis of glucose. It transfers carbon dioxide using the following enzymes: pyruvate carboxylase, acetyl coA carboxylase alpha and beta, propionyl coA carboxylase, and methylcrotonyl coA carboxylase. Biotin attaches itself to several sites in the process of biotinylation. This process may help in the study of a number of processes that deals with proteins and DNA.

Biotin has various functions namely the growth of cells, fatty acid production, as well as fat and amino acid metabolism. The citric acid cycle, which is responsible for the production of biochemical energy through aerobic respiration, needs biotin for its function. It also assists in transferring carbon dioxide in several other metabolic reactions. Blood sugar levels are also maintained by biotin through gluconeogenesis.

Biotin is also needed to increase the strength of nails and hair. This is a reason why it is often found in health and cosmetic products for the skin and hair. Also, a deficiency in biotin rarely occurs because it is produced by the intestinal flora in excess. This is a reason why there is actually no recommended daily allowance given for biotin. Although a deficiency still can exist when biotin is deactivated by avidin, a substance found in egg whites when eaten raw.

Biotin is also used to treat cradle cap or seborrheic dermatitis, a condition affecting children wherein the amino acid phenylalanine cannot be broken down in the body. This disorder, known as phenylketonuria, is a rare metabolic disorder that can be inherited. It causes the skin to dry up and scale producing eczema as well. It stems from a decreased ability to utilize biotin in the body. An increase in the intake of biotin containing supplements has had positive effects in treating cradle cap.

People with acquired diabetes mellitus, the type 2 kind are seen with a decreased level of biotin. This may be due to a decrease in the function of biotin with regards to insulin synthesis and distribution. Intake of biotin may help in the control of blood sugar for people with this condition.

Biotin, although not widely known as a vitamin, has a lot of benefits to give the body. There are still a lot of things to be discovered about the processes that include biotin as well as the role it plays in it. Hopefully, in the near future, they find out more about it for the better of humankind.